By Rachel Berman RD, Director of Nutrition at CalorieCount.com
Last month, the USDA celebrated its one year anniversary of releasing MyPlate to replace the decades-old food guide pyramid in order to help Americans make healthier choices at mealtime. In case you haven’t seen it yet, MyPlate is a visual representation of what your plate should look like, sectioned off with 50% attributed for fruits and vegetables, 30% grains, 20% protein and a smaller circle next to the plate representing dairy. But is the government implementing this nutrition guide focusing on balance when it comes to the National School lunch program? With more than one-third of the nation’s children and adolescents being obese and students taking in about 20-50% of their daily food at school during the school year, is the math adding up to more nutritious school lunches?
This year, the USDA is requiring a revamp of school lunches due to first lady Michelle Obama’s initiative and as a component of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act signed by the president. Beginning July 1, 2012, new school lunch and general nutrition standards started rolling out and will continue for the next five years. The main changes, which are in line with MyPlate recommendations, include ensuring:
By Len Saunders, MA
Children may be away from school and locked into summer mode, but July and August may be a great time to teach them about proper nutrition and healthy lifestyle through the USDA’s MyPlate.
As informative as the old MyPyramid used to be, quite honestly, it made nutrition a task to understand for most children. From their point of view, what does a pyramid have to do with food or nutrition? MyPlate does put it into perspective for kids at a level they can understand. They look at the plate, and see the food groups laid out for them in a form of a pie chart, distributing the percentages of the foods needed daily. For children, sometimes simple and basic is more effective to get a message across to prepare them for a healthy future.