A Brazilian duo has reimagined the USDA Food Pyramid by transforming it into a fun and easy-to-use puzzle.
Brazilian design student Adriano Furtado and nutrition student Gabriela Bizari have taken on a big task in tackling the way that Brazilians think about food and health. For a country so rich in produce, Brazil faces a huge problem with obesity. According to Furtado and Bizari, the primary reason for this epidemic is the lack of knowledge about good nutrition habits. The country has been using a translated version of the USDA Food Pyramid as its nutritional standard since 1999, which is misleading in its hierarchy and lack of clarity about serving size. In their research, Furtado and Bizari found that even if they thought about nutrition, many people had difficulty understanding the pyramid, so they created an interactive solution called ‘Meu Dia Alimentar‘ (My Daily Food).
This solution is targeted specifically at children, who are often the least likely to think about their eating habits, and who are at a pivotal time in their lives in terms of solidifying those routines. As such, Meu Dia Alimentar is interactive and colorful, turning nutrition into a fun topic. The game comes with a board that consists of blank colored squares; each color represents a food group and each square is one portion. The puzzle pieces are also color-coordinated based on food group, and each represents a specific food (such as bread, beans, and milk). Throughout the day, users keep track of food intake by placing a puzzle piece on top of a square of a matching color. To achieve a well-balanced day, the board should be completely filled with color-appropriate tiles.
The team hopes to expand the food guideline game to other countries, although it may take some time as the puzzle will have to be translated, and adapted to incorporate each location’s typical foods. The current edition, for example, includes fruits such as mango, passion fruit and papaya, which are staples in Brazil but are not as common in many other countries. An app is also in the works, which would likely be more useful for adults who want to be more conscious of their nutrition.