Choose My Plate…The Paleo Version

Bye bye Food Pyramid…..and hello Choose My Plate.

In an effort to encourage healthy eating, Michelle Obama and the USDA have tossed out the dreaded Food Pyramid and replaced it with a simple, clean graphic of a dinner plate.

According to the First Lady, all parents have to do now is “take a look at our kids’ plates. As long as they’re half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we’re golden. That’s how easy it is.”

my plate usda food pyramid replacement michelle obama lets move obesity 1024x930 Choose My Plate...The Paleo Version

The symbol is part of a healthy eating initiative that will convey seven key messages from the government’s dietary guidelines, including:

  1. enjoy food but eat less;
  2. avoid oversized portions;
  3. make half your plate fruits and vegetables;
  4. drink water instead of sugary drinks;
  5. switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk;
  6. compare sodium in foods;
  7. and make at least half your grains whole grains.

And for the most part, even cranky old Health Habits gives it a qualified “thumbs up”.

It’s much easier to understand and is a huge improvement over the old pyramid.

Too bad that it still favors the interests of industry over the health (and waistlines) of the nation.

If only Michelle had returned my phone calls. Americans could have had a food pyramid / plate like this:

choose my paleo plate pale version of choose my plate usda obama Choose My Plate...The Paleo Version

BTW, please forgive my lack of graphic design skills. If I had USDA money, I could afford an actual copy of Photoshop.

Speaking of money, if you’re wondering what Paleo is, go ahead and download my free ebook – A Paleo Diet for the 21st Century


Doug Robb is a personal trainer, a fitness blogger and author, a competitive athlete, a social media nerd and a student of nutrition and exercise science. Since 2008, Doug has brought his real-world experience online via his health & fitness blog, Health Habits.


  1. Court

    December 3, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Paleo is a big fad.

  2. lance

    September 1, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    Not a paleo eater, but my plate is always 1/2 veggies. and a salad on the side. For anyone wanting to get lean,that’s a good start!

  3. Pingback: New Nutritional Infographics—Goodbye “Food Pyramid”

  4. Mentor Palokaj

    June 7, 2011 at 3:26 am


    I was wondering the same thing… For some reason people still think fat is a bad thing, while it is actually essential…

    • healthhabits

      June 7, 2011 at 4:54 am

      usda pyramid

      The USDA (and other countries version of the USDA) has been telling us for decades that fat is bad

      • pir8pt04

        February 27, 2012 at 12:44 pm

        Actually they havent, they have been telling us that bad fat is bad. Fish is incredibly fatty, but it is well known that most fish is very healthy to eat. Avocados are the same way, as are most nuts. Its about making quality choices, and Mentor Palokaj is very much correct, fat is essential for your life to continue and your organs to function correctly. Its about the right fats, and about not eating too much of them.

  5. Brooke/ Bitchin' Nutrition

    June 6, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    Good post! I like that we moved toward a plate icon; however, I still think many Amerians are going to mess this up! I demonstrated 10 ways this model could make you FAT in my blog post coming out tomorrow – Please try to identify them for a chance to win a $10 Starbucks gift card!

  6. klarow

    June 5, 2011 at 10:45 am

    Are there going to posters/items sent to teachers so that we have an updated version of this excellent visual for students?

  7. Stevie-Jean

    June 5, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Love the article and the Paleo Plate! I linked to this article on my new post on the pyramid bc I thought it was great!!!

    • healthhabits

      June 6, 2011 at 5:59 am

      Thanks SJ…nice site btw

  8. neoCruiser

    June 3, 2011 at 1:42 am

    the fats are in the protein portion. (lean = good fats, MUFAs, PUFAs and less saturated fat…)

    can we still call our selves Paleo dieters if we have brown rice twice a week?

    (Brown rice+ vermicelli+ oats+ quinoa)

    • healthhabits

      June 3, 2011 at 5:03 am

      I would call you a Paleo dieter who chose to have brown rice because he wanted to…even though he knew it wasn’t Paleo.

      We don’t have to be perfect.

      And we sure as heck don’t need some Paleo-cultist trying to take away our membership cards for having the occasional non-Paleo meal

  9. ImaKalya

    June 2, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Yours is much better, but where is the fat?

    • healthhabits

      June 7, 2011 at 4:59 am

      I would have added a wedge of fat on that plate but my photoshop/GIMP skills are too weak.

      The omission was technical…not nutritional

      • egezio

        January 22, 2012 at 5:28 pm

        I agree with you that half your plate should consist of vegetables. I’m very interested in your final version of the healthy plate. I would like to change the “Choose my Plate” to your version. Could you send me a sketch (paper e.g.)?

  10. Mary-Jo

    June 2, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    That’ll work for all you Paleos! I actually like this food icon– it’s so generic,yet visually simple and can be individualized, according to a person’s needs. really, I like it! I would never rely on any type of ‘icon’ to ‘say it all’ anyway and it’s super hard to create something that can stand alone and say it all.

  11. mac

    June 2, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Doug…that’s an awesome job. I’m stealing it :)

  12. Darin Starr

    June 2, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    I agree, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the new plate graphic. Simpler, less cluttered, and more appropriately portioned that previous attempts. Like you I would still make some tweaks, but I think this is a big step in the right direction.