It’s been one year since the Obama Administration unveiled its initiative to promote nutritious food choices using the MyPlate icon, an image of a colorful plate filled on the left side by fruits and vegetables and on the right by grains and protein. The U.S. Department of Agriculture launched MyPlate in June of 2011 after a 2010 report by the White House Childhood Obesity Task Force recommended that the agency develop a new symbol for healthy eating – one that would be clearer and simpler than the long-used Food Pyramid. The MyPlate icon was designed to illustrate what portion sizes should look like and put a heavy emphasis on fruit and vegetable consumption. Along with this graphic, USDA created the website, which offers advice on how consumers can align their diets with the 2010 federal dietary guidelines on which MyPlate was modeled. USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) estimates that around 90 percent of nutrition professionals now use MyPlate resources and messages when counseling clients. In the past year, MyPlate graphics and educational materials have been downloaded over 7 million times, and the website has received 34 million page views. More than 700,000 people are registered in MyPlate’s SuperTraker, an online tool that tracks diet and exercise to gauge overall physical health. “A year ago First Lady Michelle Obama and I joined together to launch MyPlate and to encourage people to think about their food choices in order to lead healthier lifestyles,” said Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Kathleen Merrigan in a statement Wednesday. “Today we celebrate the great strides we are making from our local schools to the dinner table as Americans embrace MyPLate and find practical ways to apply it to their daily lives.” CNPP will be celebrating MyPlate’s first anniversary throughout June with blog posts, Tweets, recommendations for healthy celebrations, recipes and a coloring page for kids. The MyPlate message for this birthday month is “Drink Water Instead of Sugary Drinks,” promoted by suggestions to dress water up with lemon, lime or orange rather than drinking soda.