The Question Is, How Big Is The Plate?

You may have seen this new US Federal guideline for healthy eating recently.  It replaces the “old” food pyramid, which I never much cared for.  I’m not really sure how I feel about this one either, since about five minutes of Googling can turn up experts who would argue for making any portion of it bigger or smaller.  It’s probably just fine.  More information about the new program here.

I do think it should be clear that the “grains” category needs to be whole grains, not ultra-processed white bread.  Speaking for my own metabolism only, whole grains are a big deal.  Regardless of whether we use a plate or a pyramid as a guide, the question is, “how much food are we talking about?”  This can be a healthy plate  … or not … entirely depending on how much food is actually on it as much as what that food is.

Some people will see this (ok, at some points in my life I would have seen this) as a call to add two pounds of fruits and vegetables to go along with my 16-ounces of NY Strip.  And biscuits.   And I know people (clearly not me) who would see this as a call to add an extra berry to their single slice of deli turkey.  How do we communicate healthy quantities?

I realize it’s tricky telling people how much food they should eat.  What I need to be healthy is entirely different from what a 120-pound teenage girl needs to consume to be healthy.  Unfortunately, we all have to engage in a little trial and error with a big dash of common sense to find the right formula.

Here’s hoping this new plate will surprise me and be a good starting point for people who haven’t given eating much critical thought

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