Stories about: Better eating for families

Children’s hosts expert panel to discuss USDA dietary recommendations

This was my breakfast last Friday.

As a black coffee and dry toast kind of guy, I have to admit I was skeptical when I first laid eyes on the plate. Roasted red peppers, kale sautéed in garlic and olive oil, black beans, cheese and smoked salmon isn’t exactly my traditional 8 AM fare.

But after a few bites I was sold; at some point it seems my tastes had changed without me knowing, which I was about to learn was a very good thing.

“When it comes to food, it’s OK to break the rules,” said award winning chef and famed restaurateur Jody Adams, as she addressed a packed house of nutritionists, medical professionals and community leaders who gathered at Children’s Hospital Boston to discuss the USDA’s current dietary guidelines and new MyPlate icon.

“In fact, if we are going to be successful in our mission to reduce and prevent childhood obesity in this country, more than a few rules are going to have to be broken. We need to change the way we think about a lot of foods,” she said.

Adams, along with Sam Kass, assistant White House chef and senior policy advisory for Healthy Food Initiatives at the White House,  spoke Friday morning at Step Up to the Plate, a panel discussion hosted by the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center Boston Children’s Hospital. In addition to Kass and Adams, the panel included Boston Public Health Commission Director Barbara Ferrer PhD, MPH, MEd , Cara Ebbeling, PhD, Associate Director of Research and Training at the Center and Eric Rimm, ScD, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard; each bringing a unique vision about how the USDA’s dietary guidelines can be utilized to help American kids eat and live better.

As a recognized leader in the fight against childhood obesity, Center director David Ludwig, MD, PhD, was the esteemed host of the event, but the real star of the show was MyPlate, the color-coded icon that recently replaced the Food Pyramid as the government’s visual representation of a balanced diet.

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