A healthier plate

If you’ve read any of the discussion about the federal government’s new MyPlate (the successor to MyPyramid), you know that there is a bit of controversy about how it was developed, namely that the monolithic food industry played a little too much of a role in suggestion what we eat, and how much.
Just as they did in response to MyPyramid, the Harvard School of Public Health has stepped into the fray with their own, more finely tuned plate: The Healthy Eating Plate. I’ll let you check it out for yourself, but I will highlight a few of the important improvements that the Healthy Eating Plate has made:
  • Actively tells you that whole grains are much healthier than refined grains (and actively discourages consumption of the latter).
  • Does not treat all protein sources as equals, because clearly hot dogs are not as healthy as fish or beans!
  • Points out that potatoes should not be counted as vegetables (they are better counted as a starchy carb, as are grains), and puts the vegetable segment of the plate above the fruit section, because…
  • …while fruit is a healthy part of a healthy diet, vegetables are healthier.
  • Includes healthy oils, which are completely missing from MyPlate!
  • Promotes water as a beverage (with additional mentions for unsweetened or minimally sweetened tea and coffee), and suggests limiting milk and juice.
  • Includes a reminder that physical activity is important for health and weight control.
As with Harvard’s previous Healthy Eating Pyramid, I feel that the Healthy Eating Plate is a definite improvement over what the government offers. Some eaters will find fault with it, of course (especially those who advocate avoiding grains and/or fruit), but it is balanced and a good plan for many people to model their eating habits after.

As for me, I know how I’ll be filling my plate this week. We’d put our weekly Full Circle CSA box on hold for the last month because we had bushels of cucumbers, tomatoes, beans and summer squash coming out of our garden. Now, I love all of those veggies…but I’ve been craving more variety! Today, my patience was rewarded with all kinds of lovely things: Kale, dandelion greens, arugula, Swiss chard, cabbage, leaf lettuce, Romanesco broccoli, orange and purple carrots, apples, pears, plums, peaches, radishes and red onions. All the colors of the rainbow!