People are different from each other. And so are the best things for them to eat. The USDA released the new Food Pyramid on April 19, 2005. Perhaps the most striking change is that the new pyramid is tailored to your age, gender, and level of physical activity. There is no one-size-fits-all image you can cut out and stick to your refrigerator door.
But if you enter the relevant stats for each person in your family at MyPyramid.gov, you can print out a pyramid for each of them. And the pyramids will deliver recommendations in useful amounts (How many cups of fruit? How many ounces of meat?), instead of the less immediate idea of ‘servings’. And if you enter what your family actually eats on the MyPyramid.gov website, it will give you an assessment of your diets, and help you to track them over time.
The same is true for physical activity. The lines on the new pyramid no longer run from side to side, but run up to the apex, an image of our journeys toward better nutrition. The personalization of the pyramid and the online tools should make it easier for us to take an honest look at what our families are really eating now, and to identify little steps we can take toward delicious diets that will improve our health.
I’m glad the new tailored pyramid addresses topics such as whole grains, omega 3 fats, and calcium. I wish the pyramid explored the benefits of organic foods. I wish the pyramid gave resoundingly clear examples of foods we need to be eating less of. But either way, just being conscious of how our families are eating, and identifying little steps we can take to bring our family higher up the pyramid makes this release an improvement over the original. A step higher.