How Does MyPlate Stack Up for Educators?
How Does MyPlate Stack Up for Educators?

MyPlate Match GameSince USDA’s MyPlate was introduced in June 2011, many educators are asking if they should throw out their MyPyramid materials or if those materials can be used with the MyPlate icon. I get the impression that most educators think MyPyramid is now invalid, so I wanted to clear up the confusion.

Both MyPlate and MyPyramid are based on the same information, i.e., the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. They are different visual representations of the same nutrition information. Each serves a unique purpose and both remain available for educators.

To help clarify, I enlisted the help of Health Educator and Dairy Council Schools Supervisor, Debbie Asada. Here she shares a few key points:

  • MyPlate is a great visual icon for students and adults. It serves as a quick reminder of what food groups should be on our plates at every meal. Though MyPlate is a helpful visual in the lunch room, the education behind it is fundamentally important.
  • Both icons are based on a food-grouping system, so either visual is a valid form of representing the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. A food-grouping system simplifies students’ choices and allows them to easily grasp nutrition concepts by answering the “why.” Educators will have more success teaching nutrition by continuing to use this approach.
  • The three main concepts students need to conceptually grasp at their respective age levels are: balance, variety and moderation. These ideas overlap and are critical in learning to make healthy choices. Once this is accomplished through a nutrition curriculum, MyPlate serves as a great visual reminder to make those choices at each meal.

Dairy Council continually updates our materials to reflect current dietary guidelines and effective educational strategies. We will retain the food group approach as it is the most effective in the learning process.

Try our new My Plate Match Game to see how your food group knowledge stacks up!

Also, the MyPlate icon is a great depiction of a balanced meal, i.e. one food from each food group. Eating balanced meals together as a family is a strategy for improved health and well being.