Back in elementary school, I was taught about the classic 1990s food pyramid. Even at that tender age, I remember thinking how great it was that I could — should — eat as much bread as possible.
Although my love of bread remains, I have learned that there is a little more to nutrition than that.
Throughout the course of my own healthy eating journey, I’ve started to stray some from that 1992 food guide pyramid. I’ve added in more beans and whole grains, while cutting out meat and most white bread.
In 2005, my way of eating seemed to get a little validation, as the Agriculture Department released an updated food pyramid.
Despite the good intentions, the food pyramid was widely considered to be dead on arrival among nutritionists. Although it seemed to stress eating more vegetables, there was no real mention of eating more whole grains and lean meats.
To me, it actually seemed like a more confusing version of the former pyramid…
Last year, as I spent a lot of time meeting with a nutritionist, what was most useful to me was thinking about realistic portion sizes of food groups. My nutritionist essentially broke down the proportions of how much whole grains, vegetables, fruit and protein should be on a basic dinner plate.
It seemed easy enough — and practical, too.
Since that time, I’ve gotten my diet back on track, but the “plate” that my nutritionist set out for me has never been far from my mind. I almost always make a point of getting balanced portions of protein, whole grain, vegetables, fruit and dairy.
That’s why, I am thrilled the Agriculture Department has released a new plate-shaped food guideline.
In contrast to the food pyramids, the plate is natural and easy to follow. It is so easy that, without even stopping by the grocery store, I was able to make an Agriculture Department-friendly dinner. It was even vegan, to boot!
30% of the plate…
For the vegetable section, I simply roasted up some asparagus spears with a coating of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
30% of the plate…
For the grain portion, I steamed some brown rice. Not only did this help meet my grain requirement, but the whole grains also boosted the protein!
25% of the plate…
For my protein, I drained, rinsed and sautéed black beans in a taco seasoning mixture.
15% of the plate…
For the fruit section, I had a freshly sliced peach.
Additional dairy circle…
For the dairy section, I had a cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk. It was fortified with extra calcium, so it served a similar purpose to milk.
It’s as easy as that!
With such a simple to understand, easy to follow guide, I can really see this food plate sticking around.
Questions: What do you think of the new guidelines? What did you think of the old guidelines?