Food

Food Pyramid: A Guide To Healthy Eating 

Are you trying to eat healthy? Don’t know where to start while planning your meals? Then this article might just help you with what you are looking for. This article is about the food pyramid and planning a proper balanced meal based on the food pyramid. 

To know more about how to plan your meal for accepting a healthy eating habit keep reading this article till the end. 

What Is Food Pyramid?

A food pyramid is a triangular chart that shows different groups of food in a balanced diet. If you want to eat healthy and create a well-balanced diet, then you would need to include all the different groups of food in your meal. Eating the right amount of food from each food group in a food pyramid is called a balanced diet. 

A balanced diet makes your body healthy as we get different nutrients from that meal. Our body needs lots of nutrients to stay healthy so eating is essential for us. Food also gives us energy to function properly. A balanced diet can give you more energy to function daily, look good, keep you healthy and make you feel good as well. 

In the long term, a well-balanced diet will not only keep you healthy but reduce risks of different illnesses. Illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, hypotension, heart diseases, cholesterol, osteoporosis and even some cancers. 

Food pyramid is divided into five groups with different groups of food ranked from most necessary to least necessarily based on the amount of intake in your diet.  

The food pyramid bottom most shelf consists of vegetables and fruits; the next shelf contains whole cereals, rice and potatoes; the next shelf is for dairy products like yogurt, milk and cheese; the second last shelf is for meat and last shelf is for oils and fats. 

Let’s now understand the food pyramid more deeply. 

Five Groups Of Food In Food Pyramid

The five groups of food in a food pyramid are fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy, meat and fats. To maintain a healthy body these five groups of food are essential to add to your meal daily. The top two food groups should be vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. These two sections should be in most of your meals, as most nutrients would come from them. 

Fruits And Vegetables (Vitamins, Carbohydrates And Minerals) 

You should aim for at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits in your meal daily. You can have natural fruit juices but eating your fruits in solid form is much more beneficial. You can eat different types of food like oranges, apples, peach, pear, plums, pomegranates, strawberries, bananas, grapes, blueberries, papaya, pineapple and several other fruits. 

You can have vegetables like green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, cabbages, tomatoes, carrots, calcium, peas, beans, cucumbers, bitter gourd, broccoli, and several other vegetables found in your region. You can make a healthy soup, salad or a curry using vegetables to add to your meal. You can pair your vegetables with some whole grain bread and proteins to make a complete meal out of it. 

Whole Grains And Lentils (Fiber, Carbohydrates And Starch)

The next majority portion of your diet should contain starchy foods like whole grains and lentils. In whole grains you have brown bread, oat, whole wheat bread, rice, popcorn, etc.  

In lentils you have red beans, split skinned green gram, split skinned pigeon peas, read lentils, split skinned Bengal gram, split skinned black gram, split green pigeon peas and mung beans. 

This subgroup is important for your diet as it contains fiber, zinc, magnesium, proteins and other nutrients our body needs. You must have whole grains or cereals of some kind, at least three to five servings per day. If you are looking to lose weight, then whole grains are essential for your body. 

You must have whole grains like brown rice, rice, oats, whole wheat bread daily with vegetables and protein to get a healthy body. 

Dairy And Dairy Products (Calcium And Proteins) 

In dairy products you have milk, curd, yogurt, cheese, kefir, cottage cheese, and so on. If you are on a journey to reduce your weight then add low-fat milk to your diet, opt for tofu instead of cheese and have yogurt. For growing children cheese, milk, curd and other dairy is essential for a healthy body. 

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, then you need to have 3 servings of dairy products daily. All adults, teenagers and children must have dairy of some kind at least 3 servings per day. 

Meat (Protein) 

You should take two portions of meat daily, especially lean meat like fish and chicken. If you are a growing teen then add eggs, nuts, seeds, chicken, beans, bacon and ham to your meal. You can make salads, soups or any dish adding protein to it to make it healthier.  

Proteins are a great source of energy so having them in your breakfast and lunch would give you energy to be productive the whole day. 

To add protein to your diet by adding any kind of meat, eggs and poultry. You can add fish, turkey, beef, chicken, pork, and eggs to your meal. In fish meat add salmon, trout, tuna, sardines, herring, shrimps, mackerels, oysters, crab, mussels, tilapia, etc.  

If you are a vegetarian or vegan, then for protein you can add nuts to your meals. Nuts like almonds, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, nut butters, peanuts, soy products and several other protein rich vegetables like soyabeans, mung beans, chic peas, legumes, etc. 

Fats And Sugar 

In fats, you have oils, coconut oil, palm oil, mustard oils, refined oil, ghee, butter, spreads, etc. These saturated fats are also essential for our body but in very limited quantity. These fats are a source of energy that helps our body function. But the downside of having these fats in large quantities can result in the opposite by making your body lethargic and more tired.  

