Food Guide Pyramid
The Food Guide Pyramid, developed and maintained by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is an outline of what to eat each day for good health. The Pyramid is not a rigid prescription, but a general guide that lets people choose a healthy diet and exercise plan that fits their lifestyle. The Pyramid is flexible, practical, and visual.
The USDA emphasizes that "one size doesn't fit all" and their most recent revision of the Food Guide Pyramid, called the "My Pyramid Plan," is designed to help you choose the foods and amounts that are right for you.
At the My Pyramid web site (www.choosemyplate.gov), the USDA has tools that will provide you and your family a quick estimate of what and how much you need to eat by allowing you to enter your age, sex, and activity level to help you:
- Make smart choices from every food group,
- Find your balance between food and physical activity, and
- Get the most nutrition out of your calories.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, contained at the My Pyramid website, gives science-based advice on food and physical activity choices for health. The USDA defines a healthy diet as one that:
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
The recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines and in MyPyramid are for the general public over 2 years of age.
MyPyramid is not a therapeutic diet for any specific health condition. Individuals with a chronic health condition should consult with a health care provider to determine what dietary pattern is appropriate for them.
Following the Food Guide Pyramid is an easy way to eat a healthy diet. By eating a healthier diet and increasing daily activity a person can help maintain a healthy weight.
Doing so can help protect against many health problems including heart disease and cancer.