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Jan 27

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating – The Food Pyramid

The Food Pyramid  or Healthy Eating Pyramid has been developed to provide a simple guide to planning the types of foods and the proportions different foods should be eaten. The pyramid represents food from the core food groups only. It shows meat, fish, chicken, eggs, nuts, bread, cereals, vegetables, legumes, fruit, milk, etc. We do not eat core food groups alone – we combine several of them together to create a meal. For example, we mix meat with vegetables to make a stir fry or casserole, eggs with milk and sugar to make custard or flour with oil, cheese, vegetables and meat to make a pizza. Although the pyramid can’t show all possible food combinations, mixing foods and adding herbs and spices to create appealing flavors can help us enjoy foods in the variety needed while keeping to the proportions outlined in the Pyramid

The Food Pyramid encourages food variety and a diet of minimum fat, adequate fiber, limited salt and sufficient water that is balanced with physical activity. When preparing a meal as many different colors of food should be used.

Eat Least

Sugars and fats are in this layer. These foods should be limited because they lack a good supply of the nutrients needed for growth, good health and quick energy. While small amounts of fats, oils and sugar are acceptable, larger amounts of these healthy foods will cause an inadequately varied food intake. When choosing fats and oils it is better to choose the ones that have low levels of saturated fat and higher levels of omega -3 fats. The Pyramid also suggests that salt should not be added to foods.

Healthy eating, food pyramid

Food Pyramid

Eat Moderately

Foods in the middle of the Pyramid include fish, lean meat, eggs, chicken (no skin), milk, cheese and yoghurt. Eating a serving of meat, fish or eggs and three servings of dairy foods each day will provide protein, minerals (especially iron and calcium) and B vitamins.

Eat Most

The bottom layer of food includes only plant foods: vegetables, fruits, nuts, dried peas, beans and lentils, breads and cereals (preferably wholegrain). These foods contain many different nutrients and should make up the bulk of the food we eat. Eating a variety of these foods each day should provide good amounts of energy from carbohydrate, as well as protein, minerals, vitamins and dietary fiber. In other words these foods are nutrient dense (each food contains a lot of nutrients for each kilojoule that it provides).

Water

Six to eight glasses each day is the recommendation.Water is essential for health and enhances weight loss.

Choosing a wide variety of  foods  helps us to consume all the nutrients and other food compounds that are needed for good health. When serving a meal, the ‘Eat Most’ foods should take up most of the plate, the ‘Eat Moderately’ foods should take up a third or less of the plate, and there should be very little of the ‘Eat in Small Amounts’ foods present.

Remember, in order to maintain body weight, food eaten (energy in) always needs to be balanced with physical activity (energy out).

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