People should eat more seafood and beans while keeping portions of meat and poultry “small and lean,” the U.S. government said Thursday in unveiling a new illustration of a healthy diet. The “MyPlate” logo urges consumers to cover half their plate with fruits and vegetables, reduce salt intake, and eat more whole grains.

“With so many food options available to consumers, it is often difficult to determine the best foods to put on our plates when building a healthy meal,” said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, who unveiled the new program along with First Lady Michelle Obama. “My Plate” is an uncomplicated symbol to help remind people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles,” he said.

New USDA Dietary Logo

“MyPlate” replaces the food pyramid the government has used for 20 years, a symbol that was often criticized as confusing. The new design is based on the dietary guidelines released by USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services in January.

Poultry and meat are included in a “Protein Foods Group” that also includes beans, peas, lentils, and tofu, as well as nuts and seeds and seafood. The government recommended beans in particular, describing them as “a natural source of fiber and protein,” and recommended consumption of seafood twice a week. “Keep meat and poultry portions small and lean,” the advice says, although the actual recommendation for an adult male is 6.5 ounces of meat per day.

The new program considers the fat in beef, pork, and chicken to be “solid fat” and puts it in the category of “empty calories.” It urges consumers to practice portion control and to cook more of their meals at home, “where you are in control of what’s in your food.”

Details are available at www.choosemyplate.gov.

 

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