Introducing a Newly Revised MyPlate with Nutrition Edge: The Healthy Eating Plate
Although the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA) launched their healthy eating tool and addendum to MyPyramid known as MyPlate less than one-year ago, the Harvard School of Public Health has already offered an enhanced version referred to as the Healthy Eating Plate.
The original version of MyPlate is a basic display of a dinner plate divided into appropriately sized sections for each food group: fruit, vegetables, grains, protein, and a glass off to the side representing dairy. While many have critiqued MyPlate for it's simplicity, others have praised this aspect as it is easy to understand and great for use in nutrition education for all ages. However, there still remains a group of people who need greater details. For example, the food group title of "grains" does not give you any indication of what grains might be better for you than others, rather allowing you to believe white processed pasta is equal in nutrition to a whole grain pasta (of course YOU already know whole grains are preferred! *smile*). The same reins true in the other categories as well:
- should your protein come from a fatty form of steak or a lean turkey breast?
- are greasy fries a healthier vegetable choice than jicama sticks?
- is slices peaches in syrup the same as a fresh peach? and
- would a handful of full-fat cheese be just as good for you as a reduced-fat yogurt?
It is largely because of these unanswered questions within MyPlate that the Harvard School of Public Health chose to offer a new solution. A solution that provides greater insight into each one of the five food groups and helps answer the most basic nutrition questions, helping you know what you should include on YOUR Healthy Eating Plate.
The Healthy Eating Plate provides most of the same basic food groups, yet replaces the glass of dairy with a water glass with the recommendation to limit your dairy to 1-2 servings per day. Harvard nutrition experts also chose to include an additional component with a small jar of healthy oils off to the side to guide us towards healthy fat choices. Here is a quick run down of this new tool:
- Healthy Proteins: Opt for fish, poultry, beans and nuts, while avoiding bacon, cold-cuts, and other processed meats.
- Whole Grains: Choose whole grains to replace white, processed, refined grains.
- Vegetables: Outside of potatoes and french fries, you can't go wrong with veggies. Dig in!
- Fruits: Enjoy a rainbow of fruit options.
- Water: Choose beverages with very little (if any) sugar such as water, coffee, and tea. Juice should be limited to 1 small glass per day and dairy products (including milk) should be limited to 1-2 small glasses per day.
- Healthy Oils: Just as Rachel Ray would advise, opt for oils rich in healthy fats such as olive oil and canola oil. While keeping portions in mind, these oils will make great additions to your suppers and salads. Avoid trans-fats, (partially) hydrogenated oils, and limit butter.
Certainly great advice with a few controversial recommendations sprinkled in, advice which will surely cause a stir in the food and nutrition world. I certainly admire that about the Harvard School of Public Health, they are not afraid to voice their opinion in the non-profit world :)
What do you think of this advice? Is this more or less helpful than the USDA's original MyPlate? Do you agree with the dairy recommendations offered by Harvard or USDA?