The New Food Pyramid

The New Food Pyramid Guide

The new food pyramid is a great way for parents to teach their children how to eat healthy. It is more colorful with an array of vertical stripes representing each of the five food groups plus one for fats and oils.

In 2005 the United States Department of Agriculture released the food pyramid in hopes of educating people on how to eat healthy. Soon after they came up with a version of the new food pyramid strictly for children. The children's version has an image of a little girl climbing a staircase towards the top of the pyramid. The idea was to show children that exercise is important and small changes step by step will lead to better health.

The USDA did a nice job with new food pyramid in subtle ways. Some of the stripes on the pyramid are thinner than others representing the need to eat less of those kinds of foods and more of the foods represented by the wider stripes.

Also the stripes are wider at the base and thinner at the top to show that some foods within a group are more healthy than others. In other words: eating baked skinless chicken would be in the wider section of the stripe as opposed to the same chicken deep fried.



The new food pyramid will show you how much you need from each food group for a healthy diet. The guidelines and amounts vary between gender, age, and activity level. Some examples of what you will find in the food pyramid are as follows:

Grains
Half of your grain servings should come from whole grains. Such as: Whole wheat bread, brown rice, and oatmeal.

Grain Recommended Intake

Children aged 4-8 Females aged 9-13 Females aged 14-18 Males aged 9-13 Males aged 14-18
5 ounces 5 ounces 6 ounces 6 ounces 7 ounces

Vegetables
Buy fresh vegetables whenever possible and avoid canned vegetables.

Vegetable Recommended Intake

Children aged 4-8 Females aged 9-13 Females aged 14-18 Males aged 9-13 Males aged 14-18
1 ½ cups 2 cups 2 ½ cups 2 ½ cups 3 cups

Fruit
Fresh, sweet fruit should be a part of a healthy diet.

Fruit Recommended Intake

Children aged 4-8 Females aged 9-18 Males aged 9-13 Males aged 14-18
1 ½ cups 1 ½ cups 1 ½ cups 2 cups

Milk and other calcium rich foods
Purchase low-fat or fat-free milks and cheeses. You can also look for juices that are calcium fortified.

Milk Recommended Intake

Children aged 2-8 Young people aged 9-18
2 cups 3 cups

Meats and Beans
Meats and beans are a great source of iron and other key nutrients. Some examples are nuts, seeds, and cooked dry beans.

Meats and Beans Recommended Intake

Children aged 4-8 Females aged 9-18 Males aged 9-13 Males aged 14-18
3-4 ounces 5 ounces 5 ounces 6 ounces

The new food pyramid has three important lessons to be learned.

  • It teaches you how to make smart choices within the food groups.
  • It shows you how to keep a balance between food intake and exercise.
  • It teaches you how to get the most nutrition from calories


The United States Department of Agriculture's food pyramid website has other great tools for children as well as adults.

There is a menu planner which you can register for. This allows you to enter meal plans around the goals that you have set. After you get started you can even use the MyPyramidTracker. This online dietary and physical activity assessment tool provides you with information on the quality of your diet, physical activity status, and other nutritional information.

Their My Pyramid For Kids Page is designed for children aged 6-11 and comes with a food pyramid interactive game, tips for parents, coloring sheet, and more fun activities for children.



Food pyramids are also available by ethnics and cultures:

Native American Food Pyramid
Mediterranean Diet Pyramid

Return to Childhood Eating Habits Page from "New Food Pyramid "



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