Healthy Eating Plate Review

Hey you all :)

Glad you liked reading about my adventures as a BodyPUMP instructor. It has been quite the ride, that’s for sure.

So, on to some food talk, eh?

I am NOT a huge fan of the MyPlate (<—read my MyPlate review) that the government came out with to replace the MyPyramid (which replaced the original pyramid).

On a different plane, I have always liked the Harvard guys’ research and their ideas– especially because I know they are NOT influenced by any food industries (can’t say the same of the government. VERY unfortunately). They are the ones who pretty much came out and said white potatoes are ‘crap’ and should not be considered vegetables or even healthy starch foods. (Book found on my books page)

The Harvard researchers recently came out with their version of what a healthy plate should look like (by the way, Tina mentioned this last week).

I saw it and immediately pumped my fist in the air and said “YES!! Finally.”

This Harvard Healthy Eating Plate is SO much easier to understand than MyPlate (too vague), has some short descriptions to clarify, and does NOT say that dairy must be a part of the diet.

Some reasons why I like the Healthy Eating Plate:

  • It clarifies that it should be “whole grains” NOT just grains (the USDA MyPlate says just ‘grains’)
  • For the protein part of the plate, the HEP clarifies that it should be “healthy protein” and in the sidebar the wording says that this means limiting red meat, eating beans and nuts, and avoiding bacon and processed meats. LOVE that.
  • WATER is the drink of choice, not milk. Hello–lots of people don’t drink or eat dairy (for many reasons), and dairy has NEVER truly been proven to be a crucial part of a healthy diet; Calcium has (and Calcium is in many foods other than milk).
  • I LOVE that the plate is mostly vegetables, and that it is a larger portion than fruit. I LOVE my fruit, and I eat a lot of it, but I think that it is better to focus on vegetables since they do have less sugar (our country is in need of foods like that. Hah).
  • My favorite part of it all? The side bar part of the “vegetables” that says “potatoes and french fries don’t count.” HAH.
  • Actually, another favorite part: that the plate is easy to understand.

The downside to this (and any generalization in the realm of nutrition) is that each person’s needs are different. My husband needs a larger plate than I do. I need a bigger plate than someone who is shorter than me or less active than me.

{spinach makes up 80% of my diet. Sort of kidding}

It is truly up to EACH of us to recognize what are needs are–especially by listening to that beautiful bodies of ours 😉

And I think it is extremely vital that mothers (and fathers) provide a healthy example for their children so the kids grow up knowing vegetables come first, not desserts or milk.

All in all I appreciate the Harvards’ researchers in-depth research to study about these things and not be afraid to announce to the public that the government and its’ national nutrition agencies do NOT always have our best interest at heart. I just freakin’ love that boldness.

For me I don’t really NEED the plate to tell me what to do (I studied all this stuff for sooooooo long-Hah. I actually loved it so much I minored in it all), but not everyone knows what or how much to eat, and I appreciate the honest approach to science. Cheers for hard-working scientists and professors who take their field in the nutrition sciences seriously!

Alright, enough food chat, I am off to eat a clementine and hit that treadmill running!

Have a GRRRRREEEAAATTT day! <—sung like Tony… read: read about how Tony the Tiger ‘got fat’ from eating his cereal 😉

Do YOU pay attention to nutrition advice like this?? What is YOUR take on the Healthy Eating Plate??

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  1. I do like this better than the original myplate. I feel like I know enough about nutrition to NOT have to rely on this, but I do think this is good for the general American public. Also, I will definitely use this model when I teach Summer School and we talk about healthy foods!!

  2. I was looking at the website my plate this weekend and I agree, it’s totally confusing to me. I felt like what they recommended I eat was just wrong lol. What do you feel about protein? They told me that 5ounces per day was the max, but to eat 6 ounces of grains. I just feel that eating protein is much better than grains right?

    • Protein is different for everyone–especially based off of exercise, weight, and height needs. Most say .8-1.2 grams of protein PER kilogram of body weight. SO for someone who weighs 150 lbs (about 68.2 Kg), he/she would need somewhere between 55 grams-81.4 grams protein per day. Hope that helps!

  3. very very interesting…I guess I already knew this info pretty much, after alot of research on my own over the years…but its so important for everyone to understand the meaning of eating balanced and healthy. i like the harvard plate alot more!

