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Food pyramid, how to eat properly?

Food pyramid, how to eat properly?
Food pyramid, how to eat properly?

Food Pyramid this is one we’ve all seen at some point during the school years, but we’ve never been able to follow properly, or at least the vast majority of people do.

The food pyramid is designed to make food more correct. Simplify the concept so that everyone can follow it without fear of mistakes.

What is a healthy diet?

Basically in getting the right amount of nutrients such as proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals that the body needs to keep us in full physical condition.

Foods that contain the same nutrients are grouped together at the same level of the food pyramid.

This cataloging allows you to differentiate the appropriate products according to what time of day, or depending on the needs of each person. In this way, it will also allow you to regulate the number of calories you need to consume, and thus achieve the nutritional balance needed for the day.

Numerous studies confirm that we take in too many calories from foods and beverages high in fat, sugar and salt.

They are on the top shelf of the food pyramid because they offer very few essential vitamins and minerals.

The pyramid is as follows:

  • At the bottom, which is equivalent to foods that you need to eat more often, you will find complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Pasta, bread, fruits and vegetables these are called
  • In the second stage, there are products that contain a better carbohydrate-protein ratio (without excessive excess of calories). These are fish, dairy products, nuts, eggs and poultry.
  • In the third stage, there are foods that we should consume less due to the high content of fats and simple carbohydrates. This is red meat, sweets or butter.

4 Simple tips to help your health

  • Make your diet balanced and varied by following the food pyramid.
  • In addition, to feed yourself properly, supplement it with physical activity to improve your weight and well-being.
  • Your diet should have as main pillars whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, but if you do, do it in moderation.

Food pyramid in depth

Back in the 60’s there were theories or recommendations that are very close to the current food pyramid. Today, the concept of the pyramid applies to all countries of the world, and Western citizens are the closest to follow them correctly.

The number or number of servings of each food that a person should consume depends on four factors: weight, age, sex and physical activity.

Following the recommendations of the pyramid, we would get from 1660 to 2800 calories a day. What the pyramid offers is the choice of nutrients according to their regularity.

Recommended amounts

Minimum / maximum portions of each food category according to the food pyramid:

  • Bread, cereals, pasta and rice: 6/11 servings per day. 1 serving is equal to: 1 slice of bread, ½ bowls of pasta, 28 grams of cereals, 3-4 small crackers.
  • Vegetables: 3/5 servings per day.
  • Fruits: 2/4 serving per day.
  • Milk, yogurt or cheese: 2/3 serving per day.
  • 1 serving is equal to: 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 50 grams of cheese.
  • Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts: 2/3 serving per day. 1 serving is equal to: 70 g of grilled meat, poultry or fish (150-200 g daily), 1 egg, (cups of cooked vegetables, 30 g of dried fruit.
  • Fats and sweets (consumed from time to time): these are fats with a high fat content: margarine, butter, mayonnaise, cream, cream cheese and sauces.

It is important to distinguish between healthy fats, such as those that contain nuts or olive oil, and fats that contain chips or sweets.

Rational consumption of olive oil is recommended, given its connection with the prevention of chronic diseases.

These are products with a high sugar content: sweets, sweets, fruit in syrup, soft drinks and packaged juices, cakes, sugar, honey and jams.

In case of any doubts, simplification

  • A healthy diet contains a good portion of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and cereals.
  • A variety of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • A little milk, cheese and yogurt.
  • Some meat, fish, poultry, eggs and nuts.
  • Very little fat and oil.
  • Limit foods and beverages high in fat, sugar and salt.

This pyramid format tells us that most staple foods must be rich in complex carbohydrates, and as they get higher in the pyramid, food becomes more and more random.

The fundamental thing is to make people aware that they are consuming a variety of foods in each group or category, and to choose people who are high in nutrients rather than high in empty calories such as sugar.

To this distribution of food should be added the daily consumption of 2 liters of water and the practice of some regular physical activity.

