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Whose Plate is it Anyway?
What was your most recent meal? Mine was a turkey reuben sandwich on rye and a glass of water. Now think about your meal and consider it against the “healthy eating plate” created by nutrition experts at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH). I didn’t do so well with my lunch, but after having seen this diagram, I’m going to shoot for a healthier, more balanced plate—which is exactly what the HSPH is hoping for by releasing this diagram.
Presented as a counterpoint to the USDA’s similar chart, “My Plate,” the HSPH claims that its healthy eating plate is a better blueprint for eating a balanced diet, free of “the influence of powerful agricultural interests, which is not the recipe for healthy eating,” says Walter Willet, professor of epidemiology and nutrition and chair of the department of nutrition at HSPH. While the USDA plate includes starchy vegetables such as potatoes, doesn’t differentiate between whole grains and plain grains, and encourages drinking dairy at every meal, the HSPH plate specifies eating whole grains, includes healthy oils as a meal staple, and encourages drinking water at every meal. The HSPH also explains the importance of avoiding starchy vegetables, sugary juices, and red meat in their additional content.
Just as it is important to ask people to reconsider what they eat, we should also be asking people to think about how they get the food they eat. Is healthy, nutritional food available to members of all socio-economic backgrounds in our nation? No. Should healthy eating only be available to the wealthy members of our society? No. But we continue to see reports of increased food insecurity in our nation and abroad, and cheap food generally means fatty, unhealthy food for the majority of America’s poor.
It’s important to stay educated on health and nutrition for ourselves and our families, but also to stay educated on the state of domestic and global food security, and to fight to make everyone’s plate a healthy one.
Image: The Harvard School of Public Health released this diagram of a "healthy eating plate" to guide people in nutritional eating.
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