by Marion Nestle
Jun 1 2011

What will USDA’s food plate look like?

According to William Neuman’s report in the New York Times, a USDA official, Robert C. Post, said the new food guide would be a plate and that it would serve educational purposes :

The agency would use the plate to get across several basic nutritional messages, including urging consumers to eat smaller portions, switch to low-fat or fat-free milk and drink water instead of sugary drinks.

A plate with half devoted to fruits and vegetables is not exactly a new concept.

The American Diabetes Association has been using this plate as  a food guide:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The American Institute for Cancer Research uses this one:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Canada’s food guide is translated into this plate:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine has an elegantly designed 100% plant-based plate for vegetarians and vegans:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s what CNN thinks the new USDA food icon will look like:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can the USDA improve on the existing versions?  Does CNN have it right?

I’ll be in Washington tomorrow to find out.  You can be there virtually at www.cnpp.usda.gov.

 

Comments

I think Canada’s food guide is the best of them all. It includes milk and fruit, but off to the side, whereas the other plates just leave them out. It also identifies meat alternatives which could be really good for the national concious. AND none of those meat alternatives are cheese which is surprisingly justified as a protein food by countless parents and pizza eaters. While cheese may have a place in the diet, it is NOT the same as meats or legumes. The CNN plate visually looks like one should incorporate fruit into every meal. And truthfully, we already have a fructose problem in this country.

We need to think of what these ‘plates’ will say visually, as pictures are worth a thousand words. I like the idea of a plate visual because it might help people to build their dinner plates.

Now if only they could address sweets, refined oils, refined grains and other crummy processed foods. Maybe they should include a picture of a garbage can next to the dinner table with all those items in it? LOL, just kidding.

  • Subvert
  • June 1, 2011
  • 10:11 am

Wouldn’t surprise me if it ends split up into quarters labeled: Sara Lee, Kraft, McDonald’s and Del Monte, and maybe a Starbucks beverage on the side…

[...] What will the USDA Food Plate Look like [...]

Pyramid or plate, I don’t think it’s going to make much of a difference.

I’ve been using the Food House for a while … great for presentations and it simply addresses the issues for diet, health, and lifestyle … http://bit.ly/l4cj2l

I like the plate method much better than the pyramid. I volunteer to teach basic nutrition for a couple of different groups and the plate always makes people go “oh… really? that does/does not align with what I eat” whereas the pyramid just leads to puzzled faces.

I also like the Canadian arrangement (especially the vegetables on top) but with images! Images are incredibly helpful.

  • Greg
  • June 1, 2011
  • 7:20 pm

I’m not sure indicating a healthy meal requires four courses is a good idea.

[...] What will the food plate look like? Read the article by Marion Nestle. [...]

  • Anthro
  • June 1, 2011
  • 9:37 pm

Oh, Subvert, you’ve stolen my heart again!

I think CNN has it right, but I think there will be some kind of pictorial representation, and the protein pictures will definitely include a chicken leg. But then, how DO you represent a great bowl of black bean chili? :-)

[...] official. We now have food guidelines represented on a plate instead of a pyramid. Marion Nestle and CNN have excellent summaries of the history of food guidelines in the U.S. Is the plate food [...]

[...] NYU nutrition professor Marion Nestle notes on her Food Politics blog, other organizations have already been using plates to convey dietary [...]

[...] NYU nutrition professor Marion Nestle notes on her Food Politics blog, other organizations have already been using plates to convey dietary [...]

  • Seema Hassan
  • June 2, 2011
  • 8:35 pm

I realize that water does not belong to any of the food groups, but including a glass of water on the side of the plate would be a great visual reminder to add this to the the daily food regimen/

[...] NYU nutrition professor Marion Nestle notes on her Food Politics blog, other organizations have already been using plates to convey dietary [...]

[...] Nutrition Professor Marion Nestle reported that other healthcare organizations, like the American Diabetics Association and [...]

[...] Nutrition Professor Marion Nestle reported that other healthcare organizations, like the American Diabetics Association and [...]

[...] NYU nutrition professor Marion Nestle notes on her Food Politics blog, other organizations have already been using plates to convey dietary [...]

[...] the plate is already somewhat ubiquitous as a symbol for what to eat (nutritionist Marion Nestle wrote on her Food Politics blog about plate graphics used by the American Diabetes Association and others), so it should easily be [...]

Subvert’s comment is funny unfortunately very probable. Who is this plate going to help, the clinicians, the professionals? People who already should know these types of things?

As for the general public, they will not see the plate, they will not care about the plate unless you can sell the plate because of the higher food prices especially on “healthier foods”.

[...] processed foods can be quite the adventure, both for your pocketbook and dietary budget.   Nan, our guest author today, has some interesting ideas about food. I especially like her idea about…pulsive or anything – just boring. For instance, who would eat saltines unless they were nauseated? [...]

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