1.This document is FCS8721-Eng, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida. Publication date: August 2001. Reviewed by: Jennifer Hillan, MSH, RD, LD/N, University of Florida. Please visit the EDIS Web site at http://edis.ifas.ufl.eduThe Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer authorized to provide resea rch, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, color, se x, age, handicap, or national origin. For information on obtaining other extension publications, contact your county Cooperative Extension Servic e office. Florida Cooperative Extension Service / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences / University of Florida / Christine Taylor Waddill, Dean 2.Isabel Valentin-Oquendo, MS, RD, LD/N, curriculum coordinator, Family Nutrition Program, Department of Family, Youth, and Com munity Sciences, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, 32611. FCS8721-EngBalance, Moderation, and Variety1Isabel Valentin-Oquendo2The Food Guide Pyramid is a guide that helps us meet the recommendations for healthful eating. The Food Guide Pyramid presents three messages: balance, moderation, and variety.Balance Eat a diet with plenty of foods from the base and second-lowest level of the Pyramid. These are the plant-based foods. In other words . When serving food on your plate, serve vegetables, beans, rice, or pasta first. If you get hungry between meals, reach for a fruit, vegetable, or whole grain food. Eat no more than the recommended number of servings from the third level. Most of these foods are animal products that are high in fat, even though they are nutrient-rich. In other words . Use meats in small amounts. Instead of eating an 8-ounce steak at one sitting, eat half and take the other half home for tomorrows meal.Moderation Eat food portions in serving sizes recommended by the Food Guide Pyramid. In other words . Use measuring cups at home to see what a half cup of cooked pasta or rice looks like. After you have a visual guide of what a serving size looks like, use it when eating out or when serving food on your plate. Choose fats, oils, and sweets once in a while and use in small amounts. In other words . Ask for vinaigrette dressing on the side for your salad. Cook with little or no fat (stirfry, broil, roast) and save fried chicken for a special occasion.
Balance, Moderation, and Variety Page 2 August 2001 Variety Include foods from all food groups every day. In other words . Use a blank Food Guide Pyramid and make check marks in each food group based on what you eat for a few days. Make it a goal to have check marks in each food group most days. Select a variety of foods within each food group. In other words . Even though vegetables in general are rich in vitamins, broccoli, and tomatoes have more vitamin C than others. Sweet potatoes and carrots are excellent sources of vitamin A. You get a variety of important nutrients by eating a variety of vegetables. All foods are equally important and can fit in a healthful diet. Together, they provide nutrients needed for good health. Use the Food Guide Pyramid as a guide and choose foods that meet your family s preference. A little bit of practiceUse the blank Food Guide Pyramid to keep track of foods eaten in a couple of days. Do you have balance ? Are you practicing moderation ? Do you eat a variety of foods?What counts as one serving? Bread, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta1 slice of bread cup of cooked rice or pasta 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal cup of cooked cereal, like oatmealVegetables cup of chopped raw or cooked vegetables 1 cup of leafy raw vegetablesFruits1 small whole fruit cup of juice cup of canned fruit or sliced fresh fruit cup of dried fruit, like raisinsMilk, Yogurt, and Cheese1 cup of milk or yogurt 1 to 2 ounces of cheeseMeat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Eggs, and Nuts2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry or fish Count cup of cooked beans, 1 egg or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter as 1 ounce of meat (about serving)Fats, Oils, and Sweets Use Sparingly! This includes cooking oils, salad dressing, table sugar, butter, and margarine, among others.ResourcesFor more information on how to use the Food Guide Pyramid or to learn more about nutrition and health, contact your local Extension office.