The USDA( United states Department of Agriculture ) published a guide in the year 1992 and is considered as a ready reckoner and a bible for any dietician or nutrtionist. The food guide pyramid suggested optimal nutrition guidelines for each food category, per day, using a pyramid with horizontal dividing lines, to represent suggested percentages of the daily diet for each food group.
Bread, Cereal, Rice & hoe Group
Grain products include foods derived from cereal crops. Cereals, breads, pastas, crackers, and rice all fall under this categorization. Grains supply food energy in the form of starch, and are also a source of protein. Whole grains contain dietary fiber, essential fatty acids, and other important nutrients. Milled grains, though more palatable, have many nutrients removed in the milling process and thus are not as highly recommended as whole grains. Whole grains can be found especially in oatmeal, brown rice, grits, corn tortillas and whole wheat bread. 6-11 servings of grain products are recommended per day.
A vegetable is a part of a plant consumed by humans that is generally savory (not sweet) and not considered grain, fruit, nut, spice, or herb. For example, the stem, root, flower, etc. may be eaten as vegetables. Vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals; however, different vegetables contain different spreads, so it is important to eat a wide variety of types. For example, green vegetables typically contain vitamin C, dark orange and dark green vegetables contain vitamin A,and bushy vegetables like broccoli and related plants contain iron and calcium. Vegetables are very low in fats and calories, but cooking can often add these 3-5 servings of vegetables in a day. They may be fresh, frozen, canned, or made into juices.
In terms of food (rather than botany), fruits are the sweet-tasting seed-bearing parts of plants, or occasionally sweet parts of plants which do not bear seeds.
These include apples, oranges, plums, berries, and grapes, etc. Fruits are low in calories and fat and are a source of natural sugars, fibre and vitamins. Processing fruits when canning or making into juices unfortunately often adds sugars and removes nutrients; therefore fresh fruit or canned fruit packed in juice rather than syrup is recommended. The fruit food group is sometimes combined with the vegetable food group. It is best to consume 8-10 servings of fruit in a day. They may be fresh, frozen, canned, dried, or made into juice.
Note that many foods that are considered fruits in botany because they bear seeds are not considered fruits in cuisine because they lack the characteristic sweet taste.
Milk, Yogurt & Cheese Group
Dairy products are produced from the milk of mammals, most usually but not exclusively cattle. They include milk and yogurt and cheese. They are the best source for the mineral calcium, but also provide protein, phosphorus, vitamin A, and in fortified milk, vitamin D. However, many dairy products are high in fat, which is why skimmed products are available as an alternative. For adults, 2-3 servings of dairy products are recommended per day.
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs & Nuts Group
Meat is the tissue - usually muscle - of an animal consumed by humans. Since most parts of many types of animals are edible, there is a vast variety of meats. Meat is a major source of protein, as well as iron, zinc, and vitamin B. Meats include beef, chicken, pork, salmon, tuna, and shrimp, etc.
However, since many of the same nutrients found in meat can also be found in foods like eggs, dry beans, and nuts, such foods are typically placed in the same category as meats, as meat alternatives. These include tofu, products that resemble meat or fish but are made with soy, eggs, and cheese.
Although meats provide energy and nutrients, they are often high in fat and cholesterol, and can be high in sodium. Simply trimming off fatty tissue can go a long way towards reducing this negative effect. 2-3 servings per day of meat or alternatives are recommended. For those who are ethically opposed to consuming meat or animal products (People who are vegetarians), meat analogues such as tofu are available to fill this nutritional niche.
Fats, Oils, and Sweets
Fats, Oils, and Sweets are at the top of the food pyramid because it is the smallest section, indicating that, while they do have nutritional value, they should be used sparingly.
By using this pyramid and including these in our daily diet we can lead a healthy life.