Let’s see how you can use your personalized pyramid to make healthy food choices.
Here’s a typical breakfast bought at a local drive-through. Let’s find where each part falls in the pyramid. The bagel equals four grain servings. The egg is a serving from the meat group. The bacon falls into the oils category, and the cheese is one milk serving.
This breakfast may sound good to you. You’re starting your day off with food from four food groups. But the choices made are high in fat and processed grains -- not the healthiest foods you can find.
Let’s try this again, keeping MyPyramid in mind. Start by making half your grains whole. Trade in the large, white flour bagel for one made with whole grain, or a whole grain corn tortilla. One scrambled egg from the meat and beans group can be topped with black beans, and salsa to add taste and help you vary your veggies. Orange juice or half a grapefruit will help you focus on fruits, and low-fat milk will help you get calcium-rich foods, while watching your waistline.
By making these choices, you’re getting a variety of foods from more food groups. And your choices are healthier; more fall towards the base of the pyramid, where foods are lower in calories and fat, and higher in nutrients and fiber.
After getting a balanced start, keep making healthy choices throughout the day. The possibilities are endless. Here are just some examples:
For lunch, try a smoked turkey pita sandwich with lettuce, tomato, mayo and mustard. Add one cup of tomato juice to vary your veggies, and finish it all off with apple slices. Again, choices found near the base of the pyramid for overall good health.
If you crave an afternoon snack, try whole wheat crackers for whole grains. Low-fat yogurt or pudding can be a great snack, or keep dried fruit at your desk to help you get your daily fruit servings.
For dinner, try grilled lean steak, mashed potatoes with heart-healthy margarine, steamed carrots, a whole wheat dinner roll and a glass of fat free milk. Sounds like a pretty tasty dinner!
Not in the mood for steak? Try a pasta meal instead. Whole wheat rigatoni with a lean-meat tomato sauce topped with grated cheese can make a delicious, healthy dinner for the whole family.
After dinner, get away from the TV or computer and walk with your family, or choose another activity you enjoy. Make the pyramid a part of your entire day by getting active.
Whatever you decide to do, keep MyPyramid in mind. Check out the website www.mypyramid.gov when you’re planning your activities or meals. It has many great examples of healthy meal choices in a one week sample menu, and you can even check the nutritional values of your food choices, too. If you don’t have access to the Internet, a registered dietitian can help you.
The main thing: think of where your choices fall on the pyramid. Is there a healthier choice? Choose healthy more often and move everyday. Soon you’ll be on your way to preventing weight gain, and serious diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
MyPyramid will help you become more healthful and stay that way -- for life.