Home fruits and vegetables The Food Pyramid – 2

The Food Pyramid – 2

written by Vidya Sury November 11, 2010

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Continued from part 1

Fruits in the Food pyramid

Believe it or not, there’s a limit to the amount of fruit you should eat. Why? For adults, it’s because of the calories. Fruits are double the calories of vegetables . The total daily recommended amounts for fruits are for 1 to 1.5 cups for children ages 2 to 8 years, 1.5 cups for most women and girls over 9 years old, and 2 cups for men and boys over age 9. Fruit provides great nutrients and fiber, but a lot of fiber could upset a young child’s intestinal tract, explaining the reason for the smaller recommended amount. Examples equivalent to 1 cup of fruit are a large banana, peach, or orange; 32 grapes or 8 big strawberries; or a small apple.

Fats and Oils

Most people get enough fat in their diet — think about how often you reach for salad dressing or sauté veggies in olive oil.

The food pyramid guidelines say we should eat only 5 to 7 teaspoons a day (3 to 4 teaspoons for children ages 2 to 8 years old). If you need only 1,600 calories a day to maintain optimal weight and want your diet to include more nutritious foods, you don’t have much room for margarine and oil. The food pyramid does include a category called discretionary calories — calories left to “spend” after you account for the calories in your essential foods — so you might have a little leeway there. Just remember – you will have more discretionary calories if you exercise more.

Milk and dairy

According to the food pyramid, children under the age of 8 need 2 cups of milk per day; for everyone else, 3 cups is the recommendation. Girls are notorious for not drinking milk. And they also aren’t as active as teenage boys, who play more impact sports — activities that prompt bone growth. Active youngsters, Sandon says, need close to 4 cups of dairy products daily. There are a lot of people who don’t drink milk at all. They are lacking calcium and vitamin D. Osteoporosis is a disease you don’t see until later in life but it’s linked to lack of calcium and vitamin D early in life. Dairy options equal to 1 cup of milk are 1.5 ounces of hard cheese, 1 cup of yogurt, and 1 cup of pudding made with milk — keep in mind that some of these choices have more calories than low-fat or fat-free milk.

Continued tomorrow!

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Vidya Sury

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