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The Food Pyramid
The food pyramid was designed to help people understand what it takes to stay healthy and provides a guide to establishing a healthy eating habit. The food pyramid can help to analyze what kind of foods we are eating as well as the changes we need to make in order to maintain a healthy diet.
The bread and grains food group is the base of the food pyramid. In this category you will find many different types of food and according to the food pyramid, six to eleven servings of breads and grains is needed every day. Examples of a single serving would be about a half cup of rice, cereal or pasta or a single slice of bread. There is also the type of grain that you have to consider. The food pyramid suggests that at least half of the bread and grains you consume should be whole grain. Nowadays most foods have their whole grain counterparts such as bread, rice, pasta and oatmeal.
On top of the bread and grain food group, the food pyramid will split with various versions. Some food pyramids will contain fruit and vegetables as a single food group while other versions split them into two different food groups. Two or three servings of vegetables in your diet is recommended by the food pyramid. Try to include a variety of different vegetables over the course of the week. The typical food pyramid will group vegetables into five categories:
Dark green: ie. broccoli and spinach
Orange: ie. pumpkin and sweet potatoes
Dry beans and peas: ie. navy beans, kidney beans, lentils, tofu
Starchy vegetables: ie. corn, potatoes, green peas
Other vegetables: ie. cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, tomatoes
When it comes to the fruits food group, one or two servings are recommended according to the food pyramid. A cup of fruit juice or a half cup of dried fruit would be equivalent to a single serving. Once again, try to get a variety of fruits into your diet.
The next food group on the food pyramid would be the milk and dairy group. This food group consists of milk, yogurt, cheese and other variations of these types of products. The food pyramid suggests at least three servings of this food group on a daily basis. A cup of milk or yogurt or two ounces of processed cheese would serve as a typical serving.
The meat and beans food group is next. Found in this food group would be foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and dried beans. According to the food pyramid, five to six ounces of meat and beans is required. The key to maintaining a healthy diet would be to choose the low-fat cuts of meat and poultry.
The final food group of the food pyramid is the oils and fats group. The food pyramid recommends only five to seven teaspoons of fats or oils per day. Thats not much at all considering a tablespoon of mayonnaise contains two and a half teaspoons and an ounce of nuts contains three teaspoons.
Though the number of servings allotted in each of the food groups will vary depending on your age, daily activities and other distinctive needs, the food pyramid is a great way to help you develop and maintain healthy eating habits. The food pyramid can be used as a guideline to arrange meals that are balanced and nutritious.
Don't miss John Dee's article on A Healthy Budget
About the Author: John Dee also writes articles in other subjects such as The Outdoors, Dieting and Web Design