Selecting health diet foods can be an easy task when using the USDA’s Food Pyramid as a guide for healthy eating. By compiling a diet made up of various food groups and food choices in the correct quantities, you can create the foundation of a very healthy diet. Here’s how:
Obtain a Copy of the Food Pyramid
You can locate a copy online of the USDA’s Food Pyramid, and either save it to your computer, or print it out for easy reference. Additionally, if you follow another kind of diet, there are numerous pyramids available that can outline what healthy eating is for your food choice. There are the Asian, Latin America, Mediterranean and Vegetarian pyramids to name just a few.
Understand the Pyramid
The shape of the pyramid shows you where to focus when making your food selections. The foods that you will be eating the most of are at the base of the pyramid, while those that should be eaten in smaller quantities are shown near the top.
Follow Some Basic Guidelines
No matter which pyramid you choose, there are some basic guidelines that you will have to follow for a healthy diet. These include limiting saturated fat, trans fats and cholesterol, reducing your intake of sweets and salt, drinking alcohol in moderation and including plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet. A basic rule for all healthy people is also to control portion size and the total calories you consume daily, as well as include exercise in your daily routine.
Make Varied Selections from Each Group
It is necessary that you have variation in your diet on a daily basis to achieve optimal health. Begin selecting foods and pairing foods from different groups to form meals. You can mix and match from different food groups however you like, just as long as you intake the daily portions of each of the food groups recommended.
Select Your Meals and Snacks Carefully
Make the most of your daily caloric intake by choosing some really nutrient-rich foods from each group. Explore your options with different healthy choices. For example, a serving of grains doesn’t have to mean only a slice of wheat bread. You can use wild rice, whole wheat pasta, cornmeal muffins or bulgur. If you need to avoid one food group, for example dairy if you are lactose intolerant, choose other foods that can make up some of the nutritional value like dark leafy greens for calcium.
Keep a Food Diary and Meal Planner
Once you select some foods to create a meal, you will want to create a meal plan or record this information in a food diary. This way you can track your eating over a period of time to ensure that you are correctly following the food pyramid. Be sure to include all snacks and beverages in your diary as well.
By following these steps, you can put together a healthy diet using the food pyramid.