What’s On Your Plate?
Your parents have probably told you many times to eat your fruits and vegetables “because they are good for you.” Did you know they were told that too when they were kids? Food scientists and dieticians, diet and nutrition experts, have known for a long time that the right balance of foods improve your health and weight. Also, eating the wrong kinds of foods on a regular basis can make you unhealthy.
You have been taught in school about the basic food groups–fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, dairy. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) works with dieticians to promote, or support and advertise, healthy eating guidelines. The guidelines teach how to eat the right amounts of fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains, and dairy to make sure you stay healthy and full of energy.
When your parents were growing up, a way to teach the best dietary guidelines were shown with a Food Pyramid model. The Food Pyramid idea was created in Sweden, a country in Europe, back in the 1970s. It taught your parents to eat more of the foods in the large bottom base of the pyramid–breads, cereals, grains, and pasta. Smaller areas of the pyramid show the amounts of vegetables, fruits, diary, meats, fats and oils you should eat every day. The USDA first promoted this country’s version of this food pyramid in 1992. In 2005, the USDA changed the model a bit. The pyramid was drawn with the food group placed in a more vertical up-and-down style. This was call the MyPyramid model.
Last year in 2011, the USDA replaced the MyPyramid with another new model. The basic food groups are still fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. But the new ChooseMyPlate model is a circle more like a dinner plate. This model teaches you to think about how much of each food you eat at each meal. This is called portion control. ChooseMyPlate shows that half of each meal should be fruits and vegetables. If each meal has an almost equal balance between fruits, vegetables, grains, and protein, you are doing a great job eating a healthy diet.
- Learn more about healthy diets and nutrition at ChooseMyPlate.gov
- Practice choosing a balanced plate of food by playing the USDA Blast Off game.
TLX News Journal: History Activity
The “What is on MyPlate” Flickr photo sharing Web site asks kids to take photographs of their healthy food choices and upload them to the site. After you have practiced filling your plate, take a picture of your best meal.