The food pyramid is a healthy eating info graphic which was designed by USDA to use as a guide for daily eating. It was developed to put all the nutrition-related information in this place and on your plate!
The pyramid shows how much one should imply to eat overall from each shelf to achieve a healthy and a well balanced diet. It also helps in giving the body, a proper distribution to nutrients-protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals which is required to keep us growing and staying healthy. Referring to the food pyramid it also helps in making the body strong and can help in preventing of cancer, osteoporosis and heart diseases.
The shape of the food pyramid shows the type of foods and drinks people need to eat most for a healthy eating.
A typical food pyramid contains six shelves:
- Last shelf: Vegetables, Salad, and fruit (5-7 servings): In season, opt for the fresh and local vegetables and fruits which are economical and good in value. Inculcating various colours of vegetables and fruits- yellow, green, red, orange, purple and red in your diet provides benefit from the variety of vitamins and minerals. Making sure to opt for a whole fruit rather than fruit juice which increase the intake of fiber and help you stay away from unnecessary calories.
- Fifth Shelf: Whole meal cereals, and bread, potatoes, pasta and rice (3-5 servings): Whole grain choices contain fiber to help the digestive system and can protect against bowel diseases. Opt for whole meal bread, rice, legumes and cereals provide the best energy for the body to function. Choice of a variety of foods from this group is more beneficial.
- Fourth shelf: Milk, yogurt, and cheese (3 servings): These are the best sources of mineral – calcium. They are also rich in other nutrients such as protein, Vitamin A and phosphorus. All the nutrients provided by this group works together in order to keep the bones strong and healthy. It is recommended to choose low-fat or skim milk products like low-fat yogurt or low-fat cheese to keep the fat in the diets down.
- Third shelf: Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts (2 servings): The other name for this group can be termed as the protein group. Out of which the meat, poultry, and fish provide B vitamins, Iron, zinc, and protein. Whereas the Dry beans, eggs, and nuts provide more quality and value of proteins and most vitamins and minerals. The total amount of these servings should be the equal of 5 to 7 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish per day.
- Second shelf: Fats, spreads, and oil (very small amount): Fat is an important part of the diet which should be ignored in the diet. However, only a small amount of healthy fat is needed to get the required benefit. It is essential to choose the right fats and oils as some leads to an increase in cholesterol and weight gain. Look for unsaturated fats – monounsaturated and polyunsaturated which are considered to be good source of fat, such as avocados, olive, sunflower and canola oil.
- First shelf: Foods and Drinks in high in fat, sugar, and salt (not every day): The servings of foods belonging to this group are not recommended because they are not essential. The group is extremely high in saturated fat, sugar, and salt which promote obesity and various other health and medical implications. It is important to refrain foods from this shelf.
My plate is USDA new model which offers guidelines aimed at improving dietary health. It recommends a portion where half plate contains fruits and vegetables, an equator comes from grains, another quarter from proteins and a small portion of milk which represents dairy products.
The guidelines involve overall less eating.
- The grains that are needed in the diet should be obtained maximum by the whole grain sources
- Change of dairy selection from high fats to low fat or skimmed.
- Cut off the excess fats, sodium, and sugar.
Over to you
The whole idea is to provide the people with the choices of food to make it a day in order to get all the essential nutrients in the plate. There has been a constant change in the food pyramid to provide optimum nutrition for kids, teens, adults, and older people.