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.
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:
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 .
(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.)
ChooseMyPlate.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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