• Bookmark and Share
  • Join Us on FacebookJoin Us on Facebook
  • Follow Us on TwitterFollow Us on Twitter
Go Back

Understanding the USDA's Food Pyramid

USDA Food Pyramid

If eating healthy were so easy, the midsection of the nation would be a little trimmer. The truth is much of the problem lies with a lack of understanding of the food basics. While it's true that "healthy" vs. "unhealthy" seems to change every year, the fundamentals remain pretty much the same, so just follow the pyramid.

MyPyramid is the latest of the food guides created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Although it looks a little different from its predecessor, MyPyramid is similar to the original pyramid, but now it's turned on its side. The "four basic food groups" (meat, dairy, vegetables, and fruit) are a thing of the past. Today, colorful vertical stripes represent the six new branches of food each with its own color.

  • Orange = Grains
  • Green = Vegetables
  • Red = Fruits
  • Yellow = Oils
  • Blue = Milk
  • Purple = Meat & Beans

What's more, MyPyramid allows you to create a personalized pyramid that fits your lifestyle and health goals — its custom-made four-step approach recommends a personal eating plan with the foods that are right for you.

  1. Eat a variety of foods. A well-balanced diet includes all the food groups every day and helps ensure we consume the proper nutrients.
  2. Eat more of certain foods … less of others. The width of the colored stripes tells us which foods we should eat more of and which we should minimize. For example: The yellow and purple stripes are thinner because we should be eating smaller portions of oils and meat and other proteins. The orange stripe is the widest, because we need more grains. The stripes also get thinner as they move toward the top to show that not all foods are nutritionally equal … even for foods that are healthy.
  3. Stay physically fit. The image of a person running up the MyPyramid stairs demonstrates the need to be physically active every day.
  4. Take small steps. Because adopting the Food Guide Pyramid at your dinner table does not happen overnight, it's best to begin with one small change each day that will help make improvements in your life.

To get a snap shot of how you are currently meeting the food pyramid guidelines, be sure to check out My Wellness Scorecard and commit to starting today developing your own personal wellness regimen.

Go Back | Top