Posted at 04:00 PM ET, 06/02/2011

What food pyramid? A new look at the USDA’s MyPlate


First lady Michelle Obama helps unveil MyPlate. (By Susan Walsh/Associated Press)
After decades of trying to live within the rigid parameters of the food pyramid, a plump American populace now has a more practical option: the plate.

Fruits and vegetables make up half of the USDA’s new “MyPlate” guidelines. Grains and proteins take their respective quarters, and a cup of “dairy” rests to the side. As for desserts? Forget it. First lady Michelle Obama was on hand to help unveil the plate Thursday, which now replaces the historic (and, for some, historically confusing) guidelines found within the food pyramid.

But enough about the unveiling. What does this new change look  like? Behold, a before and after reveal:

To better help you understand the new parameters, Melissa and I took a trip to The Post’s cafeteria. This slice of pizza accompanied by a chocolate cookie signifies a blatant disregard for pyramid or circle-based food guidelines, but for better or worse, it’s what we probably pick up more often than not:


The bad example, which we fed to T.J. (By Katie Rogers)

This brings us to our balanced lunch assembled along the new MyPlate guidelines: Half fruits and vegetables,a quarter of grains and a quarter of protein, flanked by skim milk. It took about five more seconds to pull together than the pizza-plus-cookie combination. Melissa did cheat by adding a piece of chocolate, but otherwise, gave it a thumbs-up.


Ta da! (By Katie Rogers)

Do you think the new guidelines are realistic? Tell us in the comments below or by using #MyPlateIS on Twitter. Find out more about MyPlate here.

@washingtonpost My main rule of what to eat: "Everything in moderation, especially moderation." So I have pizza occasionally. #MyPlateISless than a minute ago via Twitter for Mac Favorite Retweet Reply

@washingtonpost #MyPlateIS something like that, on good days. However, protein is LESS than a qtr according to new plan. Careful!!less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

#myplateis 75% fried meat 25% french friesless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

The new #MyPlateIS is great, but we need to improve access to healthier food for EVERYONE, not only those who can afford it.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

New MyPlate is a lot more intuitive. It's much better than the Pyramid. Realistic? Barring allergies it seems to be. #MyPlateISless than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

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