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USDA Ditches Food Pyramid for a Healthy Plate

Interesting morsel of news this morning; apparently the U.S. food pyramid is out, and a new food circle or “plate” is in!

A colorful four-part plate, with a side dish of dairy, will replace the 19-year-old food pyramid as the icon of the new U.S. Dietary Guidelines.

The icon represents more than the currently recommended diet. It’s part of a drastic change. The old plan was to provide information. The new plan is to actively change American eating behavior, using all the tools of modern persuasion.

“The centerpiece of the program is this next-generation food icon,” Robert C. Post, PhD, deputy director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA center for nutrition policy and promotion, tells WebMD. “The icon is the visual cue to get to online resources, to online media, and to unified nutrition messages from public- and private-sector efforts.”

via USDA Ditches Food Pyramid for a Healthy Plate.

To me this is an interesting exercise in art as well as science: what is the easiest, clearest way to visually explain nutrition?

I’m not sure a pyramid was “confusing” like some of the reports are saying, but I like the idea of using a plate, since it is a lot easier to transpose mentally onto a real plate.

First Lady Michelle Obama is endorsing the new nutritional visualization as part of her Get Moving program, which is good, although frankly I still think the best spokesmodel I’ve seen for nutrition is Cookie Monster:

I still think the best spokesperson



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.

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