From a young age I remember using the food pyramid on the side of a cereal box as a basic guide. It’s now been updated, here is what has changed and why.
We start by looking at the top left and noticing a big red X. Simply, salt and sugar are added for taste, and they are in so many things, you end up with more than the recommended daily amount. Please note added sugars are not the naturally occurring ones in fruits and unsweetened dairy foods.
Healthy fats such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds and fish are essential for heart health and brain function. Limit saturated fats and avoid trans fats where possible.
As we move into the middle of the pyramid we see the standard base for most meals. Too many of my patients dominate their plates with these middle layers, be it dairy, meat and fish. They are sitting in the middle of the pyramid for the reason that, together they should fill up to half your plate. Dairy, meat and seeds give us calcium, protein, iron, and other essential nutrients and minerals.
Bread, grains and pasta make up the next part of the pyramid and should largely be whole grains (such as oats and brown rice) and wholemeal varieties of bread and pasta, as opposed to the largely refined option. The biggest issue with most diets is that vegetables are simply not a prominent enough figure. They dominate the pyramid here, covering the largest area and forming a solid base, which is the point – rather than higher is better. Vegetables, legumes and fruits should cover half your plate and should vary often. You can see the amount of green down there!
How many of you can honestly say that 70% of your diet is from the grains and bottom colourful layer?
My weaknesses (favourites) are coffee and chocolate. I am only human. And I love plain, delicious water.
Look after yourself.