apples fashioned to look like the food pyramid

Using the Food Pyramid When Shopping for Healthy Food

The food pyramid was designed to help people make healthy food choices, and those choices don’t just begin in the kitchen—they begin in the grocery store. Wrapping your mind around all the information that the pyramid has to offer can be a bit confusing at first, so here are a few tips for how to make the most of your shopping experience while keeping healthy food in mind.

Be prepared.

Making a plan for what you want to buy is good advice for anyone, but it’s especially helpful if you’re trying to follow the guidelines set out by the food pyramid. Having the guide in front of you as you create your grocery list will help you more easily spot foods that don’t fall in line with the nutritional standards and give you time to make the appropriate adjustments. Trying to remember all of the pyramid’s suggestions on the fly can be difficult. Additionally, having a set plan for what you want to buy will make you less likely to succumb to temptation and buy foods that you know are unhealthy.

Use your eyes.

The whole point of the food pyramid is to give users a visual representation of the quantities of each food group that they should be eating. Use that information to keep a close eye on your shopping cart and ensure your portions are correct. Obviously it would be near-impossible to get a perfect match between the pyramid’s guidelines and the products you’re purchasing, but it should help you spot any glaring inconsistencies.

Be flexible.

As mentioned earlier, the aim using the food pyramid is not to get an exact match with the foods you’re actually buying. Instead, make sure you realize that approximating its suggestions is much better than not aiming for them at all. If you get too caught up worrying about following it "to a T," you’re likely to get stressed out and want to abandon it altogether.

Last Updated: September 30, 2015