Learn More About the USDA's MyPlate Icon
The plate looks just as it sounds—a circular icon that is divided up into four sections, each of which represents a food group. The four food groups included on the plate are fruits (represented in red), vegetables (green), grains (orange), and protein (purple).
Dairy is represented as a small, separate blue circle in the upper corner; much like a glass of milk would look like next to a dinner plate.
The new icon is meant to make healthy eating easier, with each food group representing how much room it should take up on your plate during each meal.
Fruits and vegetable together should be the basis of a healthy diet, and consist of about half of your daily food intake.
Grains take up about a quarter of the plate. Whole grains are encouraged over refined grains, and consumers are encouraged to make at least half of their grains whole grains.
Protein takes up less than a quarter of the plate, with meat, seafood, poultry, and beans all on the list as healthy options.
The new plate icon was introduced to help simplify healthy eating. Kids and parents can easily see how their food intake is adding up by comparing it to how it measures up on their plate, not on a hard-to-understand pyramid.
In addition to the new icon, the USDA also lists healthy eating advice, including balancing your calories by enjoying your food, but eating less and avoiding oversized portions.
They recommend that fruit and vegetables make up half of an individual's daily food intake, half of all grains consumed should be whole grains, and advise switching to fat free or low-fat (one percent) milk.
Finally, the USDA also encourages a low sodium diet by advising consumers to compare foods and choose options that contain less salt, and to drink water instead of sugary beverages like soda.