Food challenge: Is MyPlate possible and affordable?
June 14th, 2011
11:48 AM ET

Food challenge: Is MyPlate possible and affordable?

While writing about the USDA’s new food icon, MyPlate, I wondered if anyone can eat like this consistently.

In its color-by-numbers simplicity, MyPlate is a constant reminder of how far my diet falls from the ideal.  Vegetables on my plate are like Sumatran tigers in the wild - they're verging on extinction.

“Comparing the ideal proportions of MyPlate to those of the typical American diet is like holding MyPlate up to a fun-house mirror,” Health.com wrote.

“Even if Americans hear the message that they need to eat more fruits and vegetables, for instance, MyPlate’s 50% standard may be difficult for many people to live up to."

And here's what iReporters said their ideal versions of MyPlate would look like.  The Pop Tarts and cheese puffs on photo 4 is my favorite.

Having written about a few food challenges, involving Twinkies, school lunches and unprocessed foods, I wanted to put MyPlate to a test.

Could I eat what MyPlate suggests for a week?  And can I afford it on an average American budget?

Here are the rules:

1. Eat as closely to the MyPlate icon as possible.

For the next seven days, I will eat and Tweet my meals.  The food groups will be compartmentalized in my trusty bento box.

If I can’t fill my plate with enough of one food group, I will try to make up for it in other meals during the rest of the day.

This challenge is not about weight loss. This is about eating within the MyPlate icon.

2. Spend only $61.27 the entire week.

A common complaint is that healthy foods like fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains cost too much.  This challenge would be far easier if I could walk into Whole Foods and buy prepared meals and vegetables.  But that's not possible for most Americans.

The average American household spends about $6,372 every year on food, both groceries and restaurants.

The unit per household, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics  in 2009, was 2.5 persons.  I’ve divided the yearly expenditure on food and divided by 2 persons and 52 weeks.

Addictive infographic on how Americans spend on food, sorted by cities

The challenge is to eat healthy within the budget constraints of the average American household.  So groceries will come from mainstream stores.

3. Integrate the challenge into dining out.

Another frequent complaint is that it’s hard to make healthy choices when dining at restaurants.

I plan to eat out and order foods that meet the nutritional guidelines. This is tough when restaurants in the South list macaroni and cheese as a vegetable on their menus and your greens are always bathed in fat.

I’ll be tweeting from @MadisonCNN.  Send your suggestions or questions.

If you're curious,  give it a try.  Happy eating!

soundoff (854 Responses)
  1. Internet Marketing Job San Clemente


    May 16, 2021 at 02:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Content Marketing Idea

    When I originally left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I get four emails with the same comment. There has to be a means you can remove me from that service? Thanks!


    May 16, 2021 at 04:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Social Media Marketing Event


    May 16, 2021 at 06:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Aika Wiki

    I absolutely love your blog.. Excellent colors & theme. Did you build this website yourself? Please reply back as I’m planning to create my very own site and want to know where you got this from or what the theme is called. Appreciate it!


    May 16, 2021 at 10:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. aika online private server


    May 16, 2021 at 10:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. aika online private servers


    May 16, 2021 at 10:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. best rv repair near me


    May 16, 2021 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. storno brzinol

    I am not sure where you're getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning more or understanding more. Thanks for fantastic information I was looking for this information for my mission.


    May 16, 2021 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Aika Game


    May 16, 2021 at 12:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Sprinter Van Repair Shop Near Me

    Great post! We are linking to this particularly great content on our site. Keep up the great writing.


    May 16, 2021 at 18:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Alternator Mercedes Sprinter 2016 Repair

    This website definitely has all of the information I needed concerning this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 16, 2021 at 21:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. 2021 Maserati

    Everyone loves it when individuals come together and share ideas. Great blog, continue the good work!


