What constitutes a healthy diet has been up for debate probably since the Stone age. The US government began to advise us about what makes a healthy diet prior to World War II when our nation needed to ration food and the need for a healthy armed services became a concern. Since then, dietary guidance has been provided as a joint effort by the US Health and Human Services and Agriculture departments every 5 years based on the most current recommendations from a panel of nutrition experts and known as the US Dietary Guidelines.
Communicating the US Dietary Guidelines has been just as difficult as establishing the criteria for a healthy diet. When the 2010 US Dietary Guidelines were released, the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion was tasked with making the dietary guidance document applicable for public usage. The expectation for the communication program was that not only should the latest dietary guidance be understood by everyone in the country but also followed.
Prior to June 2011, the Food Guide Pyramid was an attempt to put dietary planning into a context of meeting daily nutritional goals. One basic weakness of this tool for communicating a healthy diet was that most consumers plan their meals not diets, so it was hard to adapt the messages into daily life. Since June 2011, the release of the ChooseMyPlate.gov program suggests that a healthy meal involves eating a balanced intake of foods from each of the 5 food groups; fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. A plan to extend the reach of the ChooseMyPlate.gov program was developed by USDA to invite partners from the community which will use the MyPlate icon and 7 accompanying messages (*see below). It is hoped that a high visibility of the MyPlate icon will serve as a reminder, endorsed by all members of the local community including its business members, to eat a healthy meal and include exercise daily. If we all become familiar with the concepts represented by the MyPlate icon, it will serve to show our support for improving the health of our nation and will help build our national, community and individual pride at a time when it is so sorely needed.
The Egg Nutrition Center is a Strategic Partner of the ChooseMyPlate.gov program and collaborates with other partners to incorporate the MyPlate messages into educational tools which are shared with health professionals and their patients or clients around the nation.
*● Enjoy your food, but eat less. ● Avoid oversized portions. ● Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. ● Make at least half your grains whole grains. ● Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk. ● Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals ― and choose the foods with lower numbers. ● Drink water instead of sugary drinks.