The U.S.D.A. plans to do away with its familiar Food Pyramid this week. The pyramid has stood for decades as a guide to healthy eating, dividing up food groups like grains, vegetables, fruits, dairy and meat. Registered dietician Jamie Stevens says she has no clue what’s replacing the Food Pyramid.
“I have no idea,” Stevens says. “I just found out recently there are going to be some changes and I’m pretty excited about it.” During a news conference Thursday, the U.S.D.A. will unveil its new icon. While Stevens doesn’t know the shape of the replacement, she does know it will focus on behavior modification.
“It’s going to give us six messages to healthy eating,” she says. “Enjoy your food but eat less. Avoid oversized portions. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Switch to fat-free or low fat, meaning, one-percent milk. Compare sodium in food groups like soups, breads and frozen meals and choose the foods with the lower numbers. Drink more water instead of sugary drinks.”
Stevens is a registered dietitian at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha. She says for many of her clients, the Food Pyramid was difficult to explain and it was hard to follow. She says, “Sometimes people will say, ‘You know, I can’t look at the food guide pyramid and do everything but maybe I can pull a couple of these things and do one or two things,’ but really, overall, that will really help their overall nutrition and help their overall health, too.”
The U.S.D.A. says the new icon will be visible everywhere and will be vastly more active, reaching people at home, school, work, at play and especially at supermarkets and restaurants. It’s designed to remind people what they should be doing to improve their health and that people will change their eating behavior.