Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Eat a variety of foods.
Maintain healthy weight.
Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
Choose a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and grain products.
Use sugars only in moderation.
Use salt and sodium only in moderation.
If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.
What’s inside the Pyramid?
Every food imaginable!
The Pyramid encourages the basic principles of a healthful diet: variety, balance and moderation.
Variety: No single food supplies all the nutrients you need. A varied diet includes many different foods from the Pyramid’s five major food groups which together meet Nutrition Essayal recommendations.
Balance: A balanced diet incorporates appropriate amounts of foods from all five food groups every day, providing needed calories and nutrients.
Your age, sex and physical activity level make a difference in the number of servings needed to maintain a well-balanced diet.
Moderation: Carefully selecting foods and beverages helps you control calories and the total amount of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, salt, sugars and, if consumed, alcoholic beverages. This allows more flexibility to enjoy the variety of foods available.
The Food Guide Pyramid
A Guide to Daily Food Choices
Key Fat (naturally occurring and added)Sugars (added)These symbols show fat and added sugars in foods. They come mostly from the fats, oils, and sweets group. But foods in other groups–such as cheese or ice cream from the milk group or French fries from the vegetable group-can also provide fat and added sugars.
You can adapt the Pyramid’s advice to match your personal tastes and nutritional needs. In fact, the Pyramid can be the food selection guide to meet differing needs of each family member, ages two and over. It may even help liven up your diet by expanding your food choices.
About Serving Sizes
To make the most of the Pyramid, you need to know what counts as a serving.
Food GroupServing Size
Bread, Cereal,Rice and Pasta1 slice bread, 1 ounce ready-to-eat cereal, 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice or pasta, 5-6 small crackers
Vegetable1 cup raw, leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked or chopped raw vegetables, 3/4 cup vegetable juice
Fruit1 medium apple, banana or orange,1/2 cup chopped, cooked, or canned fruit, 3/4 cup fruit juice
Milk, Yogurtand Cheese1 cup milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 ounces natural cheese, 2 ounces process cheese
Meat, Poultry,Fish, Dry Beans,Eggs and Nuts2 – 3 ounces cooked lean meat, poultry or fish Foods which count as 1 ounce of meat: 1/2 cup cooked dry beans, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1/3 cup nuts
Choose Within the Serving Ranges
The range of servings of each food group in the Pyramid offers lots of flexibility. The right amount for you depends on your age, sex, body size and activity level.
The table below shows how many servings of each major food group can be included at different calorie levels. Preschool children need the same variety of foods as older family members do, but may need less than 1,600 calories.
Sample Food Plan for a Day
1,600 caloriesFor manysedentarywomen andsome olderadults2,200 calories*Most children,teenage girls,active womenand manysedentary men2,800 caloriesTeenage boys,many active menand some veryactive women
Meat Group5 ounces6 ounces7 ounces
*Pregnancy and breast feeding may require more calories. **Women who are pregnant or breast feeding, teenagers, and young adults to age 24 need three servings
Enjoy Traditional Favorites–
Every Food Can Fit!
Healthful eating doesn’t mean giving up foods and beverages you like best. Just learn how to balance your food choices. You can fit in your traditional favorites and enjoy your meals and snacks while still promoting your good health
Focus on foods such as pasta, rice and whole-grain and enriched breads and cereals; vegetables; fruits; low fat dairy foods; lean meats, poultry, fish and legumes.
These foods provide the framework for a healthful diet.
Control calories and fat in food selection and preparation. For example, broil, roast, steam or stir-fry your favorite cut of lean meat, poultry without skin, or fish.
Modify traditional recipes to cut back on fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, added sugars and/or sodium. For example, try substituting plain, low fat yogurt for sour cream in dips or spreads, or use two egg whites or an egg substitute instead of one whole egg in baked foods.
Read food labels when you shop.
The Nutrition Facts panel can help you compare the calories, fat,