In my recent critique of the new USDA dietary guidelines, I wrote that we’ll never see a real food version of MyPlate as long as the food industry holds sway over the guidelines and USDA continues to promote industrial foods.
While this is true, there’s no reason we can’t create our own “Real Food” version of MyPlate to promote what we think is healthy and what’s not. Admittedly, it’s difficult to convey a lot of information in a single graphic, but, in my opinion as a certified nutrition educator, MyPlate promotes foods that are unhealthy. There are structural problems with MyPlate as well—dairy should be included in the protein category and the glass next to the plate should be water.
Allowing industrial food corporations to influence the dietary guidelines—from dairy and meat to apple juice and corn flakes—makes it clear that the health of the American people is not the USDA’s top priority.
My “Real Food” approach to MyPlate clearly conveys what I think should be included and what should not be, and has no agenda other than presenting the healthiest real food diet for all Americans. The underpinnings of a real food diet is focused on plant-based, whole foods that are organic and sourced local, when possible.
Bottom Line: Simply giving these guidelines isn’t going to change the fact that too many Americans lack access to real foods. Change doesn’t appear to be happening from the top down anytime soon. In the meantime, by providing clear and accurate guidelines based on “Real Food,” I hope Americans can see what a “healthy” diet really looks like and start demanding access to these foods.