MyPyramid: Steps To A Healthier YOU

The Department of Agriculture introduced a new food pyramid—pyramids to be precise. Instead of a one-size fits all pyramid, there are now 12 different versions, each slightly different, depending on a person’s age, sex, and level of physical activity. The new nutritional guideline system is called MyPyramid. This version is color-coded: orange for grains, green for vegetables, red for fruits, yellow for fats and oils, blue for milk, and purple for meats and beans. It also features a stick person climbing staircase to symbolize the importance of exercising every day.

776px-MyPyramid1

In general, the pyramid recommends that each day people eat about 6 ounces of grains, 2.5 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 3 cups of milk, 5.5 ounces of meat or beans, and only a small amount of fats and oils. A website, www.mypyramid.gov, gives further details about which type of foods provide the most nutrition.

The Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture created the food pyramid. It recommended the number of servings of each food group a person should eat daily to stay healthy. Here is how they defined the 6 main food groups in the pyramid:

    Grains: Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain.  Read more on  Grains.

    Vegetables: Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the vegetable group. Read more on  Vegetables.

    Fruits: Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the fruit group. Read more on Fruits.

    Milk: All fluid milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of the group, while foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream, and butter, are not. Read more on Milk.

    Meat & Beans: All foods made from meat, poultry, fish, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts, and seeds are considered part of this group. Dry beans and peas are part of this group as well as the vegetable group. Read more on  Meat & Beans .

    Oils: Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature, like the vegetable oils used in cooking. Oils come from many different plants and from fish. Read more on Oils.

    (Sugars: Added sugars are sugars and syrups that are added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared. This is seen in the Pyramid but not on the plate diagram. They urge you limit the amount of this ingest.)

external image myplate_green.jpgChooseMyPlate.gov offers personalized eating plans, tips and resources, interactive tools to help plan and assess food choices, and printing materials so you are also able to promote healthy eating.

What to Avoid

SODIUM: For the first time, the government recommends a target    for  salt intake: no more than 1 teaspoon of salt a day. Too much salt can    cause  high blood pressure.

FATS: Fat should make up 35% or less of your daily calorie    intake.  Try to avoid eating trans fats (found in processed foods). These    types of fat  are often listed as “partially hydrogenated” oils in the list    of  ingredients.

SUGAR: It’s hard to remove sugar from your diet, but you can     certainly cut down the amount you eat. Soda is loaded with sugar. The     guidelines suggest that in addition to cutting back on sweet sodas, people     should opt for low-fat milk, water, or any other beverage that’s low in     sugar.

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