The Food Pyramid Explained

Remember when you were in grade school and you were taught about the basic food groups and the Food Pyramid?  Having trouble remembering?  I understand!  Not many of us still think in terms of that grade school lesson and plan our meals around the basic food groups.  It takes planning and discipline to make our meals more nutritious.  But this does not have to be a difficult task.

In my introduction to the 8 Lesson Nutritional Curriculum, I talked about habits.  Changing our habits is hard – by definition, a habit is an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.  When we get into a routine, an habitual behavior, it can be hard to break. 

So today, I want to talk to you about that Food Pyramid and help you to use it to reframe your habits and start making new goals.  


USDA Food Pyramid

The graphic above gives you a picture of the current USDA Food Pyramid.  Here is a little history:

The USDA Food Pyramid is the most widely recognized nutritional education resourse.  It was developed in 1992 and quickly became the gold standard for nutrition.  It consisted of 6 basic food groups and offered the recommended serving per day for each:

  • Grains (6-11 servings)
  • Vegetables (3-5 servings)
  • Fruit (2-4 servings)
  • Meat/Beans/Nuts (2-3 servings)
  • Dairy (2-3 servings)
  • Fats/Oils/Sweets (sparingly)

The Pyramid was easy – very simple to follow and therefore it was widely adopted, distributed and taught.

But the advice it contained was flawed.

Carbohydrates were presented as being all good, while fats were all bad.  Research showed that carbs are not universally good, nor fats universally bad. This was one of the reasons why the USDA revised the Pyramid in 2005.


USDA My Plate

The new Pyramid changes included a revamping of the basic food groups, with the addition of healthy fats and oils, and an actual volume and weight serving size, which makes measuring easier.

  • Grains (4 servings) – a more moderate intake
  • Fruits/Vegetables (5 servings) – a higher intake
  • Dairy (3 servings) – a moderate intake
  • Meat/Beans (6.5 oz per day) – a higher intake
  • Fats/Oils (7 tsps per day)

More importantly, the guidelines placed a strong emphasis on exercise and daily physical activity. 

I encourage you to use the Food Pyramid and MyPlate to brainstorm your nutritional goals.  It is a great place to start!  I will also be providing other printables to those who have registered for the course to help you with planning.  You can still register to receive the additional emails – just download this form.

For more information on the Food Pyramid, check out ChooseMyPlate.

Stay tuned! Next we will be setting your Goals!!! 

Please contact me with any questions!


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2 Responses to The Food Pyramid Explained

  1. Pingback: The Fruit & Veggie Lesson – Serving Sizes and Daily Recommendations | Essential Wellness Bodywork and Fitness

  2. Pingback: Assessing Nutrition for Kids for Healthy Growth and Development | Holistic Healing and Wellness Studio

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