"My Pyramid" is Just for You
The new food pyramid guidelines help you create a diet that’s right for you. You can find out how many servings of each food group you need each day by logging onto the My Pyramid website at www.mypyramid.gov. On the website, you can enter your age, sex, and activity level in the “My Pyramid Plan” section. A meal plan will be created just for you!
Moderation is represented by the thinning of the bands from the bottom to the top of the pyramid. The wider bottom of the pyramid indicates foods that have more nutrition and little fats and sugars. These foods should be chosen most often. Foods that fit into the thinner tips of each band should be eaten only on occasion. These foods would include those with added sugars and fats, such as sweetened beverages and desserts.
Activity is Important
The picture of the person climbing the steps of the pyramid represents activity. Exercise is an important part of being healthy.
For adults to maintain weight: Aim for 30 minutes of exercise most days. For adults to lose weight: Aim for 60 minutes of exercise most days.
For children or teenagers: Aim for 60 minutes of exercise every day.
In the new food pyramid, the food groups are color-coded. The width of the colored band suggests the amount of food a person should choose from that group. For example, the fats and oils band is very narrow. This means that it should only be a small portion of your diet. Remember, the width of these bands give a general idea of proportion, not an exact measurement.
It is important to eat a variety of foods within each group (band).
The orange band on the pyramid represents grains. Try to eat 6 ounces of grains each day. Half of your grains (about 3 ounces) every day should be whole grains. Whole grains include wheat, oats, corn, barley, bulgur, and rye. If a food is whole grain, you will see the word “whole” in the ingredient list, for example, whole wheat flour.
One ounce = 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup cooked pasta, cereal or rice, or 1 cup of ready-to eat cereal.
The green band on the pyramid represents vegetables. Try to eat 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day. Eat a variety of vegetables, including dark green (broccoli, spinach, kale), orange (carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin), high fiber legumes (kidney beans, black beans, split peas), and starchy (potatoes, corn).
One cup = 1 cup of vegetables (fresh, canned, frozen, raw or cooked), or 1 cup of vegetable juice, or 2 cups raw leafy vegetables.
The red band on the pyramid represents fruits. Try to eat 2 cups of fruit each day. Eat a variety of fruit, including fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruit. Fruit is often better for you than fruit juice.
One cup = 1 cup of fruit (raw, cooked, canned or frozen), or 1 cup of 100 percent fruit juice, or 1/2 cup of dried fruit.
Fats and Oils
The yellow band on the pyramid represents fats and oils. Limit yourself to 5 to 6 teaspoons of oils per day. Use liquid oils and soft spreads. Avoid stick butter or margarine. Solid fats, like stick butter and margarine, have saturated fat or trans fat. These raise cholesterol levels. Liquid fats like olive oil and canola oil have little saturated fat, so they are better for you.
The blue band on the pyramid represents dairy foods. Try to eat at least 3 cups of dairy foods each day. Dairy foods include milk, yogurt, and cheese. Three servings of dairy foods have been shown to help people lose weight. Dairy foods are high in calcium, which can prevent osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to weaken and break. Most milk group choices should be fat-free or low-fat.
Meats and Beans
The purple band on the pyramid represents proteins. Try to eat 5 1/2 ounces of proteins each day. This includes meat, poultry, chicken, fish, nuts, seeds, soy, and legumes. Choose lean meats such as “loin” or “round.” Bake, broil, or grill meats, poultry, and fish to limit the fat.
Fish, nuts, and seeds contain healthy fats, so choose these protein sources more often.
One ounce = 1/4 cup cooked dry beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon peanut butter, or 1/2 ounce of nuts or seeds, or 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish.