MyPlate

MyPlate represents the US Department of Agriculture’s latest food guidance system. It was introduced in 2010 and replaces the older MyPyramid. MyPlate recommendations are based on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and are appropriate for the general public, two years and over. Extensive, interactive materials for MyPlate are available online at www.choosemyplate.gov.

The MyPlate system is divided into five main food groups. According to the Dietary Guidelines, persons who eat the recommended number of servings from each food group each day can get the nutrients that they need to maintain health and prevent disease. Daily food plans are available on the MyPlate web site, and are also available in the Food Processor software.

MyPlate Food Groups

MyPlate food group values are assigned to most foods in the ESHA database. The values for mixed foods are electronically calculated using an in-house set of formulas based on average equivalent amounts for each group. Values for plain foods are calculated by hand, based on the equivalent amounts for individual foods.

Food Group

Equivalent Amounts

Definition

Fruit1 cup All fresh, canned, frozen, dried fruit
Vegetables1 cupAll starchy and non-starchy vegetables
Grain1 ounceAll savory breads (not desserts)
Dairy1 cup

Dairy milk, yogurt, cheese

non-dairy calcium fortified foods, such as soy milk

Protein1 ounce

Meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, dry beans and peas, soy, nuts, seeds

How the Calculations Work

MyPlate food group values are assigned to database foods based on the food type (fruit, grain, protein, etc) and the weight of the equivalent amount. For example, consider a large fresh apple:

1 large fresh apple = 242 grams
1 cup fresh apple = 110 grams

The apple fits into the MyPlate Fruit group. According to the table above, one equivalent amount of the Fruit group is 1 cup. So, we divide the weight of the large fresh apple by the weight of one equivalent amount of fruit to figure out how many MyPlate Fruit equivalents are in the large apple.

1 large fresh apple = 242 / 110 = 2.2 MyPlate Fruit equivalents

For mixed foods, one carbohydrate source is chosen to represent the carbohydrate in the food (fruit, vegetables, grain, or dairy).