Additives

In the case of eating a varied and balanced diet, there is no reason to take supplements such as vitamins or minerals, except for medical advice due to problems such as hair loss or similar causes.

However, in the case of women who want to get pregnant, folic acid is recommended.

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Women who take the recommended daily dose of folic acid at least a month before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy reduce the risk of your baby with neural tube defects by 50-70%.

There are some studies which  shows  that folic acid can also help reduce the risk of a baby having other defects, such as a certain types of heart defects.

Fruits, vegetables, legumes and seeds

These four shapes are the largest part of the pyramid because they are the most important products of our diet. They make up about 70% of what we eat.

Plant foods contain a variety of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are also a major source of carbohydrates and fiber in our diet.

Children over the age of 8, teens and adults should try to eat at least two servings of fruits and 5 servings of vegetables or legumes daily.

Other recommendations

Use herbs and spices

Herbs and spices give food an amazing variety of flavors and aromas.

Many herbs and spices have beneficial properties for health, but in our society they are usually used in small quantities because their main purpose is to provide flavor and color to our dishes.

Cooking with herbs and spices is an easy way to replace salts or oils that can be harmful with regular use.

Drink water

Water is the best drink to stay hydrated, and the best weapon to continue basic functions in the body. Drink water as your main beverage and avoid sugary options such as soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks.

Limit salt and add sugar

The food pyramid reminds us to limit the consumption of salt and added sugars that are present in processed foods.

This means controlling their use when we cook or eat, and avoiding foods and beverages that contain salt or added sugar in packaged foods.

Replace them with natural remedies. We currently have many opportunities to make our home products, be it tools or the same products.

Make vegetable juices, fruit smoothies and put them in a container that you have on hand around your home. This way, you will save money without buying them in stores, and you will take care of your health at the same time.

Despite one of the best habits in the world, in the Mediterranean countries we consume too much salt and add sugar. This is very dangerous because of its association with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Being able to cook your own meals at home, as well as choosing minimally processed foods, will also help limit the amount of salt and sugar we consume.

Salt (sodium)

Sodium is found in salt and is found naturally in some foods. Although we need small amounts of sodium for good health, excess salt is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.

As a recommendation, avoid adding salt to food during cooking and eating, and read labels to choose foods that have less than 120 mg of sodium per 100 grams.

Sugar is added

Consuming large amounts of added sugars – especially foods such as chocolate, cakes, cookies, desserts and soft drinks – can make you earn a few pounds that you don’t want.

This can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. Too much sugar can also cause tooth decay.

Most fruits, vegetables, legumes and dairy products that do not contain sugar contain small amounts of sugars, which are not harmful if they occur in nature.

Choose fresh or minimally processed foods and check the ingredients in all packaged foods and beverages to see if sugar has been added.

Dietary example from the pyramid

Breakfast

Yogurt or a glass of milk, bread toast with olive oil and a piece of fruit. With this breakfast we will supply a good amount of milk, cereals, healthy fats and vitamins.

In the morning

A couple of pieces of fruit.

Lunch (several options)

  • First course: pasta, potatoes or legumes are ideal for cooking the first course. Also a little bread to accompany. (High content in cereals)
  • Second course: meat or fish. During the week the fish takes 4 days and 2 meats. (High protein content)
  • Vegetables accompany or are part of the first and second course. In summer, gazpacho is the most complete. (High amount of fiber, vitamins and minerals)
  • Water should be a regular drink. Soft drinks will be reserved for special occasions.
  • As for salt, it is preferable to use iodized (and not abuse it).
  • The fat we take is olive oil.
  • For dessert, a piece of fruit or natural juice. Sweet desserts are only for special occasions, and are always better if they are homemade.

Snack

So in the morning he took yogurt, now a glass of milk (but vice versa) along with cookies, nuts and fruit.

The snack is rich in dairy, cereals and fruits.

Supper

Salad, vegetable stew, vegetable puree or cream (any form), egg, meat or fish (according to the protein eaten at noon).

Drink water or natural juice.

Dinner is rich in vitamins, antioxidants, fiber and protein.