DIY My Plate Project

I guess I’ve been living under a rock – because apparently the food pyramid I learned so much about in Skills for Living at Derby Middle School in Birmingham, Michigan is gone! And, even worse, it’s been gone for a year – because the USDA My Plate is celebrating its first birthday? Oh, man. Well, it’s time to get up-to-date.

My household is working on eating healthier foods this summer, so My Plate is a good reminder for us to eat lots of fruits and veggies, always have a good protein with our meals, and include a bit of whole grains. But sometimes, when dinner is ready and smelling delicious, it’s hard to remember to keep your portion sizes small and put that variety on your plate. We’ve decided to make a set of our own My Plate reminders – and you can, too!


  • Clear glass dinner or salad plate
  • Assorted Sharpie oil markers Painter’s tape
  • Mod Podge
  • Foam paintbrush
  • Newspaper or scrap paper (for your workspace)


1. Start out by making sure your plate is free of any stickers or price tags and is clean. Place your plate on your workspace and mark or trace the shape of your plate onto the paper. Eyeball the center of the plate and mark on all four sides. (This will help create your lines for painting.)
2. With your painter’s tape, mark two lines down the center of the plate so that you create a 1/4-inch line in the center on the back. This is where you will paint. Why are we painting on the back? Paint pens and sealants like Mod Podge aren’t food safe, despite being non-toxic. Using the back protects our food (and tummies).
3. It’s time to paint! Fill in the center line with your paint pen. Let this area dry completely.

4. Repeat these steps to create the other dividing line.

5. Once you’ve created your four sections and the paint has dried, it’s time to paint your letters. We’re going to write the following letters: F, V, P and G. What do they stand for? Fruits, veggies, protein, and grains! Remember to write your letter backwards, since you’re writing on the bottom of the plate.

TIP: Want to take this idea one step further? Try drawing pictures of the food or even cut out photos from food magazines and decoupage to the bottom of the plate.

6. Again, let the paint dry completely.
7. Add a thin layer of Mod Podge to the back of the plate and let dry.
8. You’re done! Load that plate up with your favorites and sit down to a healthy meal. It’s best to keep this dish out of the dishwasher, so wash it by hand and then let it air dry.

How’s dinner looking on your new plate? Email a photo of it to me, I’ll feature it in a future Make It blog.


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