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MyPyramid helps families find balanced nutrition

Published On: Jan 10 2012 09:27:38 AM CST   Updated On: Sep 04 2012 03:25:14 PM CDT
Farmer's market, vegetables

iStock / KingWu

(NewsUSA) - MyPyramid -- also known as the food pyramid -- is a guide for good eating for healthy people ages two to 102. It serves as the blueprint for better nutrition, focusing on foods to include, rather than exclude, in a diet for you and your family. The pyramid's eating patterns are meant to help you increase your intake of essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and fiber; minimize saturated fat, trans fats, and cholesterol; and help to promote a healthy weight.

MyPyramid is based on the latest scientific evidence about nutrition reflected in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The best part of MyPyramid is that it is easily personalized to fit your needs and food preferences. Under the MyPyramid system, you pick the suggested amount of food from the food groups based on your age, gender, and physical activity level. You can figure out what you need at www.MyPyramid.gov.

Here are some tips for including the nutrient-rich foods MyPyramid recommends from each food group:

Grains: Go With the Whole Grain

* Start the day with a natural, whole grain cereal to get nearly all the whole grain you need.

* Prepare sandwiches with whole grain breads.

* Snack on popcorn -- a whole grain -- rather than pretzels and snack chips.

Vegetables: Variety Is Key

* Make vegetables part of soups, casseroles, meatloaf and pasta dishes.

* Serve raw, sliced vegetables with peanut butter or hummus for snacks.

* Choose bean-based soups, such as lentil, and add beans to salads.

Fruits: How to Get Your Fill

* Stock up on dried fruit. It's portable and versatile.

* Keep fruit in plain sight so kids and adults will think to snack on it.

* Puree canned fruits, such as apricots, or berries, and combine with plain yogurt.

Milk: Dairy Delivers Nutrients

* Work in a serving of fat-free or low-fat milk when you have a bowl of cereal. Microwave oatmeal with milk instead of water.

* Make a smoothie with fruit and milk.

* Sneak a piece of low-fat cheddar into your sandwich.

Meat & Beans: An Array of Animal and Vegetable Choices

* Make chili with half the lean ground beef and twice the beans.

* Sick of chicken? Opt for pork tenderloin. It has less fat than skinless, boneless chicken breast.

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