After nearly two decades of using the food pyramid, the USDA instituted a simpler icon to guide Americans in proper nutrition. The new plate icon encourages Americans to eat a more plant-based diet, by suggesting that half of every meal consist of fruits or vegetables, while the other half should consist of whole grains and lean protein.

The USDA hopes the new icon will help Americans adopt healthier eating habits at a time when obesity rates for adults and children are skyrocketing.

“It’s an opportunity for Americans to understand quickly how to have a balanced and nutritious meal,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “It’s a constant reminder as you look at your own plate whether your portion sizes are right, whether you’ve got enough fruits and vegetables on that plate.

First Lady Michelle Obama is also embracing the new guidelines. She was on hand this morning to speak at a press conference to unveil the new plate icon.

“When it comes to eating, what’s more useful than a plate?” Mrs. Obama asked. “It’s a quick simple way for all of us to be mindful of the foods we’re eating.”

Despite the new guidelines, however, Mrs. Obama warned that it isn’t a panacea for the rising obesity epidemic.

“It can’t ensure our communities have access to affordable fruits and vegetables,” Obama said. “That’s still work we need to do.”

The new plate icon replaces the old food pyramid, which critics considered too confusing and too heavily focused on consuming consume large amount of grains and carbohydrates.

With the introduction of the new plate icon, the USDA also rolled out a new website, Choosemyplate.gov, which will show Americans how to stretch their food budget while still eating healthy.

What do you think of the new eating guidelines? Do you think it will help Americans make better food choices?



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