The colorful MyPlate icon reminds us to fill our meal plate with balanced portions of healthy food, and to learn more about nutrition at ChooseMyPlate.gov.
The icon was introduced in 2011 by First Lady Michelle Obama and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. It promotes choosing nutritious items from the vegetable, fruit, grain, protein products, and diary food groups.
The ChooseMyPlate Site
The ChooseMyPlate website is easy to navigate and loaded with practical information for individuals, educators, and health professionals. The site encourages us to:
- enjoy our food but avoid over-sized, calorie heavy portions.
- fill half our dinner plate with vegetables and fruits.
- make at least half of our grain intake whole grains.
- avoid sugary beverages; drink water instead.
- read food labels and choose items with lower sodium content.
- eat a variety of protein foods.
ChooseMyPlate does not address food allergies but it can remind children and adults to create healthier eating habits, and it encourages people to be physically active. The site includes advice for vegetarians, and a MyPlate Kid’s Place with songs, videos, games, and more.
You can also choose to use the USDA’s free SuperTracker, a tool for preparing personal nutrition and activity plans, keeping track of what you eat, and what you do. There are tips for making healthier MyPlate food and lifestyle choices, plus guidance for weight management.
Building healthy eating habits in childhood reduces the risk of developing a variety of health problems. Cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis are only a few of the illnesses associated with a poor diet and over eating. A 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey showed that:
- more than two in three adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese.
- more than one in three adults are considered obese.
- of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19, about a third are overweight or obese.
The MyPlate icon is a very eye-pleasing, simple reminder to be aware of what we put on our plate at meal time. It was not designed to eliminate food related health issues, but to symbolize for us what healthy eating looks like.
There are English and Spanish-language versions of the MyPlate (MiPlato) symbol.