The old food pyramid used to be the model for healthy eating. However, it is misleading as carbohydrate which forms the bottom most tier of the pyramid can only make you obese if consume in large amount. Furthermore, people do not really sure how much to consume of each category in the old pyramid.
Old food guide pyramid is divided into four tiers. The bottom most tier is the carbohydrate group (i.e. , bread, cereal, rice & pasta ), followed by vegetables & fruits, then the protein group (i.e. meat, poultry, eggs, fish, beans and nuts), as well as the dairy group (i.e. milk, cheese and yoghurt). The highest tier belongs to the fats, oils and sweets group.
Goodbye to old food pyramid.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has replaced the old food pyramid to a new colorful food plate last year —with some of the same messages:
· Eat a variety of foods.
· Eat less of some foods and more of others.
The big message is that fruits and vegetables take up half the plate, with the vegetable portion being a little bigger than the fruit section. The plate has been divided so that the vegetable section is bigger than the fruit section, and the grain section is bigger than the protein section. Why? Because nutrition experts recommend you eat more vegetables than fruits and more grains than protein foods. The divided plate also aims to discourage super-big portions, which can cause weight gain.
Below are the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet:
- Vegetables : Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice. You should select vegetables with more potassium often, such as sweet potatoes, white potatoes, white beans, tomato products (paste, sauce, and juice), beet greens, soybeans, lima beans, spinach, lentils, and kidney beans. Prepare more foods from fresh ingredients to lower sodium intake as most sodium in the food supply comes from packaged or processed foods.
- Fruits : Any fruit or 100% fruit juice. Make most of your choices whole or cut-up fruit rather than juice, for the benefits dietary fiber provides. You should select fruits with more potassium often, such as bananas, prunes and prune juice, dried peaches and apricots, and orange juice. When choosing canned fruits, select fruit canned in 100% fruit juice or water rather than syrup. Vary your fruit choice
- Protein : Beef, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds, and beans and peas like black beans, split peas, lentils, and even tofu and veggie burgers. Protein builds up, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body. You should always go lean with protein and vary your protein choices.
- Grains : Bread, cereal, rice, tortillas, and pasta. Whole-grain products such as whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, and brown rice are recommended because they have more fiber and help you feel full.
- Dairy : Milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soy milk. The dairy circle in food plate could be a cup of milk, but you also can get your dairy servings from yogurt or cheese. Choose low-fat or non-fat dairy most of the time.
The plate can be used for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That may make you wonder: Do I really have to eat vegetables with breakfast? The answer is no, but aim to eat a variety of food groups at each meal. And if your breakfast doesn't include a veggie, consider a vegetable at snack time. (Yes, healthy, portion-controlled snacks are still OK.)
The plate also shows how to balance your food groups. There's a reason the protein section is smaller: You don't need as much from that goup. Eating more fruits and vegetables will help you eat fewer calories overall, which helps you keep a healthy weight. Eating fruits and veggies also gives you lots of vitamins and minerals.
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