The Food Pyramid is a simple but powerful tool that can be used to help individuals eat healthier. So, in what way does the Food Pyramid help you adhere to a healthy diet, anyway? Through it, health-conscious readers can easily choose and prioritize what they want to eat and drink. In this post, we’ll start off by explaining in detail what a food pyramid is and how it works. In fact, it may not even work the way you think! Then, we’ll talk about why you should follow one and finally end with some practical tips for putting together your own healthy diet and managing your weight.
How the Food Pyramid Works – An Overview
Sometimes achieving healthy habits can be as elusive as finding a mythical unicorn. However, this is where healthy food pyramids can pay dividends and be of great assistance to individuals and families who want to stay healthy for the rest of their lives.
The Food Pyramid is an image with different levels that shows how varying foods and drinks contribute to a healthy and balanced diet. The graphic functions similar to a refrigerator or pantry, giving readers the flexibility to choose the food and drink they want from each shelf.
The Evolution of the Food Pyramid
Sweden published the first Food Pyramid in 1972. Later, the USDA introduced the “Eating Right” Food Pyramid that most of us are familiar with 20 years later. Afterward, Eating Right received widespread criticism that it is not based on science and that it isn’t healthy enough. Since then, other alternatives to The Food Pyramid have become popular, including the Healthy Eating Pyramid.
The Healthy Eating Pyramid
Nutrition experts at Harvard University designed the Healthy Eating Pyramid, and, like other nutritional pyramids, it suggests that a person eats more food and beverages from the pyramid’s base and fewer of them from the top.
However, Harvard’s model is intended to provide a sounder eating guide than that of the USDA’s. Other main differences include taking calcium and multivitamin supplements, as well as moderate amounts of alcohol. Also, the bottom shelf of the Harvard pyramid stresses staying active and what constitutes a healthy eating plate (more on that later).
Using the Food Pyramid
The Healthy Food Pyramid is designed to make healthy eating easier by showing the different food groups and how much of each we need to have a healthy, balanced diet. You can treat this triangular tool much the same as a grocery list too. For instance, toss some whole grains, fruits & vegetables and healthy oils and proteins into your store cart weekly, along with some low-fat dairy items such as yogurt.
What’s on the shelves of the Healthy Food Pyramid?
The Healthy Eating Pyramid is divided into five levels. Starting from the bottom and moving up towards the top of the pyramid, they are:
- The first level depicts the pillars of good health: Daily exercise, weight control and a nutritionally-balanced meal.
- The second level shows vegetables & fruits, healthy fats & oils, and whole grains. You should make each one a third of your daily intake. Off to the right of the pyramid, you can see a list of the recommended healthy fats and whole grains.
- The third level is divided in half, with one half of a daily diet made up of nuts, seeds, beans & tofu and the other half made up of fish, poultry and eggs.
- The fourth level consists of dairy (1-2 servings a day) or Vitamin D/Calcium supplements. The recommendation for supplements is a daily multivitamin with extra vitamin D, not to exceed the NIH recommendation for calcium supplementation that are in the table below:
Recommended Daily Amount (mg)
|Birth to 6 months|
|Infants 7 to 12 months|
|Children 1 to 3 years|
|Children 4 to 8 years|
|Children 9 to 13 years|
|Teens 14 to 18 years|
|Adults 19 to 50 years|
|Adult men 51 to 70 years|
|Adult women 51 to 70 years|
|Adults 71 years and older|
|Pregnant & breastfeeding adults|
- The fifth level includes foods and condiments you should use sparingly such as salt and white rice and bread.
Tips on Creating the Perfect and Healthy Diet Using the Food Pyramid
If you want to incorporate the Healthy Food Pyramid in your meal plans, you can use Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate to do it. The Healthy Eating Plate, together with the Healthy Eating Pyramid, represents the best dietary information in existence today.
The Healthy Eating Plate adopts the Healthy Food Pyramid guidelines and depicts them in a place setting with a plate and glass divided into food groups.
Using it as a guide, eat a variety of vegetables, colorful fruit, whole grains and healthy fats and protein. The graphic also stresses drinking water vs. sugary beverages, while also addressing the fact that you should limit foods such as processed meats, salt, and refined grains.
Here’s another important tip: Healing Hands Chiropractic understands how important it is to stay active and maintain a healthy weight. Therefore, you can work with us to establish a long-term healthy lifestyle and avoid exercise-related injuries.
Summing it all Up
There’s no such thing as being too busy for good health, but that doesn’t mean eating healthier isn’t a daunting task. However, healthy eating is made simpler when you follow the Healthy Food Pyramid and adhere to the Healthy Eating Plate. It takes some planning, preparation, and tweaking of your day-to-day habits, but the benefits will far outweigh the effort!
If you’d like to find out more about how chiropractic care at Healing Hands can help you eat better, maintain a healthy weight, exercise more effectively and live pain-free, please get in touch with us at 615-203-3505. Alternatively, you can fill out our online form to easily book an appointment.