Food Group Plan For

With MyPyramid you can: (1) make smart choices from every food group, (2) find your balance between food and physical activity, and (3) get the most nutrition out of your calories. Where do you start? First know roughly how many calories you need in a day. Then plan your day's food and beverage choices to match. Refer to "Your Nutrition CheckUp" in this chapter to do that!

For ease MyPyramid provides twelve food-group plans, each created for a different calorie level, from 1,600 to 3,200 calories. How much you need from each food group and oils depends on how many calories you need overall. The more energy (calories) your body uses, the more calories you need. Your energy needs depend on your age, gender, height and weight, and level of physical activity. MyPyramid's daily advice shows how you can get enough

MyPyramid: In a Nutshell

Food Group*


Make half your grains whole.

Food Group Strategies Steps for making smart food group choices appear throughout this book.

  • Eat at least 3 ounces of whole grains: cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta.
  • 1 ounce is about 1 slice of bread, or about 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or V2 cup of cooked rice, cereal, or pasta.

How Much? For a 2,000-calorie diet, you need this amount every day**

6 ounce equivalents

Vegetables • Eat more dark-green 2V2 cups

Vary your veggies. veggies like broccoli, spinach, and other dark leafy greens.

  • Eat more orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes.
  • Eat more dry beans and peas like pinto beans, kidney beans, and lentils.

Fruit • Eat a variety of fruit. 2 cups

Focus on fruits. • Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit. • Go easy on fruit juices.


Get your calcium-rich foods.

Meat and Beans Go lean with protein.

3 cups (For kids aged 2 to 8, it's 2 cups.)

  • Go low-fat or fat-free when you choose milk, yogurt, and other milk products.
  • If you don't or can't consume milk, choose lactose-free products or other calcium sources such as calcium-fortified food and beverage.
  • Choose low-fat or lean 5V2 ounces meats and poultry.
  • Bake it, broil it, or grill it.
  • Vary your protein routine -choose more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.


Find your balance between food and physical activity.

  • Be sure to stay within your daily calorie needs.
  • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
  • About 60 minutes a day of physical activity may be needed to prevent weight gain.
  • For sustaining weight loss, at least 60 to 90 minutes a day of physical activity may be required.
  • Children and teenagers should be physically active for 60 minutes every day, or most days.

Know the limits on fats, sugars, and salt (sodium).

  • Make most of your fat sources from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
  • Limit solid fats like butter, margarine, shortening, and lard, as well as foods that contain these.
  • Check the Nutrition Facts label to keep saturated fats, trans fats, and sodium low.
  • Choose foods and beverages low in added sugars. Added sugars contribute calories with few, if any, nutrients.


  • Some foods don't fit into any group. These "extras" may be mainly fat or added sugar—limit your intake of these.
  • For the amounts that are right for you, check "MyPyramid: Food Intake Patterns" in the Appendices, or go to

nutrients within a calorie budget. Refer to "MyPyramid: Food Intake Patterns" in the Appendices to plan for your calorie level or go to

For the five food groups and oils, recommendations are given in cups and ounces, not in servings and serving sizes. Your entire day's choices are what count, not how many food-group servings you eat during a meal or snack.

"MyPyramid: In a Nutshell" shows how you might spread out your food choices if you need 2,000 calories a day.

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