MyPyramid Guidelines for Healthy Eating
Here is a brief guide for making healthy food choices based on the MyPyramid guidelines. To have a balanced diet, make healthy choices from each of the food groups, in appropriate serving sizes. For a personalized food guide with recommended daily servings for each food group, see the interactive Web site www.mypyramid.gov.
- Breads, cereals, pasta, and rice group. Make half of the grains you eat every day whole-grain. Choose whole-grain breads, cold and cooked cereals and grains, pasta (without creamy sauces), hard rolls, or low-fat or fat-free crackers. Limit foods that have added fats and sugars, such as croissants, pastries, granola, store-bought muffins, snack crackers, and chips. Try to eat at least 6 ounces of grains (half of those should be whole grains). A slice of bread is 1 ounce, for example.
- Vegetables. Eat plenty of these. They contain little if any fat and lots of nutrients that help protect against heart disease. Try to eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables every day.
- Fruits. Eat plenty of these. They also contain very little fat but lots of nutrients. They make a sweet ending to a meal. Try to eat 1½ to 2 cups of fruit every day.
- Meat and meat alternatives. Most adults need 5 to 6½ ounces each day. A 3-ounce serving of meat is the size and thickness of a deck of cards. For many people, cutting back on meat has the biggest impact on how much fat they eat. Choose fish and lean poultry more often and red meat and fried meats less often. Meat alternatives like dried beans, tofu, and nuts are also good protein sources.
- Milk and milk products. Choose low-fat or fat-free products from this food group. Most adults need 3 cups of milk and milk products a day. If you have problems digesting milk, try eating cheese or yogurt instead, since these foods are low in lactose.
- Fats and oils. Limit fats and oils, including those used in cooking. When you do use fats, choose oils that are liquid at room temperature (unsaturated fats), such as canola oil and olive oil. Avoid hydrogenated oils (trans fat) and foods that contain them. Choose soft margarines that have no trans fat and come in a tub or squeeze bottle.
- Sweets and high-fat snacks. Most of these foods are high in fat and sugar. Eat them less often. When you do eat these foods, pay a lot of attention to the taste, eat them slowly, and savor them. This is how to enjoy them the most and not overdo it. Choose fruit instead of sweets as often as you can.
|Author||Debby Golonka, MPH|
|Editor||Susan Van Houten, RN, BSN, MBA|
|Associate Editor||Pat Truman, MATC|
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Ruth Schneider, MPH, RD - Diet and Nutrition|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Diabetes Educator|
|Last Updated||February 6, 2009|