Find health with MyPyramid recommendations

April 12, 2011|Lynn Little

MyPyramid is a roadmap that can guide you toward a healthier you. It is your step-by-step guide to healthful eating and physical activity. For good health, eat a variety of foods from each food group every day.   

Grains — Choose whole grain bread. Check the ingredients label for whole grain content rather than judging based on the color of the bread. Verify that whole wheat or other whole grain is the first ingredient.


 Try brown rice instead of white rice. The bran and germ are not removed from brown rice.

 Choose whole-wheat pasta. Again, read the ingredient label to be sure you are getting the most whole grains.

 Add barley, quinoa, bulgur or other whole grains to soups and salads for extra benefits and flavor.

 Eat gluten-free oatmeal and get the added heart health benefits from the soluble fiber.

Vegetables  — One easy way to meet the goal of 2 1/2 cups of veggies every day  is to make a salad with 1 cup of dark green leafy lettuce or spinach, add another cup of your favorite fresh veggie mix such as cucumbers, tomatoes and mushrooms, then munch on 6 baby carrots as a snack.

Fruits — An easy grab-and-go snack that will meet the daily goal of 2 cups is a naturally sweet large apple, pear, orange or banana.

Oils — consuming some oil is needed for health as they provide essential fatty acids and are a primary source of vitamin E.


 Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature. They are used in cooking, baking and to flavor fresh foods. Commonly used vegetable oils include canola, corn, olive, safflower, soybean and sunflower oils among others.

 To minimize total calories use an oil spray.

 Watch for coconut oil and palm kernel oil, which are high in saturated fats and should be limited along with other solid fats.

Dairy — The dairy group is the largest contributor of dietary calcium. These foods also are a good source for protein, and vitamins A and D.

 Mypyramid recommends 3 cups of milk or foods made from milk.

 To minimize saturated fat eat dairy products that are fat-free or low-fat.

Protein foods — About 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, 1/4 cup of cooked dry beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut or 1/2 ounce of nuts counts as 1 ounce equivalent. Women should eat 5 ounces and men 6 ounces daily.


 Dry beans and peas appear in this group as well as the veggie group. If you regularly eat meat, poultry or fish, count dry beans in the vegetable group.

 Eating fish, nuts and seeds in place of some meat and poultry increases your intake of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated oils.

 Nuts and seeds are good sources of essential fatty acids and vitamin E.

When you include all the colors of MyPyramid ( ) you're on track to making healthful choices.

Lynn Little is a family and consumer sciences educator with University of Maryland Extension in Washington County.

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