This blog was written by Penny Pohlmann, MS. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.
For as long as I can remember, the national nutrition recommendations have been visible on a pyramid-shaped icon. However, the era of the pyramid has come to an end.
On June 2, with the help of First Lady Michelle Obama, the USDA introduced a new nutritional icon, MyPlate, which will replace MyPyramid. Part of the change to a new icon was inspired by a need for a more simple and easy-to-interpret guide for Americans.
How Is MyPlate Different Than MyPyramid?
Besides the shape of the icon, what else has changed? Check out these changes represented in the updated nutritional icon and recommendations:
- The former Meat and Bean group is now referred to as Protein.
- The group once called Milk is now represented on the icon by a blue circle called Dairy.
- The former group Sugars, Fats or Oils, which once represented a small sliver on the pyramid, is not even represented on the MyPlate icon. However, once you visit the new site, ChooseMyPlate.gov, you’ll see a link for Oils and Empty Calories.
- The MyPlate icon does not reference physical activity formerly seen on the pyramid. However, once you visit the website you will see physical activity is still recommended as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Want to help bring attention to the new icon? The USDA is encouraging consumers who are putting MyPlate recommendations into practice by asking them to share photos of their plates on Twitter with the hashtag #myplate or on the USDA Flickr photo group.
Corporate Wellness with MyPlate at Work
How can employers use the new icon in corporate health and wellness programs to spur healthy changes? Here are some ideas:
- Initiate corporate health and wellness by assisting your employees in becoming familiar with the new icon by posting it in your cafeteria, wellness center, break rooms, or newsletters.
- Choose one of the selected messages the USDA has identified as a starting point to guide your employees toward making healthier nutritional choices.
- Host Lunch and Learns led by health educators or nutritional experts who can educate your employees on the makeup of a healthy, balanced diet.