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USDA: Food Pyramid Out, Food Plate In

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After almost two decades, the USDA food pyramid is history. First Lady Michelle Obama Monday unveiled the USDA's update on America's visual nutrition guide, replacing the familiar - and much maligned - pyramid with a plate.

The First Lady explains, "When it comes to eating, what's more useful than a plate or more simple than a plate?

This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we're eating, and as a Mom I can already tell you how much this is going to help parents all across the country."

The USDA spent $2 million to design and promote the plate aimed at fighting obesity in adults and children.

The new symbol, called "My Plate," is a simple circle divided into quadrants for fruits, vegetables, protein and grains.

"Kids can learn how to use this tool now and they can use it for the rest of their lives."

USDA officials say the food pyramid, which has been around since 1992, was tired out and too complex for busy families.

It's going to be hard not to do better than the current pyramid, which basically conveys no useful information. The new design incorporates seven key dietary messages:

- Enjoy your food, but eat less

- Avoid oversized portions

- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables

- Drink water instead of sugary drinks

- Make at least half your grains whole grains

- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk

- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals - and choose the foods with lower numbers.

Experts argued the nowdefunct pyramid lumped all types of foods in its design - including unhealthy sweets and fats at the top of the pyramid. That made it hard to tell which foods were better choices.

"So this is something that I am really excited about because I'm confident that families will find this useful and they'll find it useful right away."

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