The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., introduced the new MyPlate icon to remind Americans how to eat a healthy diet. The dairy group is prominently positioned next to the plate as a reminder that low-fat and fat-free dairy products are an important part of a nutritious meal.

In the recent issue of USA Today, the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP), Washington, D.C., placed a new ad to emphasize milk's important place on the table and its role in overall wellness, as shown through MyPlate.

"Positioning dairy choices right next to the plate on America's table is a great way to remind us of the importance of what we eat and drink," says Vivien Godfrey, MilkPEP chief executive officer.

The plate offers a compelling platform for dairy organizations and brands to communicate around many themes, such as:

•    Dairy offers a unique nutrient package that's an important part of every meal;
•    Following MyPlate will help Americans close the gap between actual and recommended dairy consumption;
•    Dairy includes what's in the glass as well as other milk products, such as yogurt, cheese and milk-based desserts; and
•    Dairy foods provide a delicious and affordable source of protein.

MyPlate is part of a multi-year, government nutrition communication initiative that provides consumers with easy-to-understand recommendations and a new website, www.ChooseMyPlate.gov, along with other tools and resources.