reshape your plate series – part 1 - background


My mom is always full of ideas. While talking to her yesterday she mentioned that I should share with you things I have learned in my education. I graduated in Personal Finance, but it was through the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. So I had to take classes in EVERY subject concerning home life. One of my ALL time fav classes is called Family Meal Preparation. I would come out of the class every time inspired to do better with my eating – and have tons of ideas on how to better my family. Great class!

So without further ado, I introduce to you a series out of many series to come –

Reshape Your Plate Series.


So on we go to learning! First, we need to look at the food pyramid through the years. I think it’s quite fascinating.

•In the 1940’s the wartime food guide promoted eating foods that provided the vitamins and minerals needed to prevent deficiencies.


•In the 1950’s-1960’s the 7 food groups were simplified into a “Food for Fitness” guide, which was commonly called “The Basic Four.”


•By the later 1970’s, concerns about dietary excess lead USDA to issue “The Hassle-Free Daily Food Guide,” which included a “caution” group of fats, sweets, and alcohol.


  • All of these food guides preceded the introduction of the original Food Guide Pyramid in 1992.


  • And then it was again revamped in 2005 to be “My Pyramid.”


Don’t get too used to this because a new one is supposed to come out AGAIN next year sometime.

There are some problems with the food pyramid though.

  • The Pyramid Graphic not as effective
    • Good for Academics but…
    • Not practical for meal planning
  • Based on Daily Nutrition needs
    • People generally don’t plan or think per day, but per meal.
  • Visual Distribution is by serving number not by serving sizes (volumes)
  • It is confusing! Have you tried planning menus around this thing?
  • Is only an icon or logo and not information oriented
  • Shows a horizontal distribution of groups
  • Defeats the purpose of a pyramid (it should be a vertical distribution)
  • Information is online – not accessible to all

How many of you REALLY use the pyramid to do your meal planning and daily eating? Not many if I am correct. I have tried, but got way too overwhelmed.

Whew! So now after all that, I can introduce you to the plate method.


Some advantages into this method-

  • Emphasis on Meal planning (practical)
  • Presents visual “picture” of a proper meal
  • Simple to understand and easy to remember
    • We use the Mickey Mouse rule to help A remember
  • It approximates actual portion sizes – less you need to remember for “serving sizes”
  • You could even make placemats
  • More exposure to this method leads to better memory retention and compliance

There are three layers to the plate method-

  1. Reshape your plate
  2. Serving sizes
  3. Food choices

We will be discussing each of these in parts because there is so much in them that is ALL useful info! Then we will go into some more practical applications – because I think that is the most helpful when I am learning something new. If you work at this, it will become so useful to you and your family!

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