The Food plate (former Food Pyramid) is an excellent tool to help you make healthy
It can help you choose from a variety of foods so you get the nutrients you need, and
the suggested serving sizes can help you control the amount of calories, fat, saturated fat,
cholesterol, sugar or sodium in your diet.
Bread, Grain, Cereal and Pasta Form the Base
Located at the base of the food pyramid. These foods provide complex carbohydrates,
which are an important source of energy, especially for a low-fat meal plan. You can make
many low-fat choices from foods in this group. You need 6 to 11 servings of these foods
in a day. One serving of this group can be:
1 slice of bread
1/2 cup of rice, cooked cereal or pasta
1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal
1 flat tortilla
Fruits and Vegetables
Many are excellent sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate or potassium.
They are low in fat and sodium and high in fiber.
The Food Pyramid suggests 3 to 5 servings of vegetables each day.
One serving of vegetables can be:
1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
1/2 cup of other vegetables, cooked or raw
3/4 cup of vegetable juice
The Food Pyramid suggests 2 to 4 servings of fruit each day. One serving of fruit can be:
One medium apple, orange or banana
1/2 cup of chopped, cooked or canned fruit
3/4 cup of fruit juice
Beans, Eggs, Lean Meat and Fish
Meat, poultry and fish supply protein, iron and zinc. Non-meat foods such as dried peas and beans also provide many of these nutrients. The Food Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings of cooked meat, fish or poultry. Each serving should be between 2 and 3 ounces. The following foods count as one ounce of meat:
1/2 cup cooked dry beans
1/3 cup of nuts
Products made with milk provide protein and vitamins and minerals, especially calcium. The Food Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings each day. Choose milk, yogurt and cheese made from skim milk because they are lowest in fat.
Fats and Sweets
A food pyramid's tip is the smallest part, so the fats and sweets in the top of the Food Pyramid should comprise the smallest percentage of your daily diet. The foods at the top of the food pyramid should be eaten sparingly because they provide calories but not much in the way of nutrition. These foods include salad dressings, oils, cream, butter, margarine, sugars, soft drinks, candies and sweet desserts.
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