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Healthy Living

Midlife Minute: An Easier Way to Plan Your Plate

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 06/16/2011
Last Updated: 08/10/2012

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You may have noticed the demise of the old way of the government's system of illustrating what and how much we should be eating. Although there are some critics of the new system, I think its clarity and logic are far superior to the old approach. I personally found it both confusing and tough to relate to a pyramid (unless perhaps you were visiting or living in or around Egypt).

Part of the message: enjoy your food, but eat less of it. That's always been my way of thinking. get so many of us into trouble. It's no surprise that obesity has climbed along with the growth of the amount of food served in most restaurants and (especially) fast-food joints.

Obesity is spotlighted as a critical public-health problem in the new . In addition to offering specific dietary recommendations, the guidelines offer strong evidence for weight-loss strategies like: focusing on the total number of calories consumed, monitoring your food intake by of what you eat; taking care when eating out by choosing smaller portions or lower-calorie options; practicing portion control at home; eating a ; and limiting screen time.

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I like the new guideline image - I think most people will be able to understand it.

Yes, so much clearer and easier to decipher, I think~

I agree; the new guidelines seem more intuitively easy to understand.

I find that when I eat less, don't snack, and pay attention to portions, I really enjoy my food so much more. When I eat a lot, it's like it dulls my senses or something. When I eat less, my sense of taste and smell is heightened. Hard to describe, but it does make me realize how much I overindulge, as well as how little a person really needs to eat to survive.

Jane, I think what you're describing is otherwise known as "mindful eating." It helps to pay attention, slow down and chew slowly - then you can truly enjoy and appreciate what you are eating. I can't agree more about how we really need so much less than we actually consume.

Great post. This makes much more sense to me.

I agree--the plate is a great idea. It's so much better than the pyramid!

I appreciate what they're trying to do with the new MyPlate logo, but I don't think that the smaller portions message is coming across clearly enough in the visual. As much press as the image has received, the rest of the guidelines are already falling by the wayside, I fear.

Maybe I'm overly aware of math-related trouble people have, but I worry that the plate graphic (while better than the pyramid) looks a bit too much like the old Square Meal, when everything was essentially equal. I'm just not sure most people (me included) get the fractions / percentages involved.

I like the new plate visual instead of the confusing vertical pyramid deal too. I'm with you on the huge portions. My kids ate out last night and kept half of the portions for lunch today.

Saves you the bother of having to make lunch the next day...a nice advantage of big portions.

I saw an image of "The Plate" and thought it was relatively simple to follow. I felt the same way about "The Pyramid." What I find interesting is what people consider to be "veggies" "fruit" "protein" etc!

Yes, french fries counting for veggies? Um, I don't think so...

Enjoy your food but EAT LESS OF IT. This is very good advice, that I will try to follow. I tend to wait too long to eat and then get ravenous. I think that's one of my many food-related mistakes...

I know what you mean, Jennifer. If I wait too long to eat all my willpower and control goes out the window. Maybe you can remind yourself to have a snack in between meals so that doesn't happen?

I think huge portions have been our downfall. In my opinion, it started during the 1980's with all-you-can-eat buffets. Restaurants were forced to compete by serving larger portions. Hopefully the new plate guidelines will help bring us back to a more realistic way of eating.

I'm with you on that, Donna. The portions are so big and usually enough to feed two, or make two meals from. I always look forward to eating my leftovers the next day for lunch or dinner.


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