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How many servings are right for me?
The Pyramid shows a range of servings for each major food group. The number of servings that are right for you depends on how many calories you need, which in turn depends on your age, sex, size, and how active you are. Almost everyone should have at least the lowest number of servings in the ranges.
The following calorie level suggestions are based on recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences and on calorie intakes reported by people in national food consumption surveys.
about right for most children, teenage girls, active women, and many sedentary men. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding may need somewhat more.
For young children
It is hard to know how much food children need to grow normally. If you're unsure, check with your doctor. Preschool children need the same variety of foods as older family members do, but may need less than 1,600 calories. For fewer calories they can eat smaller servings. However, it is important that they have the equivalent of 2 cups of milk a day.
are an active woman
If you are between
Now, take a look at the table below. It tells you how many servings you need for your calorie level. For example, if you
Total Fat (grams)
93 Total Added Sugarso (teaspoons) 6 12
18 'Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, teenagers, and young adults to age 24 need 3 servings. Meat group amounts are in total ounces. (See pages 22 and 23 for details on how to count amounts of meat and other foods in this group.) See the Pyramid Food Choices Chart for details on how to count total fat (pages 25 to 27). "See chart on page 16 for details on how to count teaspoons of added sugars.
What is a
The amount of food that counts as a serving is listed on the next page. If you eat a larger portion, count it as more than one serving. For example, 1/2 cup of cooked pasta counts as one serving in the bread, cereal, rice, and Do I need to pasta group. If you eat 1 measure servings? cup of pasta, that would be
No. Use servings only as two servings. If you eat a a general guide. For mixed smaller portion, count it as foods, do the best you can part of a serving.
to estimate the food group
servings of the main ingreIsn't 6 to 11
dients. For example, a servings of breads
generous serving of pizza and cereals a lot? would count in the bread It may sound like a lot,
group (crust), the milk but it's really not. For group (cheese), and the example, a slice of bread is vegetable group (tomato); one serving, so a sandwich
a helping of beef stew for lunch would equal two would count in the meat servings. A small bowl of
group and the vegetable cereal and one slice of
Both have some fat toast for breakfast are two fat in the cheese on the more servings. And, if you pizza and in the gravy from have a cup of rice or pasta the stew, if it's made from at dinner, that's two more meat drippings. servings. A snack of 3 or 4 small plain crackers adds What if I want yet another serving. So to lose or gain now you've had 7 servings. weight? It adds up quicker than The best and simplest
way to lose weight is to increase your physical activity and reduce the fat and sugars in your diet.
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts
2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat,
poultry, or fish
1/2 cup of cooked dry beans, 1 egg, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter count as
1 ounce of lean meat
fat—such as whole milk instead of skim milk. Or you may want to use it in cooking or at the table in the form of spreads, dressings, or toppings.
How much fat can I have?
It depends on your calorie needs. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans limit fat in their diets to 30 percent of calories. This amounts to 53 grams of fat in a 1,600calorie diet, 73 grams of fat in a 2,200-calorie diet, and 93 grams of fat in a 2,800- calorie diet.
You will get up to half this fat even if you pick the lowest fat choices from each food group and add no fat to your foods in preparation or at the table.
You decide how to use the additional fat in your daily diet. You may want to have foods from the five major food groups that are higher in
How to check your diet for fat
If you want to be sure you have a lowfat diet, you can count the grams of fat in your day's food choices using the Pyramid Food Choices Chart on pages 25 to 27, and compare them to the number of grams of fat suggested for your calorie level.
You don't need to count fat grams every day, but doing a fat checkup once in awhile will help keep you on the right track. If you find you are eating too much fat, choose lower fat foods more often.
You can figure the number of grams of fat that provide 30% of calories in your daily diet as follows:
A. Multiply your total day's calories by 0.30 to get your calories from fat per day. Example: 2,200 calories x 0.30 = 660 calories from fat. B. Divide calories from fat per day by 9 (each gram of fat has 9 calories) to get grams of fat per day. Example: 660 calories from fat - 9 = 73 grams of fat