Significance Of Food Pyramid  

A food pyramid is an essential tool which helps you and your kids understand the importance of a balanced diet. Food Pyramid is a visual representation of several groups of food with their servings recommendation so that you can plan a balanced meal for yourself as well as for a growing child.  

A food pyramid is easier for planning nutritious meals daily. You can also appropriately plan a meal based on the servings recommended without excluding important nutrients in a balanced diet. You can also plan your kid’s meal and snacks based on a food pyramid.  

Letting your child learn about food pyramids helps them make healthier choices about the food they eat. This helps your kids develop good eating habits in the long run which will benefit them immensely.  

Benefits Of Food Pyramid

Here are some of the benefits of food pyramid.  

1. Food pyramid is a guide and handbook for those of you who wish to have good health.  

2. A food pyramid arranges food groups based on our body’s need for them. This helps you determine the proper amount of specific food group you need in your balanced diet. Food pyramid also helped create different types of systems based on health problems that anyone can follow specific to their needs.  

3. You also get to choose your specific type of food to eat from each food group. This helps ensure you are getting the right nutrients from each food group without compromising. A food pyramid has five food groups but numerous foods within each group you can choose from.  

4. A balanced diet based on a food pyramid helps you prevent the chances of getting ill by certain serious conditions. Some of these serious conditions are type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, and cancer. Again, a balanced diet reduces the chances of getting heart disease.  

5. You can eat in moderation keeping in mind the required quantities of each food group. You don’t overindulge in eating certain food groups.  

6. Improving your eating habits day by day and creating healthy eating habits in general.  

7. A food pyramid constantly reminds you to eat all different groups of food instead of eating only one type of food. It reminds you about the daily needs of our body and encourages you to stop eating only one group of food daily.  

8. A food pyramid is easy to understand different nutrients needed for our body to function. You don’t need to be a nutritionist or doctor to understand a food pyramid and what it signifies.  

9. A food pyramid also highlights harsh diets and encourages you to avoid them. For example, fats and sugars are listed at the top of the food pyramid. This signifies how little you need this nutrition in your diet for a healthy body. While you eat only those foods that contain fats and sugars generally be it a snack or a meal. 

How To Easily Follow A Food Pyramid Based On Serving Sizes 

Here’s a simple way you can measure your portion size of each food group based on this trick. Start by filling half of your plate with fruits and veggies, then add proteins to quarter of your plate. The remaining quarter will be filled up with whole grains, bread or rice. Fill your glass with milk in the morning or have a cup of yogurt or curd post lunch to complete the meal. 

If you are a vegetarian, then repeat the process of filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Next fill a quarter of your plate with plant proteins like soyabeans, red beans, peas, lentils, tofu, green leafy vegetables, chickpeas, nuts or seeds, nut butter, broccoli, etc. The remaining quarter will be filled with whole grains, bread or rice. If you are a vegan opt for plant-based proteins and have a glass of milk substitutes to meet your dairy or calcium intake. Vegetarians must also have a glass of milk daily. You can also have cheese, or paneer (a type of cheese) for breakfast, lunch, or for snack. 

Since your food is cooked in oil or you might have fish, meat or nuts, your fat intake is included within the meal.  

Food Guide By Harvard School Of Public Health 

According to Havard School of Public Health’s Health Eating Plate it is necessary to eat two servings of fish every week. 

You must reduce your intake of red meat and replace it with lean meats like chicken, salmon, mackerels, tuna, etc. You must eat whole grains and products made of whole grains and reduce your flour intake. Using healthy oils and eating healthy oils sourced from fishes with omega-3 fatty acids.  

You can also eat nuts, seeds and beans in protein and healthy fats intakes daily. Limiting sugar intake is also essential to maintaining a healthy body. Avoid sugary drinks and opt for natural fruit juices at home. Avoid fried food and refined grains. Too much sodium causes many illnesses so avoid salt. 

Alcohol is a major source of fat so drink occasionally or avoid it altogether. Avoid energy drinks. Lastly, try exercising at least for 30 minutes regularly. This might seem a lot but once you can control the 4 inches of your tongue your health, skin and energy levels will start their glow up. 

Conclusion 

Nutrition science was developed in the 20th century and it’s developing every passing day by experimenting which group are the strongest in keeping us healthy. Hence why it’s necessary to follow a healthy diet from a young age. When you start young, it becomes a habit to eat healthy and avoid unhealthy foods.  

A food pyramid rightly distributes each nutrient needed for our body to function properly. This makes a food pyramid a perfect base to enjoy a happy life and keep our body in good health. A healthy body equals a more active lifestyle which makes life attractive. 

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