Monday, July 18, 2011

Who's really learning here?

I sat down to do "science" with BigBoy today. This sounds much more official and structured than it really it. We do picture book science and history around here throughout elementary school but I like to use an old grade school science book as a backbone to our studies to make sure we are covering subjects that BigBoy wouldn't naturally choose to study. Right now, he has a fascination with sea creatures (I'm sooooo glad he's gotten over his most recent fascination with snakes) and when we go to the library, he fills up the basket with all kinds of shark and whale tales. But studying something like nutrition, wouldn't really enter his mind on it's own, so I nudge a little and it makes me feel better about letting him direct the rest of his studies.

So, when I picked up our spine and saw that today's subject was nutrition and the food pyramid I remembered reading something recently about the food pyramid changing. Turns out it wasn't just a weird dream I had. It's true. Whoa!!! You can't do that!!! Doesn't that just negate all of the science I learned as a child. Was my second grade year all a joke? 

Well, if you are just as shocked as I am, let me totally blow your mind and tell you that the food pyramid didn't just change... it doesn't even exist anymore. Now... it's a plate.

Seriously... go see for yourself. I'll wait.

It isn't surprising that this newly appointed recommendation has taken some heat. Apparently, the history of the USDA recommendations for nutrition has always been fraught with angst and division. Dairy farmers and ranchers fighting with the wheat and corn farmers. You can read all about that here.

Now, in all seriousness, I must admit this colorful little plate is growing on me. I find it much more visually appealing and easier to decipher. It looks like it would also be easier to actually implement, should one feel so inclined. I printed out the coloring page to go along with it and called it a day for BigBoy's "official" science class. He's off to go read about nurse sharks. According to him, they look ferocious but they're kind of lazy... just don't try to bother one! Wise words.



  1. But where are the sweets on the plate? I seem to recall them at the point of the pyramid! :)

  2. "No treats for you!!!" says the USDA, I guess.

  3. Wow, so dairy is its own food group now? I thought it went with proteins! Maybe the dairy farmers had a hand in this??

    I did think that fats and oils were supposed to be mentioned as important but not overdone. Or maybe I can drink a cup of butter as my dairy intake, ha ha! ;)

    I didn't even learn the food pyramid in school, but the four food groups, and this was in the 80s. Our science/health books must have been out-of-date!

  4. I think the plate is a great visual. The fact that half your plate should be fruits and veggies is the message a lot of us need.

  5. I agree that I like the visual better than the pyramid. I think it is easier to see how to plan a meal that way. I actually aim for a little less meat and a bit more greens. I also miss the inclusion of fats and oils. From what I've read many of the vitamins in vegetables are fat soluble and so we actually need butter on our peas, oil on our salad, etc. in order to get the most out of those veggies. And the same goes with milk. Skim or low fat milk doesn't do as good a job at helping children metabolize the the milk so it doesn't really make sense to tell children not to drink whole milk.

  6. my] first thought was, "but, but, but...where are the desserts?" Then I realized no mother serves dessert with the dinner plate - it has its own entire course. Silly] government forgetting to link to that plate - chocolate, vanilla, sugar and cream!]

    Really, our big gov. doesn't do "all things in moderation", so of course there can't be a spot for desserts...

  7. Oh so true, texasmama!!! Dessert should have it's own plate!

  8. Oh man! What am I going to do with the felt food pyramid and all it's little food felt pictures I've been saving for my 4 year old...LOL

  9. I love the plate! And it would make a great craft project for little ones- they could fill the sections of the plate with food cut out from magazines. Isn't it funny when the truths that we held dear and have taught our children (I have adults too) change!? Oh, well. I'll have to pass the link to them and tell them we need a redo on that lesson.

  10. Did you all know that before the pyramid there was a food wheel? And it included butter (and margarine too, but now we know how bad that is for us) as its own category? I'm going back to that one! Check it out here

  11. Okay, well clearly they are just ASSUMING that the vegetables are covered in butter. I mean, right? Right???? Tell me I'm right!

    And don't you love when the kids learn new things and have to run into the room to tell you about them? So fun!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts and yourself!