A Guide to the Food Pyramid

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Most of us read about food pyramid when we were kids. However, when we grew up and were in charge of our choices, many of us struggle or forget to incorporate the food pyramid to our diet plan. In case you are thinking you do not plan your diet, I must say, that you still do. It is just not specific and detailed enough for your benefit. Let’s make it easier and more practical for you.

How to Use Food Pyramid

The current food pyramids published and available worldwide have become more informative and easy to use. Even though we are from across the pond, a little bit of American wisdom would only do good to our system.

So, the US Department of Agriculture’s new food pyramid is optimized to serve practical purposes for people of 21st century. The food pyramid shows different types of food groups and it is rather easy to translate the nutritional recommendations to your practical diet.

The food pyramid guideline shows how you can assign different foods you eat properly to your meal for “eating healthy”. There are seven such nutrition groups and portions to take from each group are highlighted as well.

1. Grain Group: 6 ounces of serving per day. The best practice is eating 3 ounces of whole grain at least.

2. Vegetable Group: 2.5 cups per day. Choosing different types of vegetable are better. Especially veggies of different colors would be better. The veggies can be eaten in 5 servings throughout the day.

3. Fruit Group: 2 cups of fruits to be consumed each day. Like vegetables, eating fruits of different colors would be great. The fruits can be eaten in four servings per day.

4. Milk Group: 3 cups of milk and/or milk-based food products like yogurt and cheese are recommended. The best practice is to choose fat-free or low-fat milk products.

5. Meats and Beans Group: 5 ounces per day. This group includes lean meats, chicken, fish, nuts, dried beans, and eggs. It is wise to choose lighter and fat-free options like fish (which is high in omega 3 fats), lean meat, nuts, and beans. You can take two to three servings from this group per day.

6. Oils: Six teaspoons. It is recommended to use unsaturated oils, whether it is monounsaturated or poly-saturated.

7. Discretionary Calories: It is acceptable to consume a few discretionary calories. The limit should stay within 100 to 300 calories.

When you have such simplified directions, it becomes easier to eat healthily. There is another convenient practice to translate the recommendations from the food pyramid to plate is mentally highlighting your plate in four quarters. One-half should contain veggies, one-quarter for meat and beans and the last quarter for grains. You can have fruits as a side dish or even as a dessert. You will be using oil (and probably milk too sometimes) to cook the meals. Therefore, you are more or less sorted right there.

Eating healthy does not have to be boring or tasteless. You can always make the meals interesting by adding some variations in items of each group occasionally. Here are a balanced meal and healthy life.                            


Tags: Food Pyramid Grain Group Vegetable Group Discretionary Calories
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