As far as I can tell, the biggest difference between the food pyramid and the food plate is– nothing, just kidding! It seems that on the food plate there are less grains to eat. And, I do have to say that although food plate is a nice icon considering most of us eat our food off of a plate, it is nowhere as romantic as food pyramid. Think about it. Roll them over your tongue a couple of times. Now, which one connotes more romance? Food pyramid hounds down.
So, it seems less grains and more whole grains, at least half your servings of grains should be whole. However, it doesn’t really say how much grains you should eat. For that matter, the new food plate guide doesn’t say how much fruit or vegetables you should eat. It simply states that half your plate should be fruits and vegetables. Great! Now I know exactly what and how much I am supposed to eat. But wait, whose plate am I using? What size is my plate? How many plates a day? At least with the food pyramid we were given explicit instructions: serving sizes and amounts per day. Now what are we to do? Please help, I am American, I don’t like to do things on my own! I need to be guided, to be led if you will. You can check out the government’s site and read past the beginning pages, in all fairness, they do give guidelines on portion sizes, etc.
Seriously, the government is just trying to help. Tongue in cheek. And as educated adults, we know what to eat. We know what is good for us and what isn’t. If we’re trying to lose weight, we need to eat less and move more. If we want to be healthy/ier, we need to eat less processed foods and more natural foods.
Looking at the Choose My Plate, did you know that 100% real fruit juice is considered a serving? As is 100% real vegetable juice. So, don’t mix in anything, just get out the ol’ blender and whir away at any fruit or vegetable you don’t want to sink your teeth into! It works for me and cabbage. Choose My Plate also states there are five subgroups for veggies (which for the life of me I can’t find on their site), such as legumes versus starchy veggies. Beans and peas are mature forms of legumes, and they are similar to meats, poultry and fish. Good news for our vegan and vegetarian friends because they do count as a substitute for those. Also, good news for meat eaters and veg’s alike, they are also good sources of dietary fiber and nutrients. They swing either way, it’s a win/win situation. Meat eaters, the recommendation is to eat at least 8 ounces of cooked fish per week. Sorry sushi and sashimi lovers!
Everyone needs dairy, and I don’t know why. I am sure that when we were hunter/gatherers we didn’t sit around milking cows or goats for that matter. But as we evolve, so does our knowledge and dairy is good. Period. However, low or non-fat dairy is highly recommended. All fluid milks count, which is good to know for us cereal eaters. Yet, there are a few favorites, sadly, that have no calcium value: cream cheese, cream and butter. Good news though, ice cream is a good source of calcium, but loaded in solid fats and added sugars. There’s always a downside.
Lastly, my friends and fellow conscious healthy food eaters-oils. They are not a food group, but they do provide essential nutrients. Foods that are naturally high in oils: nuts, olives, some fish and avocados. Avocados, this is what the Greeks meant when they coined the term “ambrosia,” food of the gods. A hint on olives, my son loved black olives, I say loved because one day he ate three cans and became incredibly ill, I guess it was all that oil. So, enjoy your healthy foods, but remember everything in moderation.