Government dishes out food PLATE, ditches food PYRAMID - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Government dishes out food PLATE, ditches food PYRAMID

Danielle McCauley Danielle McCauley

By Teri Okita – bio | email

KAILUA (HawaiiNewsNow) - From pyramid to plate. The government is tossing out the old food pyramid model that's been around for two decades. Now, it's pushing the food "plate" model - and some simple guidelines to go with it. It's out with the old, in with the new.

"This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we're eating," says First Lady, Michelle Obama. She's leading the government's campaign to replace the USDA's often-confusing pyramid with a simpler, four-quadrant plate – one quarter each of fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins - with some dairy on the side.

Here's how the "My Plate" model works: fruits and vegetables should make up half your meal. Load 'em up because they're healthy calories.

When it comes to grains, at least half should consist of WHOLE grains, like whole-wheat flour, oatmeal, and brown - not white - rice.

Danielle McCauley is a registered dietician in Kailua who's used a similar plate model for five years. "It kind of makes something that seems daunting very easy. It couldn't get easier than splitting your plate into four portion sizes and saying, ‘This food needs to go in this part of your plate, and this food needs to go in that part of your plate.' So, it really takes the thinking out of it," explains McCauley.

Your proteins - the meat, poultry, beans, nuts, and seafood - should be lean, low-fat, and low in sodium. Seafood should be rich in omega-3. And when it comes to dairy, choose fat-free or one-percent low-fat.

Other recommendations: eat less (avoid oversized portions), cut overall sodium intake, limit saturated fats, and drink water instead of sugary drinks.

About two-thirds of adults and one-third of children in America are overweight or obese. The goal is to reduce health problems down the road. "The most prevalent chronic diseases, here in Hawaii, are obesity, which can lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure," says McCauley.

Government officials say the new model is a suggestion, not a direction, on what to eat. At the very least, it's food for thought for those who'd rather be fit than fat.

For more information on the new food guidelines, you can log on to www.choosemyplate.com.

Registered dietician Danielle McCauley can be reached at www.DanielleMcCauleyRD.com.

Copyright 2011 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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