Wouldn’t you know, just as I was preparing my post on one of the best ways to stay balanced with your eating habits is to refer to the Food Pyramid, our wonderful government went and changed it all up last Thursday, June 2, 2011.
Citing that the old pyramid “wasn’t working,” was “too complicated,” and needed to be “more artistic and attractive,” the Department of Agriculture has spent the past two years developing a plate and a website to address those concerns.
After the dietary guidelines were revised last January, the department wanted to convey the message to Americans that making healthy choices means eating more fruits and vegetables; at least half of your plate should be filled with these tasty selections. The other half of your plate should be divided into equal but lesser portions of grains and proteins. Dairy is now portrayed as optional since many fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins contain calcium and vitamin D and because, “some people are lactose intolerant or don’t like it.”
Obviously lacking in the new food plate, are the details. Exactly how many servings of each food category do you need every day to be healthy? What constitutes a “good” grain? (whole grain not “white” pasta, breads, and other carbohydrates) What is considered a protein? (meat, chicken, beans, legumes, nuts, and seafood). Also missing in the newer version are the reminders that to stay balanced, exercise is a necessary component as well as limiting sugars, fats, and oils. I guess the government is depending on a more educated population to figure those details out. Kind of an oxymoron though: simpler picture but you better know how to fill in the rest.
The important thing, however it is depicted, is that we need to be balanced in our approach to eating. Too much of any one kind of food grouop will not provide the essential nutrients to maintain good overall health. To have energy, keep weight down, and have optimum brain function, one clearly needs to focus on eating an abundance of fruits and vegetables with smaller amounts of whole grains and proteins.
How does your daily food choices balance out?