Many who grew up watching Power Rangers after school and the Cosby Show late at night are probably all too familiar with the food pyramid. Kids of the 1990s remember being taught that we need large portions of grains in a healthy diet (the bottom level), and that we also need a healthy dose of fruits and veggies, as well as some meats and fats. This was all lined up on a nice grid, showing you to “eat upwards,” choosing more foods from the bottom of the food pyramid and taking it easy at the things at the top like cakes and cookies.
2005 Revamped Food Pyramid
In 2005, the USDA revamped the pyramid to make it more of a vertical layout rather than a horizontal tier. While it tried to address issues with the original food pyramid like the indication that grains were more important – it wasn’t necessarily easier to understand. A man running up the side of a pyramid across different food groups may have gotten rid of a perceived food hierarchy, but it didn’t clear up what we’re supposed to be eating, and how much. Plus, it was ridiculously difficult to explain and understand.
My Plate in 2011
In 2011, the USDA once again revamped the “recommended eating chart” and got rid of the food pyramid by replacing it with a plate instead. This new icon (even endorsed by First Lady Michelle Obama) was ushered in to even out the playing field when it came to food groups and what was important. Using a symbol just about all Americans could relate with (a plate,) it put all food groups on the same playing field and showed a grid of what healthy proportions should look like. Upon it’s launch, it MyPlate.com received great feedback.
Workplace Wellness & Food Pyramids
Part of workplace wellness is encouraging healthy eating. Following guidelines from My Plate is a great place to start if you’re looking for ways to encourage and educate your employees. Informing them of the USDA’s new recommendations is an easy conversation opener, and a great idea for a wellness class or seminar. It may have been years since your employees have seen the food pyramid, so jog their memories and then introduce them to the new My Plate. You might just be surprised at their food choices after an enlightening lesson. It might not seem like such a chore after all to follow a healthy eating plan.