A General Guide to a Healthful Diet

The Pyramid is a general guide that lets you choose a healthful diet that’s right for you. The Pyramid calls for eating a variety of foods to get the nutrients you need and at the same time the right amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight. The Pyramid also focuses on fat, because most people eat too much fat, especially saturated fat.

Following the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we’ve compiled a list of examples for each of the food groups. Each item on the list counts as one serving. But some foods are so high in fat that eating an amount equivalent to one serving may add too much fat to your diet. These foods are marked with a *. Foods that contain saturated fat or cholesterol are marked with a +.



These foods should be used sparingly, so no serving size is indicated.

butter *+ margarine *+
lard *+ olive oil *
safflower oil * corn oil *
canola oil * candies *+
sugared drinks cakes, pies, & cookies *+


MILK, YOGURT & CHEESE:           2-3 Servings MEAT, POULTRY, FISH, DRY BEANS, EGGS & NUTS: 2-3 Servings
1 cup nonfat milk 1 cup nonfat yogurt 3 oz filet mignon + 3 oz turkey +
1 1/2 oz  cheese *+ 1 1/2 c. ice milk + 3 oz chicken breast + 1.5 c. beans/lentils
2 oz cheese spread *+ 1/2 c. low-fat cottage cheese *+ 3 oz tofu 3 eggs *+
  6 tablespoons peanut butter *+
VEGETABLES:           3-5 Servings FRUITS:           2-4 Servings
1 cup lettuce 1 c. fresh spinach 1 med. apple 1 med. banana
1/2 c. steamed broccoli 1/2 c. shredded cabbage 1/2 c. melon chunks 1/2 c. pineapple chunks
1/2 c. carrot sticks 3/4 c. tomato juice 1/2 c. grapes 1 med. orange
1/2 baked potato 1/2 c. sliced zucchini 1 med. pear 3/4 c. orange juice

BREAD, CEREAL, RICE & PASTA:           6-11 Servings

1/2 cup rice 1/2 cup couscous 1 slice whole wheat bread
1/2 cup oatmeal 1 ounce cereal nuggets 1/2 bagel
1/2 cup barley 1 slice white bread  


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