Happy Birthday, MyPlate!

It’s hard to believe that the MyPlate dietary guidelines are 10-years-old this month, but it’s true! The system replaced the older, outdated food pyramid, and we think that’s worth celebrating.

The food pyramid was always a little confusing to look at, and it put an awful lot of weight on carbs. MyPlate instead give you a quick visual guide of what a healthy plate should look like. It’s easy to memorize and — most importantly — updated to reflect the current understanding of nutritional needs, including less emphasis on carbs. Vegetables take up 40 percent of the plate, fruit takes up 10 percent, grain takes up 30 and protein takes up 20. A small cup of dairy is off to the side of the plate for milk or yogurt. It cuts out the old “oil and sweets” section of the food pyramid. And it doesn’t call protein meat — it could be eggs, fish, legumes or another source of protein. It is far more intuitive and easier to follow than the food pyramid was because it is a literal plate.

The USDA is celebrating the anniversary to raise awareness and get people to think more about eating healthy, balanced meals. They hope people will share their ideas and experiences with #MyPlateTurns10 and tag @MyPlate on social media. They have added a Birthday Challenge to their app. If you complete 10 goals by the end of the month, you get a badge in the app! Sometimes having an app with a goal can be a huge help, even if you’re just winning a digital badge! It’s still a tangible achievement that can help you feel successful!

They have tip sheets, guides for people of different ages and fun quizzes! They also have tools to help you personalize MyPlate. They have a calculator to help you personalize your nutrition, over 1,000 recipes and tools to help you eat healthily while sticking to a budget!

Good nutrition provides a solid foundation for health and wellbeing,” said Stacy Dean, USDA’s deputy undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services. “MyPlate makes science-based food guidance accessible to consumers from all walks of life.”

Many of us look for “the right moment” to start a new, healthier eating habit. You can celebrate MyPlate’s 10th birthday this month by turning over a new leaf in your own life. Changing dietary habits can be hard. It’s much, much easier to make healthy swaps and work toward goals at your own pace. But, June can be your starting line if you have needed to find a good jumping-off point. Celebrate by downloading the app and taking a quiz; try the challenge yourself! Once you start, each step is easier. Then, next year, as MyPlate turns 11, you’ll be celebrating one year of healthy choices!

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