The Food Pyramid is a graphical guideline of the various types of food to be taken during the day to achieve a healthy, balanced diet.
As a concept the pyramid is simple. You should eat more of the foods from the bottom two shelves of the pyramid, namely, breads, cereals, potatoes, fruit and vegetables, with smaller amounts of foods coming from milk, cheese, yoghurt, meat and alternatives. Fats, oils and sweets forming the tip of the pyramid should be thoroughly controlled with few servings as possible. Choosing a correct mixture of foods from each shelf of the Pyramid will provide a balance of energy, protein, vitamins and minerals each day.
Ideally it is suggested to take 6 to 11 servings of the foods in the bottom category of the pyramid. Breads, grains, cereals and pastas provide complex carbohydrates and Vitamin B, which are an important source of energy, especially for a low-fat meal plan. One serving of this group is considered to be one half cup cooked rice or pasta, one slice of bread, half a bread roll or baguette, one half cup cooked grains or cereals, one ounce muesli or breakfast cereal.
Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients. Many are excellent sources of vitamin A & vitamin C, high in fibre, whilst low in fats, sodium and sugar. The Food Pyramid suggests 3 to 5 servings of vegetables each day. One serving of vegetables can be one cup of raw leafy vegetables, half a cup of other cooked or raw vegetables, and three quarters of a cup vegetable juice. It also suggests to take a minimum of two servings of fresh fruit daily. One serving may be composed of, one medium sized apple, orange or banana; half cup of chopped, cooked or canned fruit and three quarters of a cup fruit juice. It is also suggested that fruit juice should be fresh and not from any of the ready bottled juices at supermarkets, as these contain high volumes to added sugars and calories which might interfere with your diet plans.
Meat, poultry, fish, eggs and nuts are an important component of the daily diet as they supply protein, iron and zinc. Non-meat foods such as dried peas and beans also provide many of these nutrients. The Food Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings of cooked meat, fish or poultry. Each serving being composed of, one egg; two tablespoons seeds or nuts and two to three ounces of cooked fish, meat or poultry.
Milk, Yogurts and Cheeses are good sources of calcium and protein. The pyramid recommends two to three daily servings with each serving including one cup milk or yogurt; or two ounces of cheese.
The top section of the food pyramid is the smallest part, which signifies that the fats and sweets in this category should comprise the smallest percentage of your daily diet. These foods being chips, salad dressings, oils, mayonnaise cream, butter, margarine, sugars, soft drinks, cakes, biscuits and pastries should be eaten sparingly ideally less than 3 servings, because they provide calories but not much in the way of nutrition.
Following the guidelines in the food pyramid was proven as a very good way to control the intake of every food category required for the human body.