    May 17, 2021 at 00:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Repair Fuel Pump Mercedes Sprinter Dodge 3500 2010

    A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do think that you should write more about this issue, it might not be a taboo subject but typically people do not talk about such issues. To the next! Best wishes!!


    May 17, 2021 at 01:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Maserati Horsepower


    May 17, 2021 at 01:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. free v bucks generator

    Hi there colleagues, fastidious paragraph and fastidious arguments
    commented here, I am genuinely enjoying by these.

    May 17, 2021 at 03:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. 2011 Mercedes Sprinter Rv Repair

    You ought to take part in a contest for one of the best blogs online. I'm going to recommend this web site!


    May 17, 2021 at 07:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. How Much Does A Maserati Car Cost


    May 17, 2021 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. 2018 Maserati Levante


    May 17, 2021 at 14:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. RV Maintenance California

    You've made some really good points there. I looked on the internet to learn more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    May 17, 2021 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. how to open a hair salon business in uk


    May 18, 2021 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. energy pills for woman


    May 18, 2021 at 21:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Metal Roofing Installers Near Me


    May 18, 2021 at 22:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Eye Glasses Store Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Maserati Cost

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thank you so much, However I am having troubles with your RSS. I don’t understand the reason why I can't join it. Is there anybody having identical RSS problems? Anyone that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 19, 2021 at 04:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Maserati Suv Price 2016

    I truly love your website.. Pleasant colors & theme. Did you build this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m looking to create my very own website and want to find out where you got this from or what the theme is named. Many thanks!


    May 19, 2021 at 06:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Social Media Marketing Brea


    May 19, 2021 at 09:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Fabrication Shop Near Me

    Pretty! This has been an incredibly wonderful post. Many thanks for supplying these details.


    May 19, 2021 at 11:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Jet Ski Rental In Lake Havasu


    May 19, 2021 at 11:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. RV Couches Riverside


    May 19, 2021 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. wrap shop near me

    I blog often and I genuinely thank you for your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I will book mark your blog and keep checking for new details about once a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed as well.


    May 19, 2021 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. prostar collision


    May 19, 2021 at 17:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. RV Upgrades Near Me


    May 19, 2021 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. rv for sale orange county


    May 19, 2021 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. toy hauler upgrades

    Very good post! We are linking to this great article on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 19, 2021 at 23:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Digital Marketing Specialists


    May 20, 2021 at 03:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Internet Marketing Company


    May 20, 2021 at 03:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Internet Marketing Consultant

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Many thanks, However I am having problems with your RSS. I don’t understand why I am unable to join it. Is there anybody getting the same RSS issues? Anyone that knows the solution can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 20, 2021 at 04:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Google Marketing Consultant

    Spot on with this write-up, I seriously think this amazing site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be returning to see more, thanks for the information!


    May 20, 2021 at 05:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Internet Marketing Services


    May 20, 2021 at 11:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. remodeling near me

    Hi, I do believe this is a great web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I may return yet again since i have book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help other people.


    May 20, 2021 at 15:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Van Door Repair

    You are so interesting! I don't believe I have read anything like this before. So nice to discover another person with some original thoughts on this issue. Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is one thing that is required on the web, someone with some originality!


    May 20, 2021 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. travel trailers orange county

    I used to be able to find good info from your content.


    May 20, 2021 at 16:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. rv repair service near me

    I could not resist commenting. Very well written!


    May 20, 2021 at 23:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. bucket truck services


    May 21, 2021 at 03:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Dodge Sprinter Service


    May 21, 2021 at 05:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Maintenance Riverside


    May 21, 2021 at 08:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. rv renovation near me


    May 21, 2021 at 09:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. SEO Marketing Services


    May 21, 2021 at 15:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. car upholstery repair orange county


    May 21, 2021 at 16:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. best live sex

    Thank you for every other informative site. Where else could I am getting that type
    of information written in such an ideal means? I've a undertaking that I'm simply now working on, and I have been on the glance out for such info.

    May 21, 2021 at 16:48 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.