Much like the great pyramids of Egypt, the USDA Food Pyramid has been around forever. And much like those grandiose Egyptian structures, people have stared, slackjawed, marveling at this formidable construction and wondering, "How is that even possible?" Do I really need to take down 11 slices of bread in one day? Isn't using the words "sweets" and "sparingly" in the same sentence sacrilegious?
To make healthy eating a bit more palatable, the government just released a more modern symbol: MyPlate. It is, obviously, a dinner plate, divided into four sections: Fruits and vegetables occupy half the space. Grains and proteins take up the other half and a blue circle on the side represents a serving of low-fat dairy.
Bravo to our nutritional leaders for trying to simplify the healthy eating process. But honestly, who uses plates anymore? We women are busy, to say the least -- I've had to combine my Tweeting with my bathroom trips and my friend, Julie, recently ran a 5K while pushing her two daughters and texting. If the government really wanted to make things easier, they would have unveiled a symbol of a women bathed in the glow of an open refrigerator door, gobbling cold Chinese takeout with one hand while emailing with the other.
With that, I present to you, the guiding nutritional principles of MyLateNightFridge:
60 percent of gobbling: Bottom drawer. That's where I store my nail polis ... I mean fruits and veggies, which everyone agrees are the cornerstone of a well-rounded eating plan. Up until last week, we also had a case of Red Stripe hanging out there, remainders of a poker game my husband hosted in January. Beer drinkers, he and I are not. So I tossed them -- but not before draining each and every bottle in the sink (we have plenty of homeless people wandering our back alley and do not need them to be trashed and singing Bobby McFerrin tunes.) Our kitchen smelled like a frat house for days.
20 percent of gobbling: Middle shelf. Frequent residents include organic Costco spinach, washed and cut-up fruit and veggies, hardboiled eggs and Greek yogurt. Binge with abandon.
10 percent of gobbling: Fridge door. No, I'm not regularly chugging BBQ sauce, ketchup and pickle juice. But this is where I keep my organic skim milk and Lifeway Birthday Cake Kefir, and women need strong, calcium-fortified bones to prevent Dowager's Humps acquired from wolfing down food in another part of the kitchen: Hunched over the sink.
5 percent of gobbling: Top shelf. AKA Danger Zone. In my house, this is where leftovers typically reside -- everything from pad thai to birthday cake. Best to limit gullet-stuffing from this region if jeans are to zip up the following day.
5 percent of gobbling: Freezer. Permanent guests include tasty high-sodium frozen meals, Ben & Jerry's Phish Food (fro yo, but still) and my mom's brownies, frozen to prevent bingeing. Also: Grey Goose. As the experts themselves say, everything in moderation.
Still a diehard pyramid fan? Check out these fun options:
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