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Nutrition Articles  ›  Healthy Habits

Out with the Pyramid, In with the Plate

What You Need to Know about USDA's ''MyPlate''

-- By Nicole Nichols, Health Educator, with Becky Hand, Licensed and Registered Dietitian
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Sometime during your life, you’ve probably seen that colorful triangle containing a variety of foods and how many servings you need to eat each day. Perhaps you learned about it back in health class, saw it displayed on the cafeteria wall, or glanced at it on the back of your cereal box one morning. That familiar food pyramid (introduced in 1991) was supposed to be our nutrition survival guide in a one-size-fits-all world. But let's face it—many people found the pyramid to be confusing, and felt that it didn't really help individuals know how to plan a healthy diet, one meal at a time. And maybe more importantly, nutrition (and how many servings of food you need each day) is far from one-size-fits-all.

So in May 2011, the USDA finally ditched the pyramid concept in favor of a brand new shape: a circle—or rather, a plate. Their former "MyPyramid" website was also revamped and now redirects to a new online tool: www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

2005 Food Guide Pyramid

New "MyPlate" Icon



Pyramid vs. Plate: What's different?
While the basic nutritional guidelines for Americans remain the same, the USDA Plate and the old pyramid do have a few noticeable differences:
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About The Author

Nicole Nichols Nicole Nichols
Nicole was named "America's Top Personal Trainer to Watch" in 2011. A certified personal trainer and fitness instructor with a bachelor's degree in health education, she loves living a healthy and fit lifestyle and helping others do the same. Her DVDs "Total Body Sculpting" and "28 Day Boot Camp" (a best seller) are available online and in stores nationwide. Read Nicole's full bio and blog posts.

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