At a news conference on June 2, First Lady Michelle Obama, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Surgeon General Regina Benjamin unveiled the replacement icon for the USDA's food pyramid. Called MyPlate, it features four labeled sections: Vegetables, Grains, Fruits and Protein, along with a separate circle representing a glass labeled Dairy. The Grains and Vegetables sections are somewhat larger than the other two sections of the plate to indicate that consumers should eat more of these categories.
"This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we're eating and as a mom, I can already tell how much this is going to help parents across the country," the First Lady said. "When mom or dad comes home from a long day of work, we're already asked to be a chef, a referee, a cleaning crew. So it's tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time 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."
"With so many food options available to consumers, it is often difficult to determine the best foods to put on our plates when building a healthy meal," added Vilsack. "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."
"The new icon is simple and easy to understand, with more emphasis placed on fruits and vegetables," noted Benjamin. "This new tool can be a fun way to help individuals and families make healthier meal choices. I encourage all Americans to follow the new dietary guidelines and become familiar with the new icon because it will serve as a compass to a healthy and fit nation."
Originally identified in the Child Obesity Task Force report which noted that simple, actionable advice for consumers is needed, MyPlate will replace the MyPyramid image as the government's primary food group symbol to help consumers adopt healthy eating habits consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.