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  • The Mighty Food Guide Pyramid

  • vegetablesTo you, is a healthy diet the Eighth Wonder of the World? Netting the nutrition you need each day isn't as difficult as you may think. Here are the USDA recommendations for a day of healthy eating:

    Fats, Oils and Sweets (the tip of the pyramid)
    (Use Sparingly)

    • Go easy on fats and sugars added to foods in cooking or at the table (butter, margarine, gravy, salad dressing, sugar and jelly).
    • Choose fewer foods that are high in sugars (candy, sweet desserts and soft drinks).
    • The most effective way to moderate the amount of fat and added sugars in your diet is to cut down on "extras" (foods in this group). Also choose lower fat and lower sugar foods from the other five food groups often.

    Milk, Yogurt and Cheese
    (2-3 Servings)

    • Choose skim milk and nonfat yogurt often. 
    • 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of cheese and 8 ounces of yogurt count as a serving from this group because they supply the same amount of calcium as 1 cup of milk.
    • Choose "part skim" or low-fat cheeses when available and lower fat milk desserts, like ice milk or frozen yogurt. Read labels.

    Meat, Poultry and Fish
    (2-3 Servings)

    • Choose lean meat, poultry without skin, fish and dry beans and peas often. they are the choices lowest in fat.
    • Prepare meats in low-fat ways:
    • Nuts and seeds are high in fat, so eat them in moderation.

    (3-5 Servings)

    • Different types of vegetables provide different nutrients.
      Eat a variety.
    • Include dark-green leafy vegetables and legumes several times a week. They are especially good sources of vitamins and minerals. Legumes also provide protein and can be used in place of meat.
    • Go easy on the fat you add to vegetables at the table or during cooking. Added spreads or toppings, such as butter, mayonnaise and salad dressing, count as fat.

    (2-4 Servings)

    • Choose fresh fruits, fruit juices, and frozen, canned or dried fruit. Go easy on fruits canned or frozen in heavy syrups and sweetened fruit juices.
    • Eat whole fruits often--they are higher in fiber than fruit juices.
    • Count only 100 percent fruit juice as fruit. Punches, -ades and most fruit "drinks" contain only a little juice and lots of added sugars.

    Bread, Cereal, Rice and Pasta (the base of the pyramid)
    (6-11 Servings)

    • To get the fiber you need, choose several servings a day of foods made from whole grains.
    • Choose most often foods that are made with little fat or sugars, like bread, English muffins, rice and pasta.
    • Go easy on the fat and sugars you add as spreads, seasonings or toppings.
    • When preparing pasta, stuffing and sauce from packaged mixes, use only half the butter or margarine suggested; if milk or cream is called for, use low-fat milk.