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Eating Pyramid Style

Food guide helps you eat healthier

SATURDAY, Jan. 25, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- The Food Guide Pyramid is meant to help you eat healthier without spending a lot of time figuring out what you should be eating.

Created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the pyramid includes five food groups, plus the fats-oils-sweets group, which is the tiniest part of the pyramid, right at the top. You should eat fats, oils and sweets sparingly.

Below that section of the pyramid are the other groups, with suggested servings in each.

You should strive for two or three servings of milk, yogurt or cheese daily. You need about two or three servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts. Strive for three to five servings of vegetables and two to four of fruits. Finally, get six to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice and pasta.

The pyramid is a rough guide, meant for anyone age 2 years and up who is healthy.

It's important to know what makes a serving, however. One cup of milk or yogurt counts as a serving, as do two ounces of processed cheese. Two to three ounces of lean meat make a serving. So does a medium apple or banana and a half cup of canned fruit. A half cup of raw or cooked veggies is usually a serving.

If you keep the pyramid in mind when shopping and preparing food, you'll increase the likelihood of eating a healthful and varied diet.

More information

More details about the food guide and a diagram of it are at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

SOURCES: U.S. Department of Agriculture; American Dietetic Association
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