USDA’s MyPlate and Your Diet

Linda B. Bobroff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been providing dietary guidance to American consumers for generations. Their latest recommended eating patterns were introduced in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and are currently represented by the new MyPlate icon. MyPlate was introduced by USDA in June 2011, replacing MyPyramid, the symbol of the USDA's eating pattern since 2005.

The graphic uses a place setting to illustrate the familiar five food groups, Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Protein Foods and Dairy. Choosing nutrient-rich foods in amounts that support a healthy weight are two keys to building a healthful diet. You can’t actually learn to choose a healthful diet just by looking at MyPlate; it was created to remind us to eat healthfully.

You can learn to build a personal eating plan at the USDA's website The website provides nutrition information along with practical and interactive resources to help people of all ages and those with special needs put together an eating plan that is right for them. Vegetarian and vegan options are included, as are ideas for meeting the needs of young children, pregnant and lactating women, and those who want to lose weight. For more information about MyPlate and other nutrition topics, contact your county Extension office or visit our Extension website at