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Surrender To The Spell Of The Pyramid


Food in general has the distinction of being probably thefirst thing we all think about in the mornings before our feet hit the floor. The main reason for this is we cannot survive without it. There are four major food groups arranged in what is commonly called the food pyramid. At the base of the food pyramid lies thegroup that contains breads, grains, pastas and cereals. These foods provide complex carbohydrates, which are an important source of energy, especially for a low-fat meal plan. You can make various low-fat choices from foods in this group.

You will need 6 to 11 servings of these foods in a day. Tryto eat whole-grain breads, cereal and pasta for most of yourservings from this group. Whole-grain foods are lessprocessed and retain more valuable vitamins, minerals andfiber than foods made with white flour. When you purchasewhole-grain foods look for breads and pastas with "stoneground whole-wheat flour" as the first ingredient, becausesome "wheat" breads may be white breads with only caramelcoloring added.

The next group in the pyramid is fruits and vegetables.Fruits and vegetables are rich in nutrients. Many areexcellent sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, folate orpotassium. They are low in fat and sodium and high in fiber.The Food Pyramid suggests 3 to 5 servings of vegetables, and2 to 4 servings of fruits each day. Count only 100% fruitjuice as a fruit, and limit juice consumption. Manycommercial bottled juices come in containers that hold morethan 2 servings - which can add lots of sugar and caloriesto your daily diet. Punches, ades and most fruit "drinks"have only a bit of juice and lots of sugar. Fruit sodas aresugary drinks and they do not count as fruit, either.

Up next on the pyramid are proteins such as beans, eggs,fish, and meat. Meat, poultry and fish supply protein, zincand iron. Non-meat foods such as dried peas and beans alsoprovide many of these nutrients. The Food Pyramid suggests 2to 3 servings of cooked poultry, fish or meat. Each servingshould be between 2 and 3 ounces. Pick lean meat, fish anddry beans and peas often because these are lowest in fat.

Continuing on we come to dairy products. Products made withmilk provide protein, vitamins and minerals, especiallycalcium. The Food Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings each day.If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, a teenager or a youngadult age 24 or under, try to have 3 servings. Most othersshould have 2 servings every day. Go light on high-fatcheese and ice cream. Choose non-fat milk and yogurt andcheeses made from skim milk because they are lower in fat.

Lastly are sweets and fats. These make up the Food Pyramidssmallest part, so the fats and sweets in the top of the FoodPyramid should comprise the smallest percentage of yourdaily diet. The foods at the top of the food pyramid shouldbe eaten moderately because they provide calories but notmuch in the way of nutrition. These foods include saladdressings, oils, butter, cream, margarine, sugars, softdrinks, candies and sweet desserts.

The author teaches people how to eat in a healthy manner and nurture their bodies without feeling deprived.

Rose Marie Allesando is passionate about food and is the webmaster of Food A to Z


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