06/02/2011 11:41 am ET Updated Aug 02, 2011

Nutrition Pyramid Nixed, USDA Launches New Plate Graphic

So long, food pyramid.

Today, First Lady Michelle Obama helped introduce the government's new food icon. And it's a plate.

The new graphic is split into four sections: fruits, vegetables, grains and proteins, with a small side of dairy.

Federal officials hope it will serve as a simple "how-to" for making food choices by providing a clear breakdown of what our plates should look like.

"When a mom or dad comes home from a long day of work, we're already asked to be a chef, a referee, a cleaning crew," the first lady said in a press release. "So it's tough to be a nutritionist, too. But we do have time to look at our kids' plates."

The new food plate graphic replaces the Food Guide Pyramid, first launched in the early 1990s, then revamped in 2005. It reflects the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which promote measures like avoiding oversize portions, switching to fat-free or low-fat milk and opting for water over sugary drinks.

The first lady broke it down even further.

"As long as [our plates are] half full of fruits and vegetables, and paired with lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy, we're golden," she said. "That's how easy it is."