Food Guide Pyramid
The Food Guide Pyramid is an outline of what to eat each day based on the Dietary Guidelines. It’s not a rigid prescription but a general guide that lets you choose a healthful diet that’s right for you.
The Pyramid calls for eating a variety of foods to get the nutrients you need and at the same time the right amount of calories to maintain healthy weight.
- Use the Pyramid to help you eat better every day, the Dietary Guidelines way: Start with plenty of breads, cereals, rice, pasta, vegetables and fruits.
- Add 2-3 servings from the milk group
- Add2-3 servings from the meat group
Remember to go easy on fats, oils and sweets, the foods in the small tip of the Pyramid
What Counts as one serving? The amount of food that counts as one serving is listed below. If you eat a larger portion, count it as more than 1 serving. For example, a dinner portion of spaghetti would count as 2 or 3 servings of pasta.
Be sure to eat at least the lowest number of servings from the five major food groups listed below. You need them for the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and protein they provide. Just try to pick the lowest fat choices from the food groups. No specific serving size is given for the fats, oils and sweets group because the message is USE SPARINGLY.
- Go easy on fats and sugars added to foods in cooking or at the table–butter, margarine, gravy, salad dressing, sugar, and jelly.
- Choose fewer foods that are high in sugars–candy, sweet desserts, and soft drinks.
- The most effective way to moderate the amount of fat and added sugars in your diet is to cut down on “extras” (foods in this group). Also choose lower fat and lower sugar foods from the other five food groups often.
- Choose skim milk and nonfat yogurt often. They are lowest in fat.
- 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of cheese and 8 ounces of yogurt count as a serving from this group because they supply the same amount of calcium as 1 cup of milk.
- Choose “part skim” or lowfat cheeses when available and lower fat milk desserts, like ice milk or frozen yogurt. Read labels.
- Choose lean meat, poultry without skin, fish, and dry beans and peas often. they are the choices lowest in fat.
- Prepare meats in low-fat ways:
- Trim away all the fat you can see.
- Remove skin from poultry.
- Broil, roast, or boil these foods instead of frying them.
- Nuts and seeds are high in fat, so eat them in moderation.
- Different types of vegetables provide different nutrients. Eat a variety.
- Include dark-green leafy vegetables and legumes several times a week–they are especially good sources of vitamins and minerals. Legumes also provide protein and can be used in place of meat.
- Go easy on the fat you add to vegetables at the table or during cooking. Added spreads or toppings, such as butter, mayonnaise, and salad dressing, count as fat.
- Choose fresh fruits, fruit juices, and frozen, canned, or dried fruit. Go easy on fruits canned or frozen in heavy syrups and sweetened fruit juices.
- Eat whole fruits often–they are higher in fiber than fruit juices.
- Count only 100 percent fruit juice as fruit. Punches and most fruit “drinks” contain only a little juice and lots of added sugars.
- To get the fiber you need, choose several servings a day of foods made from whole grains.
- Choose most often foods that are made with little fat or sugars, like bread, english muffins, rice, and pasta.
- Go easy on the fat and sugars you add as spreads, seasonings, or toppings.
- When preparing pasta, stuffing, and sauce from packaged mixes, use only half the butter or margarine suggested; if milk or cream is called for, use lowfat milk.