New Food Guide Pyramid

the food pyramid

the food pyramid

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005, gives science-based advice on food and physical activity choices for health. To see the full 80-page Dietary Guidelines report, click here.

What is a "Healthy Diet"?

The Dietary Guidelines describe a healthy dietas one that

  • Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
  • Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and
  • Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

One size doesn't fit all

USDA's new MyPyramid symbolizes a personalized approach to healthy eating and physical activity. The symbol has been designed to be simple. It has been developed to remind consumers to make healthy food choices and to be active every day. The different parts of the symbol are described below.


Activity is represented by the steps and the person climbing them, as a reminder of the importance of daily physical activity.


Moderation is represented by the narrowing of each food group from bottom to top. The wider base stands for foods with little or no solid fats or added sugars. These should be selected more often. The narrower top area stands for foods containing more added sugars and solid fats. The more active you are, the more of these foods can fit into your diet.


Personalization is shown by the person on the steps, the slogan, and the URL. Find the kinds of amounts of food to eat each day at


Proportionality is shown by the different widths of the food group bands. The widths suggest how much food a person should choose from each group. The widths are just a general guide, not exact proportions. Check the Web site for how much is right for you.


Variety is symbolized by the 6 color bands representing the 5 food groups of the Pyramid and oils. This illustrates that foods from all groups are needed each day for good health.

Gradual Improvement

Gradual improvement is encouraged by the slogan. It suggests that individuals can benefit from taking small steps to improve their diet and lifestyle each day.

What counts as a serving size?

Listed below are the approximate amounts that count as one serving.

Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese

  • 1 cup of milk or yogurt
  • 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese
  • 2 ounces of process cheese

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


  • 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
  • 1/2 cup of other vegetables cooked or chopped raw
  • 3/4 cup of vegetable juice


  • 1 medium apple, banana, orange
  • 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
  • 3/4 cup of fruit juice

Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal
  • 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta

No specific serving size is given for the use of fats, oils, and sweets group because they should be USED SPARINGLY and intake should be limited.

Try to meet all the recommended serving size amounts listed above. Your body needs them for the vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and protein they supply.

Remember, the Food Pyramid is not a rigid prescription, but a valuable reference to help you eat healthy and increase the quality of your life.

Old Food Guide Pyramid

the food pyramid

When choosing a healthy diet, follow the Food Pyramid guidelines developed by USDA and HHS. Simply select the suggested number of servings from the five basic food groups above.  These groups are:

  1. bread, cereal, pasta, and rice (5-11 servings)
  2. vegetables (3-5 servings)
  3. fruits (2-4 servings)
  4. milk, yogurt and cheese (3-5 servings)
  5. meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts (2-3 servings)

A sixth group (fats, oils and sweets) consists mostly of items that are pleasing to the palate, but high in fat and/or calories; these should be eaten in moderation or intake should be limited.