Green Giant Fresh Blog

Move Over Food Pyramid – Say Hello to ‘MyPlate’

As we reported in April, the latest edition of the federal government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans is now available, and this week the U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled its new food icon — called MyPlate — in ceremonies that included First Lady Michelle Obama, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin.

The icon (right), which is meant to serve as a reminder we should begin making healthier food choices, is a multicolored dinner plate that shows us how to build a healthy plate of food.

And, of course, those of us at Green Giant® Fresh couldn’t be happier, since literally half of that food plate icon features fruits and vegetables. In fact, there’s just no hiding the message in this delightful and colorful symbol that emphasizes the importance of the fruit, vegetable, grain, protein and dairy food groups.

But what’s truly refreshing about this new-generation icon is its simplicity. In their remarks during the ceremonies, all three speakers touched on the simple message that is inherent in this icon. First Lady Obama said, “This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating,” adding, “We have to take a look at our kids’ plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is.”

Secretary Vilsack echoed that notion, saying, “MyPlate is an uncomplicated symbol to help remind people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles. This effort is about more than just giving information, it is a matter of helping people understand there are options and practical ways to apply them to their daily lives.”

And Secretary General Benjamin termed the new icon, “simple and easy to understand, with more emphasis placed on fruits and vegetables. This new tool can be a fun way to help individuals and families make healthier meal choices.”

The new symbol replaces the ‘MyPyramid’ image as the federal government’s food group symbol, offering consumers an easy-to-understand visual clue endorsing the adoption of healthy eating habits as outlined in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

And accompanying the icon is a government web site at ChooseMyPlate.gov that provides practical — and here again, that word simple — information that can help you build healthier diets. The site is chock full of resources and articles for assessing your diet, fun facts about nutrition, and more information about the dietary guidelines that were launched this past January.

In addition to all this easy-to-comprehend information, the MyPlate icon and ChoseMyPlate.gov site will be used to promote ways for us to change our eating habits, with a focus on one message at a time.

And for those of us in the produce industry, we’re encouraged that the first message is, “Make Half Your Plate Fruits and Vegetables.” It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Apparently the feds agree. “What we have learned over the years is that consumers are bombarded by so many nutrition messages that it makes it difficult to focus on changes that are necessary to improve their diet,” said Secretary Vilsack. “This new campaign calendar will help unify the public and private sectors to coordinate efforts and highlight one desired change for consumers at a time.”

And they’re starting this campaign off with fruits and vegetables. What could be simpler than that? For more information, visit www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

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