The new food plate recently unveiled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is designed to help Americans eat a healthier, balanced diet with an emphasis on vegetables and fruits. This new visual nutrition guide uses colorful, easy-to-read graphics with proportionate sections for fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and a separate segment for dairy. The food plate replaces the food pyramid, which had been used since 1992.
“The food plate is great because it depicts a good balance between carbohydrates (grains, fruits and vegetables), protein and fat that the body needs ” says Sudha Chittaluru, M.D., internal medicine physician on the medical staff at Cypress Fairbanks Medical Center Hospital. “It gives a better idea at a glance of what you need to have in your diet, especially fruits and vegetables along with grains, protein and dairy versus the pyramid and is also easier to understand.”
The design of the food plate incorporates several basic messages to encourage a healthy diet, including balancing calories, increasing certain foods, and reducing other foods. The plate is divided in half fruits and vegetables, and half grains and protein, with dairy on the side. The USDA recommends making at least half of grains whole grains, switching to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk, and drinking water instead of sugary drinks.
“It is important to remember to have a balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables along with other carbohydrates, protein and fat” adds Dr. Chittaluru. “The food plate will help individuals to choose the right kind of foods that promote better overall health.”
For more information about making healthier choices in your diet, nutrition and health conditions, and nutrition for children, teens, older adults and pregnant women, visit www.CyFairHospital.com/GoodNutrition.