What are the USDA dinner plate guidelines?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has replaced the food pyramid with a new symbol that dictates the recommended servings for each food group -- the dinner plate. As its name would indicate, this is a dish-shaped icon, divided into 4 sections, and labeled with the essential food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins. Although the dairy group is positioned to the side of the dinner plate, it's still included within the parameters of a well-balanced diet.

The dinner plate proposes: 3 cups of dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt), 2-3 cups of vegetables, 1.5-2 cups of fruit, 5-6.5 ounces of protein (fish, poultry, eggs, etc.), 5-8 ounces of grains (rice, cereal, pasta), and 5-7 teaspoons of sweets, fats and oils per day. Using these daily recommendations, you can start putting together more balanced meals.

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Marisa Moore
Nutrition & Dietetics
MyPlate replaced the Food Guide Pyramid in 2011 as the new food guidance tool from the US government. It’s a simple and easy guide that helps you visualize what you should eat and how much. The plate (as shown below) encourages Americans to fill half the plate with fruits and vegetables, and split the other side with whole grains and lean protein. It also recommends 3 servings of low fat dairy a day. The final plate can look very different from house to house and meal to meal. 

Dinner may look like this:
  • ½ cup kale salad
  • 3-4 ounces of grilled fish
  • ½ c whole grain pasta or brown rice
  • Unsweetened tea
  • 1 cup berries for dessert
Create your own meals and get all of the details on MyPlate at 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.