August 2014

Food Guide Pyramid

Food Guide Pyramid

 

Welcome to the Food Pyramid Guide

Eating right is important. But just how can we know what we should and should not eat? Over the years there have been many systems and many self-styled experts who have created systems based on what they thought was good or bad for us. Finally there is now and easy to use system created for us that can help us to pick and chose the types of food we eat safely and sanely.

This system is called the Food Guide Pyramid and it is backed by the U.S. Government and the Department of Agriculture to guarantee that we can get a healthy, balanced, and tasty selection of foods. It has ben said that the meat and dairy industries were not happy about this dietary program. The Food Pyramid Guide suggests that we limit meat and dairy and eat a more varied and balanced diet.

Here is how it works. At each level you are recommended to make a specific number of selections form each of the groups on that level. The lower levels not only have more groups to chose from but more portions and larger sizes of these portions.

Important is that at the top portion sizes are limited and these are the more dangerous foods if eaten in excess.

 

The Food Guide Pyramid

 

 

pyramid

 

 

Let's start at the top of the pyramid and look at what we should eat.

Fats, Oils, and Sweets:

To Be Used Sparingly

These foods provide lots of calories, but have little in the way of nutritional value. They increase the risk of heart disease and stroke and obesity, high blood pressure, breast cancer and a myriad of other medical conditions. There are, however, exceptions for example: vegetable oils especially, olive oil, canola oil, safflower oil all of which is are sources of healthy non saturated fats that can actually be healthy. They are good sources of vitamin E. In general 1 tablespoon per day is sufficient for most bodily needs beyond that you are just eating calories. Molasses, an excellent source of iron.

 

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts:

limit to 2-3 servings per day.

Animal foods are excellent sources of protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins, as are beans, nuts, and seeds. Unfortunately they are also generally higher in fat. You might consider using Tofu (made from soybeans) as well white beans which are excellent sources of protein as an alternative. That way you can keep you fat intake down and still get adequate protein.

Some seeds, like almonds, are good sources of vitamin E but once again too much adds to your daily intake of fat.

A serving = 2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish; 1 egg; 1/2 cup cooked beans; 2 tablespoons seeds and nuts.

 

Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese:

Limit to no more than 2-4 servings per day.

Milk products are the richest sources of calcium. They also provide protein and vitamin B12. Choose varieties to keep calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat at a minimum.

1 serving = 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1-1/2 ounces of cheese.

Fruits:

2-3 servings or more each day.

Fruits are excellent sources of vitamins, most notably vitamin C, and minerals. They are low in fat and calories and generally very healthy for you. You can use fresh fruits and fruit juices, and frozen, canned, or dried fruits interchangeably. However, we suggest that you avoid fruit processed with heavy syrups and sugar-sweetened juices.

1 serving = 1 medium apple, banana, or orange; 1 melon wedge; 1/2 cup of chopped fruit or berries; 3/4 cup fruit juice.

 

Vegetables:

3-5 servings or more each day

Vegetables provide vitamins (especially A and C), are excellent sources of fiber, and are naturally low in fat. For maximum nutrients, select dark leafy greens, deep-yellow or orange vegetables, and starchy vegetables like potatoes and yams.

1 serving = 1 cup raw leafy greens; 1/2 cup other vegetables chopped; 3/4 cup vegetable juice.

 

Whole Grain Breads, Cereal, Rice, and Pastas: 6-11 servings daily is recommended.

Breads and grains provide complex carbohydrates, this is a very important source of energy for the day. We definitely recommend that you use whole grain foods and avoid processes foods or foods made with refined flours. They have had the best part of their nutrition removed no matter what it says on the label or what is added back. Whole grains, cereals and rice provide substantial amounts of the B vitamins, minerals (especially Magnesium which is essential for sugar metabolism and preventing heart disease), and fiber.

Whole grain foods are not fattening if you don't add butter, cheese, or cream sauces. Remember to select whole-grain products to maximize fiber and other nutrients.

1 serving = 1 slice of bread; 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal; 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice or pasta.