What is the Food Pyramid Guide?

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 healthy 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.

Pyramid Power : The New Shape of Nutrition

Use the Food Guide Pyramid to help you eat better every day according to the Dietary Guidelines. Build your diet on a foundation of Cereals, Rice and Pasta. Next, add Vegetables and Fruits; most people could double their usual consumption of these foods! Add two to three servings from the Milk Group and two to three servings of protein foods daily. Make low-fat choices in all the food groups and you're on your way to a heart-healthy diet. The smallest part of the diet is represented by the tip of the pyramid which suggests infrequent servings of foods high in fats or oil and sweets.

What Counts as One Serving?

The amount of food that counts as 1 serving is listed below. If you eat a larger portion, count it as more than 1 serving.

1 cup milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces processed cheese.

Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs and Nuts 2 - 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish; 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans, 1 egg, or 2 Tbsp of peanut butter.

1 cup of raw leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked or canned vegetable, 3/4 cup of fruit juice.

1 medium apple, banana or orange, 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked or canned fruit, 3/4 cup fruit juice.

Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta 1 slice of bread, 1 ounce of cereal, 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice or pasta.

Fats, Oils and Sweets
Use sparingly by adding fats and sugars to foods infrequently and choosing lower fat options from each of the food groups.

Dietary Guidelines

* Eat a variety of foods.
* Maintain a healthy weight.
* Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
* Choose a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and grain products.
* Use sugars in moderation.
* Use salt and sodium only in moderation.
* If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

Other choices...