  4. Um, kale makes up 80% of my diet… (also kidding… sometimes…) :)
    I totally agree that the Harvard plate rocks. I snickered a bit when I read the part about fries too.
    I definitely love that it clearly spells it all out for people AND that people can see that carbs (in the form of whole grains) are important!

  5. I like the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate. Sometimes a brief description helps people make proper choices! Thanks for the Mountain Climber tips the other day…I was doing it wrong!

    • Glad I could help! (p.s. lots of people don’t know they’re doing ’em wrong, so good for you for noticing and getting MORE bang for your buck!!)

      Harvard dudes rock. Hah

  6. I love the Harvard focus on veggies. I feel like eating veggies makes a huge difference in my overall health! And I love that the Harvard one is NOT influenced by the dairy corporations. Thanks for this post!

  7. Printing this out and giving it to my husband. He gets mad I don’t eat total bread like he does.

    I think I may try body pump! It sounds nice!

    What about a Focus post on Spinning?

    • Hah :)

      YES try BodyPUMP!!!!

      I could do a focus on spinning….but I am not great at it. Maybe in a few weeks (I am going to do a couple more classes) OR someone else? If you want to do a guest post, I’d love it! Or I can find someone else, whatever works!

  8. Thanks for sharing this! I get so frustrated when the government puts their “Stamp of Approval” on foods because most of the time it isn’t accurate, it is another way to make money!! No wonder the state of health in the US is awful!!! Okay….enough about politics!

    This is super helpful, but I was concerned right away about the lack of calcium. I take a supplement and know the big C is in other foods, but it is a HUGE need to avoid osteoporosis. Plus, the way us athlete use our bodies, we need strong bones. Wish there was some display of calcium on the plate….maybe a note that talks about other sources like dark leafy greens, soybeans, etc. Just a thought!!

    • Yes, politics stay off the blog. hehe 😉

      Yep Calcium is in a lot of dark greens–so that would be a good thing to add-good point!

  9. So interesting! Thanks for talking about this- I didn’t know about the harvard healthy eating plate. However, I don’t usually follow nutrition advice like this because I kind of know what is best for me, and I take the information that I’ve learned from my nutrition class. BUT, I think this is a great tool for someone that doesn’t know!

    • Yes–you probably know a lot about it all :)

      It’s amazing how often I forget that not everyone needs it spelled out, ya know?! I agree-this plate is helpful for ALL. Have a great day!

  10. The HEP looks more consistent with the way I aim to eat and I like that it puts more emphasis on vegetables and does clarify that proteins and grains should be specific types.

  11. caroline says:

    The Harvard Plate freakin blows the USDA myplate out of the water. When I heard that the USDA was coming out with a “new” food diagram, I thought finally! And then when I saw it I was utterly disgusted. I will get my CALCIUM from other sources thankyouverymuch. Go Harvard! Down with the USDA myplate.

  12. Great post Annette :) I think the Harvard Plate is a much better approach to nutrition, love the emphasis on wholegrains, greater variety of vegetables and healthy protein (none of the processed stuff.. eek!). And yay for not including potatoes and fries as veggies!!

    • YAH is right–potatoes and french fries are NOT veggies -just sayin’ 😉

      Thanks for stopping by, Clare-have a good night!

  13. You’d want me to do a guest post on spinning? I’d love to feature your thoughts on zumba as a creative woman of the pond!

    • I would love to do one for ya! I will get one together in the near future and send it your way. When you’re done with the spinning post, just email it to me and I’ll use it on a day I don’t /can’t blog :)

      Thanks girl!

  14. Sarah says:

    I really like the Harvard Plate…so much better than my plate. Honestly ketchup is considered a vegetable on public school meals. Thanks for sharing the Harvard plate!

  15. There’s an episode of The Good Wife about this. Yes it’s fiction but it’s based on the valid fact that MyPlate is driven by the influence food industries have over USDA. Space on the plate is up for sale, basically.

  16. I also really like the Healthy Eating Plate by Harvard. I mean, come on people – french fries should NOT count as veggies!

  17. I love everything you wrote here!! It’s such a shame that the govs guidelines for “health” are severely restricted by the food industries and that they subsidize the stuff that’s not so good for us instead of the organic and humane farmers who are doing things right! Props to Harvard for making this bold statement! Their science is really sound too, they have some of the longest controlled experiments on nutrition going on to date! I didn’t know they finally came out with their plate they’ve been working on so thanks for sharing :))



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