The Food Pyramid – 3

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An emergency sojourn at the dentist’s clinic – hence the delay with continuing this wonderful series on the Food Pyramid. Do read Part 1 and Part 2

Here is Part 3…

Meat and Beans

Although this category is called “meat and beans” on the pyramind, it actually includes meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. For most people, getting enough protein isn’t usually a problem — the goal is getting lean protein without saturated fat and extra calories. For instance, an 8-ounce T-bone steak weighs in at 600 calories. On the food pyramid, the key proteins listed in the meat and beans group are measured in ounce equivalents. Most people need just 5 to 6.5 ounce equivalents a day — 2 ounces of sliced chicken in a salad or on a sandwich for lunch and a 4-ounce fish filet at dinner will do it. Children under 8 years of age need even less, between 2 and 4 ounces a day. Keep in mind that the protein in dairy helps contribute to your protein needs. 

Beans

The food pyramid designers appreciate that not everyone eats meat. The Pyramid does recognize vegans and vegetarians. It uses meat equivalents.

On the pyramid beans fill two roles: as protein sources and as vegetables. They are measured as ounce equivalents. One-quarter cup of any type of cooked beans or dry peas is a 1-ounce equivalent. That means if you eat a main dish of a cup of lentils or of black beans, for instance, you’ve had 4-ounce equivalents, or almost a full day’s requirement. Note that soy is included as well: 2 ounces or a quarter-cup of tofu is also considered one-ounce equivalent. Tempeh, soybeans, and hummus count too.

Fish

Fish is also in the meat and beans group in the food pyramid. While you should avoid fish with high mercury levels such as swordfish and light tuna, make other fish with heart-healthy fats staples of your diet. It comes back to that message of variety — don’t just eat red meat as your source of protein. And too much chicken, she says, can get boring. Every ounce of fish counts one for one toward your daily ounce-equivalent protein needs — a 3-ounce can of tuna is 3-ounce equivalents, a 6-ounce salmon steak is 6-ounce equivalents, and so on.

Nuts

Nuts and seeds belong to the meat and beans group, too. One-ounce equivalents include 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, 2 tablespoons of hummus, and a half-ounce of nuts or seeds. Remember that nuts are calorie-dense — a half-ounce is just seven walnut halves or a dozen almonds. Because they contain fat, nuts also can count toward the fats and oil category. They are a great source of vitamin E, and are a heart-healthy type of fat — oils from nuts and other plant sources do not contain cholesterol.

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Vidya Sury

After more than a decade in the corporate corporate work, I retired from my corporate career at 33 to focus on family. A change in priorities, and a passion for writing inspired me to start working from home and I am now living my dream as a writer and editor. I write content for clients, blog for businesses and edit manuscripts for publishers/authors. With six blogs of my own and published contributions across the web (The Huffington Post, PTPA, World of Moms, SheKnows), I writes to collect smiles and donate to charities. I shares stories about all the things I enjoy in life; parenting, mindful living, conversations, coffee, books, food, music, health, DIY, travel, photography and showing my diabetes who’s boss.

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