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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Chow Line: It's easy to put MyPlate into practice (for 6/19/11)

June 9, 2011

I like the new MyPlate icon that is replacing the old food pyramid, but it doesn’t give very many details on what you should actually do. Where can I find more information?

The MyPlate icon is just that -- an icon designed as a visual cue to remind people to make sure they eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and that even if they consider that steak (or other protein) to be the “main” part of their meal, it doesn’t have to fill most of the dinner plate.

Details about how to put that guidance into practice are contained in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, which has more than 100 pages of information on everything from weight management to building healthy eating choices, as well as more than a dozen appendices with other helpful information. You can download your own copy by going to the Dietary Guidelines web page, available from the My Plate website ( -- and scroll down and click on “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.”)

But if you’re like most people, you probably want more details than are available in the icon, but not really 100 pages worth. If that’s the case, check out the “10 Tips Nutrition Education Series” that was introduced with the MyPlate icon. Just click the “10 tips” icon on the lower right side of the web page for the list.

There are currently 14 one-page flyers available in the series, each of which has easy-to-follow tips suitable for putting on the refrigerator.

Some of the tip sheets focus on specific parts of the diet -- sodium, whole grains and dairy, for example. Two, though, are more general: “Choose MyPlate” and “Build a Healthy Meal” each offer 10 suggestions anyone can incorporate into their day-to-day eating patterns, including:

  • Avoid oversized portions. Use smaller plates and bowls.
  • Switch to fat-free or 1 percent milk.
  • Compare sodium in foods by looking at the Nutrition Facts label; choose lower-sodium versions.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Choose a wide variety of vegetables (of different colors -- including red, orange, dark-green) to get a wide variety of nutrients.
  • Choose lean proteins, and make seafood your protein twice a week.
  • Replace at least some of the refined grains in your diet with whole grains. Look for “100 percent whole wheat” or “100 percent whole grain” on the label.

Many more tips are available. Check them out to see if you find what you’re looking for.

Chow Line is a service of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Send questions to Chow Line, c/o Martha Filipic, 2021 Coffey Road, Columbus, OH, 43210-1044, or

Editor: This column was reviewed by Amber Riggin, a dietetic intern with Ohio State University Extension’s Community Nutrition Programs.


Martha Filipic
Amber Riggin