The revised U.S. Department of Agriculture food guide may be daunting to some users, but a simple, hands-on, and unique tool developed by Colorado State University experts helps make the information understandable and accessible without Internet access or computer skills. The new bilingual MyPyramid/MiPirmide Food Wheel can be used by itself, or with other MyPyramid educational materials or nutrition classes.
The USDA’s MyPyramid replaced the outdated food triangle in 2005. The convenience of the new, interactive Web site has also proven to be a liability for those without Internet access.
The Colorado State innovation, based on USDA’s MyPyramid Web site, tailors recommendations on nutrition based on an individual’s age, gender, and physical activity. It consists of a wheel affixed to a card that spins to the suggested daily intake of calories; servings of grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and meats and beans, based upon gender, age and level of physical activity.
The new MyPyramid food wheel is the work of Jennifer Anderson, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Colorado State and Cooperative Extension specialist. Leslie Beckstrom, Colorado Nutrition Network coordinator, also collaborated on the project.
"We tried to give a low-tech component to nutrition program participants," Anderson said. "It helps people, whether they are English- or Spanish-language speakers, understand and utilize the recommendations of the MyPyramid program."
On the reverse side of the food wheel is information regarding the best ways to make recommended portions part of a regular diet — such as eating a variety of fruit, but going easy on fruit juices and going lean with proteins. All information contained on the card is printed in both English and Spanish.
The MyPyramid food wheels are available from Colorado State’s University Resource Center for $3 per card, or $2 per card when ordering more than 50. For more information and to view the card, visit www.cerc.colostate.edu and click on the MyPyramid/MiPirmide link, or call (877) 692-9358.