Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Following the food pyramid with superfoods

The USDA created its food pyramid to help Americans understand how many
servings of healthful foods they need every day. You can find more information
on the food pyramid at, but here’s the general idea:

✓ Breads and cereals: Six to eleven servings every day. At least half of your servings from this group should be whole-grain. Choose bread, plain cereals, and pasta. Avoid pastries and sugary cereals.

Fruits and vegetables: At least 2 cups of fruit and 21/2 cups of vegetables.
Eat fresh fruits and vegetables whenever possible, and remember that
cooking methods matter — steaming is better than boiling.

Dairy products and calcium: Three servings every day. Choose low-fat
milk, cheese, or yogurt.

✓ Meats and proteins: Two or three servings each day. Choose fish, poultry,
eggs, lean meats, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Cut back on fatty red
meat and avoid deep-fried meat.

✓ Fats and oils: Two servings of fats and oils daily, which should come
from fish, nuts, seeds, or vegetable oils.

✓ Discretionary calories: The pyramid leaves just a little room for treats —
usually about 100 to 150 calories or so per day.

Here’s how you can fit superfoods into the USDA pyramid:

✓ Breads and cereals: At least half of your servings from this group should
be whole-grain. Superfood grains include oats and quinoa . Both grains make great breakfast cereals, and quinoa can be eaten as a side dish. Oats can be added to bread and other baked goods, and sometimes oats can be used in place of flour in cooking.

✓ Fruits and vegetables: We think this is the most important group because fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrition and fiber, and most people don’t eat enough of them. Superfood fruits include oranges, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries, and pomegranate . All these fruits can be enjoyed as fresh snacks or added to healthful foods. Superfoods vegetables include spinach, broccoli, kale, tomatoes, avocadoes, beets, and carrots. They’re all terrific in salads, sides, and some main dishes.

✓ Dairy products and calcium: We didn’t include any dairy products in our list of superfoods; however, many of our superfoods go great with non-fat yogurt (think of a berry and nut parfait). Non-fat yogurt is a great source of calcium and contains beneficial bacteria that are good for your health. Calcium is very important for good health, and superfoods sources of calcium include spinach, broccoli, and kale; sardines ; soy ; and almonds and Brazil nuts .

✓ Meats and proteins: Salmon, tuna, sardines, and trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acids and low in saturated fat, so they’re terrific as protein sources . Dry beans, soy, and lentils are high-quality plant proteins that can be used as substitutes for high-fat red meats . Nuts and seeds make great protein- and fiber-rich snacks

✓ Fats and oils: Olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids that are good for your health. Flax oil is good for you, too These oils are much healthier than the saturated fats
found in red meat and dairy products. Olive oil is good for cooking or for making salad dressings. You don’t want to cook with flax oil, but it makes a great supplemental oil or topping for salads and vegetables.

✓ Discretionary calories: Depending on how many calories you can have each day, you’ll probably want to save a few for snacks and tasty treats. We suggest a little dark chocolate or a small glass of wine because of their antioxidant properties.


  1. Another great list. Very informative. Whole grain should be more than half I would say but for everyone it might be different.

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