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The Healthy Eating Pyramid
What Is the Food Pyramid?
The Healthy Eating Pyramid is a guide developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help you plan a healthy diet.
Why Is it Helpful?
The Pyramid helps you choose what and how much to eat from each food group so that you:
The Healthy Eating Pyramid has six levels. Foods from the six major food groups are shown in the levels of the Pyramid. The food groups are:
Each of these food groups provides some of the nutrients you need (but not all). Foods from one group cannot replace those from another and they are all equally important. For good health, you need them all.
The first group: This group is mainly derived from grains. It includes breads, cereals and pasta. These foods should make up the greatest part of your daily diet. Aim at 6 to 11 servings a day.
The second and third groups: These are foods from plant sources – vegetables and fruits. Most people need to eat more of these foods as they supply fiber, vitamins and minerals. The recommendation is to eat 3 to 5 servings of vegetables and 2 to 4 servings of fruits daily.
The fourth group: These are dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese. These foods are an important source of protein and calcium. The recommended daily amount is 2 to 3 servings per day.
The fifth group: This includes meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Dried beans and nuts are also in this group. Recommended daily servings are 2 to 3. These foods are important because they provide protein, calcium, iron and zinc.
The last group: Fats, oils and sugars. These foods provide taste and calories. A small amount of oil or fat is needed but it should be used sparingly due to the high energy content. Sugar will contribute extra calories with no other nutritional benefits.
The number of food servings a person needs depends upon their sex, age, body type and physical activity. We recommend that you consult a dietitian to determine your exact needs.
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