Published: Jul 21, 2011 4:31 PM EDT
Updated: Jul 21, 2011 3:31 PM EDT

Recently, the USDA replaced the standard food pyramid with MyPlate, a more visual approach to helping people understand how to eat healthy. 

 Here to  break down the new federal recommendations and show you how to use them in their efforts to develop healthier habits is Kim Barber with Weight Watchers. 

Divide and conquer:  The USDA recommends that half your plate should now be filled with fruits and vegetables, ¼ protein and ¼ whole grains.  In addition, a non- or low-fat dairy should accompany the mmeal.
Target more nutrient-dense foods:  If a food is low in calories, but high in nutrients, it’s nutrient dense.  These foods have foods higher eating satisfaction, lower sugar, lower sodium, healthier fat and more fiber than similar foods.  Examples include fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains and non-fat dairy. 
Try to limit empty calories: Beverages are often a hidden culprit in our over-consumption of sugar.  Making simple changes and substitutions to your beverage intake can greatly impact your sugar levels and keep you in line with the new MyPlate recommendations.
Behavioral Changes: For the first time, the government emphasizes that environment and behavior modifications are key to making healthy lifestyle changes.  Simple tactics such as 30 minutes of daily activity, maintaining a food journal and being in a supportive environment can help everyone reach that goal.