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National Restaurant Association Partners with USDA in Endorsing MyPlate

MyPlate is the USDA’s latest nutrition guide, launched last June to replace MyPyramid which has been the government’s dietary plan since 2005.  This year, we have this icon to follow, designed to serve as a visual reminder that what we eat matters – it guides us in making healthy food choices when we select our next meal.  It is divided into 4 sections composed of (approximately) 30% grains, 30% vegetables, 20% fruits and 20% protein.  A smaller circle is reflected in the icon, representing a small portion of dairy—a glass of milk, or a yogurt cup.

MyPlate also supplements additional simple, easy to understand recommendations, like “half of your plate must consist of fruits and vegetables,“ “start using nonfat milk of 1% fat milk,”  “have different choices of protein,“ and “at least half of your grains should be whole grains.”   Among the choices for protein is beef, chicken, eggs, fish, nuts and seeds, peanut butter, beans, tofu, lentils and other legumes.  Among our choices of whole grains are whole wheat flour, whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, and rolled oats.

The guide also pushes the public to balance its calorie intake, encouraging us to enjoy our food, but reminding us to eat moderately and to avoid eating oversized portions.  It also encourages us to drink less sugary beverages, and to eat foods with lesser sodium in it.

The NRA’s move serves as a reaffirmation of the restaurant industry’s commitment to address today’s healthy living challenges.   Among its many efforts is its active role in promoting the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are intended for use in developing educational materials and policies in carrying out the government’s nutrition-related programs. The NRA takes an active role in the Dietary Guides Alliance, a collaboration of leading health organizations and trade associations, which translates the guidelines into easy to understand instructions for the general public—presenting it as realistic, practical dietary advices that are easy to apply in their daily lives.

Another move was the recently launched Kids LiveWell program, which gave restaurants across the country a chance to volunteer in helping Americans raise healthier and stronger children by offering them healthful menu options presented in elegant menu holders.  The strategic partnering with MyPlate is consistent with the program’s objectives, as both focuses on providing nutrient- rich food for the family, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy, as well as limiting the use of unhealthy fats, sodium and sugar.

And we can expect that there will be more of these kinds of initiative from the present administration – MyPlate is said to be only the first step of a bigger agenda to heave health awareness and educate consumers of its importance. Americans of all ages will be delivered with helpful guides and information necessary to fight the epidemic of obesity that leads to various life-threatening diseases, in the belief that a healthier generation of Americans bear a more productive and prosperous America.