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How to Understand MyPlate, the Food Pyramid Replacement

Learn how to understand MyPlate, the Food Pyramid replacement, from nutrition coach Lisa Neilsen in this Howcast video.


So, I often get asked how to understand the new government food guidelines called MyPlate.

One of the best things you can do, if you're interested in learning more about the guidelines, is visit the website We've moved from a pyramid to a food plate.

And, what the plate shows you are the portions and the food groups that you need for guidelines for maintaining a healthy diet.

So, the first food group would be grains. And they're recommending whole grains at every meal.

Then, the next triangle on the plate are vegetables. And, we're not getting enough vegetables in our diet. We need to incorporate more dark, leafy greens, like kale, spinach and collard greens into our diet.

The next triangle on the plate are fruits. And, fruits are loaded with fiber. And, it's a great way to make sure you're getting your daily requirements of fiber. So, you want to incorporate fruit into your diet.

And then, the last triangle on the plate is protein. And, we want to look for animal protein. High quality animal protein with a limited amount of antibiotics. And also non-animal sources of protein like grains. Such as quinoa, beans and lentils.

One of the things you'll notice about the plate are the proportions. You'll see that the vegetables and the grains make up about 50 percent of the plate. And that the protein and the fruit make up the other 50 percent of the plate.

This is a shift away from having more than 50 percent of the plate be filled with proteins. You really want to take a look at this and balance it out.

The other thing that's been changed is that dairy is no longer on the plate. But it's off to the side as a circle. It's another source of protein and it's a great source of calcium.

So, again, if you looking for a deeper understanding of the new MyPlate guidelines for a healthy diet, visit

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