Back when I was growing up, food came in a pyramid. Over the course of the day you were supposed to get 6-11 servings of grains, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruits, 2-3 servings of milk and protein each, and fats, oils, and sugars sparingly. They didn’t make a big deal out of how you got those servings, how you divided them up over the course of the day, just make sure you get them. You could eat them at meals or snacks it didn’t matter. And because of the pyramid nature of the graphic I could easily remember which groups I was supposed to eat more of.
That made sense to me. At the end of the day I could look back and see how I did and maybe grab a handful of carrots to munch on while I cleaned up at the end of the day.
Now they’ve got this plate thing though – MyPlate. It still indicates that you’re supposed to eat mostly plants (vegetables and grains are the largest two sections followed by fruits). And then protein and a bit of dairy. The graphic is of a plate so that when you sit down to eat you can think of the graphic, look at your plate, and see how you’re doing.
And that’s my problem.
I don’t always eat a plate of food. I graze. I munch. I’m not concerned with vegetables when I’m eating my bowl of cereal in the morning – grains and dairy, which actually combine to give you all the amino acids in a complete protein, how do I count that? When I’m eating an apple with cheese in the afternoon for a snack should I feel bad that I’m not grabbing some toast at the same time to try and round out my plate some more?
If I look back over the whole day and what I ate that day, do they want me to visualize it as if everything I ate were on one big plate so I can know if I ate the right amounts of all the foods? Or should I fix up my big plate in the morning and then just munch off that all day long? And if I’m actually fixing up a perfectly portioned plate every time I eat, wouldn’t it also be unhealthy, or at the very least a tad bit crazy, if I used a dessert plate and ate it 12 times a day?
Just give me a daily amount, not a meal amount. I’m pretty sure I can figure it out from there.