Understanding the myPyramid
In April 2005, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) unveiled its MyPyramid food guidance system. The MyPyramid system incorporates recommendations from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The MyPyramid symbol, which is deliberately simple, encourages consumers to make smart food choices from every food group and to be physically active each day. The MyPyramid system encourages people to strive towards gradual improvement with the "Steps to a Healthier You" slogan. This system utilizes interactive technology to help individuals get a more personalized recommendation on their daily calorie level based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Here is a brief overview of the recommendations found in the MyPyramid system.
Grains – Half of the grains you consume each day should come from whole grains. You should eat 6 1-oz. equivalents of grains each day.
- Try to eat at least 3 1-oz. equivalents of whole grain cereals, breads, rice or pasta each day.
- A 1-oz. equivalent of grains is approximately 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of cold cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cereal, oatmeal, or pasta.
Vegetables – You should eat a variety of vegetables. The amount of vegetables you need to eat will vary, depending on your age, sex, and level of physical activity.
- Choose more dark green vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, and other dark leafy green vegetables.
- Eat more orange vegetables, such as carrots or sweet potatoes.
- Select dry beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, or lentils.
Fruits – Focus on fruits. You should eat 2 cups of fruit each day.
- Try to eat a variety of fruit, including fresh, frozen, canned, and dried fruits.
- Most of your fruit servings should come from whole fruit.
Milk – Milk is a calcium-rich food. You should get 3 cups of milk products each day. Children between the ages of 2 and 8 years should get 2 cups each day.
- Select low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese, and other milk products.
- If you don’t or are unable to consume milk products due to lactose intolerance, be sure to choose lactose-free products or other good sources of calcium, including fortified foods and beverages.
Meats and Beans – Choose lean sources of protein. You should eat 5-1/2 oz. of lean meat and beans each day.
- Select low fat or lean cuts of meat and poultry.
- Bake, broil, or grill your meat rather than frying it.
- Vary your sources of protein, making sure to include more fish, beans, nuts, peas, and seeds.
Fats, Sugars, and Salt – These should be consumed in limited quantities.
- Most of your fat sources should come from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
- Limit your consumption of solid fats, such as butter, stick margarine, and lard, and any foods containing them.
- Check the Nutrition Facts label to make sure the foods you are purchasing are low in saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium.
- Select foods and beverages that are low in added sugars, since they offer little or no nutritional value.
Physical Activity – Physical activity is a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle.
- Try to be physically active for a minimum of 30 minutes most days of the week.
- You may need to be physically active for 60 minutes each day to avoid weight gain.
- To sustain weight loss, you may need to be physically active for 60 to 90 minutes each day.
- Children and teenagers should be physically active for 60 minutes each day, or most days of the week.
For more in-depth information, visit the MyPyramid.gov Web site.