Recommended Daily Amounts of Healthy Foods
There are many tools available to help you make wise food choices. Starting in 1992, United States health officials introduced the Food Pyramid, a visual eating guide divided into six food group sections. Larger sections along the bottom featured foods you should eat the most of, with higher fat or less healthy foods took their place at the very top of the pyramid.
In 2005, the original pyramid design was given a facelift and its name was changed to MyPyramid. The pyramid’s goal is to show healthy foods and how much of them you should eat each day. In 2011, the pyramid was changed to MyPlate, which provides more individualized recommendations.
Food Pyramid Recommendations
Grains are bread, cereal, crackers, rice or pasta. The recommended serving is at least 3 ounces of whole grains every day. Food pyramid recommends that 50% of these grains (1/12 ounces) come from whole grains—or grains that haven’t been processed too much. If you aren’t sure if your favorite breads or cereals are whole grain, check the ingredient list. One of the first ingredients should say “whole grain”.
What does a serving of grain look like? 1 ounce = 1 slice of bread or 1 cup of breakfast cereal or ½ cup of rice or pasta.
Try to eat a variety of vegetables and choose different colors if you can. Dark green vegetables (like spinach) or orange ones (like carrots or peppers) have more vitamins than some others. Adults should try to eat 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day.
What does a serving of vegetables look like? 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice or 2 cups of leafy greens (like spinach).
Try to eat a variety of fruits and colors, but stay away from fruit juices because they don’t contain the same nutrients (like fiber) and they usually have more sugar and calories than the fruit itself. Adults should try to eat 2 cups of fruit every day.
What does a serving of fruit look like? 1 cup of fresh fruit or 100% fruit juice (only small amounts of juice, and no juice “cocktail”) or ½ cup of dried fruit.
Dairy (milk, yogurt and cheese)
Dairy products contain calcium and other vitamins important for bone and body health. Try to eat low fat cheese and yogurt and drink 1% or skim milk. Experts say you should have three cups of dairy products every day and children between the ages of 2 and 8 should have two cups.
What does a serving of dairy look like? Any combination of milk or yogurt. An ounce of cheese is about the size of two game dice. Meats (fish, chicken, beef, pork, etc.) If you eat meat, there’s not a recommendation on how many servings you should have in a day. Instead, remember to keep them as low-fat as possible and bake, broil or grill whenever you can. Fish is a great low-fat choice. If you don’t eat animal products, you can still get plenty of protein from other sources including nuts, seeds, some beans, and tofu. If you have questions, make sure to ask your doctor or a dietician for help.
What does a serving of meats size look like? Fish should be about 8 ounces (almost the size of a checkbook) and meat should be no larger than a deck of playing cards.
Fats and Oils
Most of the fat you take in should come from healthy sources like fish and nuts. Try to avoid using butter or margarine and choose plant based fats whenever you can. Solid fats (like butter, lard or margarine) are said to contribute to heart disease.
What does a serving of fat look like? That depends on what kind of fat it is. Health experts say that no more than 20-35% of your daily calories should come from fat. That means an average adult on a 2,000 calorie diet should have about 400 calories per day from fat and those numbers can add up fast, so check food labels.
You can use the information provided in the food pyramid to help you plan healthy meals. The Food Pyramid is an important tool in any weight loss and healthy eating plan.
Contact us to learn how to make healthy food choices today: call (832) 532-0050 or contact us online.