The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has launched a new food icon aimed at helping consumers make healthier food choices. By replacing the pyramid guide to healthy eating with a plate divided into fruit, vegetable, grains, protein, and dairy food groups, USDA reportedly hopes the MyPlate icon will “prompt consumers to think about building a healthy plate at meal times.”

New York University Professor Marion Nestle was among those who praised the icon as an easy-to-understand nutrition guide. “The new plate icon makes it clear that healthy eating means lots of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and for that alone it is a big step forward,” she said. “You don’t need a computer to use it. It lets you fill your plate with whatever foods you like without worrying about portion numbers. Best of all are the messages that come with it. Enjoy your food!” See USDA Press Release, June 2, 2011.