Food Pyramid & Guide (cont.)

Margo Wootan, DSc, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, says the revised pyramid is a modest improvement over the 1992 pyramid because of its emphasis on limiting calories and individualized dietary recommendations. But she also criticizes the effort for not doing enough to minimize Americans' intake of fat- and calorie-dense junk food.

"The USDA really dodged the politically difficult message of encouraging Americans to eat less," she says.

While the revamped food pyramid may seem confusing at first, you can get well on your way to a healthier, new you by following the basics for adults.

Grains

  • Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain bread, cereal, crackers, rice, or pasta every day.
  • Look for "whole" before the grain name on the list of ingredients.

Vegetables

  • Eat more dark green vegetables.
  • Eat more orange vegetables.
  • Eat more dry beans and peas.

Fruits

  • Eat a variety of fruit.
  • Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit.
  • Go easy on fruit juices.

Oils

  • Get most of your fat from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
  • Limit solid fats like butter, stick margarine, shortening, and lard.

Milk

  • Go low-fat or fat-free.
  • If you don't or can't drink milk, choose lactose-free products or other calcium sources.

Meat & Beans

  • Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry.
  • Bake it, broil it, or grill it.
  • Vary your choices -- with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.

SOURCES: WebMD Medical News: "New Food Guide Gets Personal" by Todd Zwillich. WebMD Feature: "Climbing to the Top of the Food Pyramid" by Collette Bouchez.

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Last Editorial Review: 2/9/2006