Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What is Food Pyramid?

Use Sparingly: Fats, oils, and sweets
2 - 3 Servings: Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Group
2 - 3 Servings: Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts Group
2 - 4 Servings: Fruit Group
3 - 5 Servings: Vegetable Group
6 - 11 Servings: Bread, Cereal, Rice, Pasta

The Food Pyramid published by the USDA makes it easy to envision just how much of each food type you should eat. Each section of the pyramid represents a food group; the size of the group corresponds to the number of recommended servings.

1. The base of the pyramid represents the grain group. These are carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, cereal, rice, and pasta. You should eat six to 11 servings per day of these foods.

2. The next tier of the pyramid includes vegetables and fruit. You should eat three to five servings per day of vegetables and two to four servings per day of fruit. These are good sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

3. The next level is protein, like dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. You should eat two to three servings per day of foods from the milk group and two to three servings per day of foods from the meat, egg, bean, and nut group.

4. The top level of the pyramid is fats, oils, and sweets; these should be used sparingly.

The pyramid calls for eating a variety of foods to get all of the nutrients you need, and, at the same time, the right amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight. If you're watching your weight, eat the minimum number of recommended servings. If you need to gain weight, eat the maximum number of servings. And, keep in mind as to what constitutes a serving. Most serving sizes are smaller than you think. Be sure to read the food labels carefully to determine the accurate portion size.

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