Healthy Plate

While the USDA received kudos for its updated food ‘pyramid’—now named MyPlate—released in June 2011, Harvard health experts have expounded on the recommendations to create the even healthier set of guidelines named “Healthy Eating Plate.”

Aside from the obvious advantage of converting the hard to quantify food pyramid into a symbolic plate of food, which makes it easier to gage appropriate serving portions, the plate also recommended an emphasis on fresh fruits and vegetables as part of ever meals.

Harvard’s upgrade, according to Dr. Anthony Komaroff, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Editor in Chief of Harvard Health Publications, goes deeper, touching on specific proteins, grains and healthy fats. “We gave MyPlate a makeover to provide consumers with an easy to use but specific guide to healthy eating based on the best science available.”

Keeping in line with the visual of MyPlate, which is used as a teaching tool across the country, Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate includes several more recommendations that either expand on the MyPlate suggestions or are new additions altogether:

  • Make half your meal vegetables and fruits. Go for variety. And keep in mind that potatoes and french fries don’t count.
  • Choose whole grains whenever you can. Limit refined grains, like white rice and white bread, because the body rapidly turns them into blood sugar.
  • Pick the healthiest sources of protein, such as fish, poultry, beans, and nuts; cut back on red meat; avoid bacon, cold cuts, and other processed meats.
  • Healthy oils (like olive and canola oil) are good for you. Don’t be afraid to use them for cooking, on salad, and at the table.
  • Drink water, tea, or coffee. Milk and dairy are not must-have foods—limit them to 1-2 servings/day. Go easy on juice. Avoid sugary drinks.
  • And stay active!

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Image: Harvard