What are healthy food choices?

In April of 2005, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a new food guidance system, MyPyramid, based on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. According to the USDA, the MyPyramid “symbolizes a personalized approach to healthy eating and physical activity”. The USDA encourages beginning with one small change each day to make improvements in your health. Visit: www.mypyramid.gov

GRAINS- Make half your grains whole
  • Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day
  • 1 ounce is about 1 slice of bread, about 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, cereal or pasta

Eat 6 ounces every day *

VEGETABLES- Vary your veggies
  • Eat more dark-green veggies like broccoli, spinach, and other dark leafy greens
  • Eat more orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes
  • Eat more dry beans and peas like pinto beans, kidney beans, and lentils

Eat 2-1/2 cups every day *

FRUITS- Focus on fruits
  • Eat a variety of fruit
  • Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit
  • Go easy on fruit juices

Eat 2 cups every day *

MILK- Get your calcium-rich foods
  • Go low-fat or fat-free when you choose milk, yogurt, and other milk products
  • If you don't or can't consume milk, choose lactose-free products or other calcium sources such as fortified foods and beverages

Get 3 cups every day; for kids aged 2 to 8, it's 2 cups *

MEAT & BEANS-Go lean with protein
  • Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry
  • Bake it, broil it, or grill it
  • Vary your protein routine -- choose more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds

Eat 5-1/2 ounces every day *

*For a 2,000-calorie diet, you need the amounts listed above from each food group.

Find balance between food and physical activity

  • Be sure to stay within your daily calorie needs.
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • About 60 minutes at day of physical activity may be needed to prevent weight gain.
  • For sustaining weight loss, at least 60 to 90 minutes a day of physical activity may be required.
  • Children and teenagers should be physically active for 60 minutes every day, or most days.

Know the limits on fats, sugars and salt (sodium)

  • Make most of your fat sources from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
  • Limit solid fats like butter, margarine, shortening, and lard, as well as foods that contain these.
  • Check the Nutrition Facts label to keep saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium low.
  • Choose food and beverages low in added sugars. Added sugars contribute calories with few, if any nutrients.