Playing with Blocks Basics of the Food Pyramids

Food pyramids are comprised of building blocks for grown-ups. Instead of letters in the alphabet, these blocks represent food groups that you can put together to create a picture of a healthful diet.

The essential message of all good guides to healthful food choices is that no one food is either good or bad — how much and how often you eat a food is what counts. With that in mind, a food pyramid delivers three important messages:

1 Variety: The fact that the pyramid contains several blocks tells you that no single food gives you all the nutrients you need.

1 Moderation: Having blocks smaller than others tells you that although every food is valuable, some — such as fats and sweets — are best consumed in small amounts.

i Balance: You can't build a pyramid with a set of identical blocks. Blocks of different sizes show that a healthful diet is balanced: the right amount from each food group.

Clearly, the virtue of a food pyramid is that using it enables you to eat practically everything you like — as long as you follow the recommendations on how much and how frequently (or infrequently) to eat it.

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