people who use the food pyramid

5 Tips for Using the Food Pyramid

  1. Add some variety.

    The food pyramid offers healthy food suggestions for each of its different groups, but there’s nothing stopping you from branching out and trying foods within those groups that aren’t explicitly listed. In fact, adding variety to the options it gives you is a great way to keep your diet interesting and novel. The longer things stay fun and new, the more likely you will be able to stick with the food guide for the long term.

  2. Don’t overthink it.

    The food guide pyramid is just that—a guide. If you spend too much time worrying about things like getting exactly the right ratio of vegetables to grains, the entire process will start to feel like a chore. When this happens, you run the risk of abandoning the food pyramid altogether.

  3. Understand that it’s not perfect.

    While there’s no doubt that the food guide pyramid can help you make healthy food choices, keep in mind that it has its drawbacks as well. For example, in its current iteration, MyPlate, the guide does not give any indication about what quantity of fats and oils a person should be consuming daily. Since they’re not difficult to find, there’s a probable risk that people will get too much of these high-calorie, high-fat substances in their daily diets.

  4. Choose healthy proteins.

    The current food pyramid has one section devoted simply to “protein.” However, not all proteins are created equal. To make your diet as healthy as possible, opt for either plant-based or lean proteins. These include things like beans, lentils, chicken, and turkey.

  5. Don’t rely on it alone.

    The food pyramid does a relatively good job at helping people choose healthy foods, but ideally it shouldn’t be the only gauge you use for your diet. Don’t neglect things like calories or the nutritional makeup of your food, or you may find yourself malnourished or overweight. While it varies from person to person, most individuals need anywhere from 1500 to 2000 calories daily to maintain their current weight. You can find recommended daily nutrition requirements on most food packages.

Last Updated: August 28, 2014