This month, First Lady Michelle Obama and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) revealed the new food guidance system that replaces MyPyramid, the food guide system developed in 2005. The new icon, MyPlate, depicts food groups divided in appropriate portions on a plate to make planning healthful meals easier at home and when dining out. The focus for each meal is a half plate of fruits and vegetables, a quarter plate of grains, a quarter plate of lean protein, and a cup of dairy on the side. One of the key MyPlate messages is to make half your plate fruits and vegetables; USDA recognizes that Americans simply do not eat enough fruits and vegetables and encourages half a plate of these nutrient-dense foods at each meal to meet nutrient and fiber needs within reasonable calories. Likewise, consuming fruits and vegetables, rich sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, and water, has been linked to a healthier lifestyle that protects against various chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and obesity.¹ Most adults need to eat about 2 cups of fruit every day, which is easy to achieve when following USDA’s new visual guidelines.
USDA recommends livening up your meals with fruits and vegetables. Not sure where to start? Plan your next meal using the MyPlate guidelines, and then try some USA Pears recipes for a fresh take on fruits and veggies. Then, get in on the action! As part of the new initiative, USDA wants to see how you put MyPlate into action. Take a photo of your plate and share it on Twitter using the hashtag #MyPlate, and when you liven up your plate with pears, make sure you also use the hashtag #USApears!