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Kent County Wellness Site
Wellness Tools

Food Guide Pyramid

Food Pyramid



What Counts As A Serving?

Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta

1 slice of bread
1 oz. of ready-eat-cereal
1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta


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, or orange
1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
3/4 cup of fruit juice

Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese

1 cup of milk or yogurt
1-1/2 ounces of natural cheese
2 ounces of processed 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

Grains: At the base of the pyramid are breads, cereals, rice and pasta. These foods, all from grains, should provide the foundation or largest portion of your meals. They provide energy and key nutrients the body needs every day. When you use whole-grain products, they also provide dietary fiber which is protective against both heart disease and cancer.

Fruits and Vegetables: The next level includes fruits and vegetables. Most people need to eat more of these foods. They are rich sources of vitamins and minerals but are very low in calories and fat, and are cholesterol free. Fruits and vegetables also contain antioxidants and other substances that are now recognized as helpful in preventing heart disease, cancer and other many other health problems. The majority of your food should come from these first two levels.

Meat and Dairy: As you rise higher in the food pyramid, notice that the area or size of the higher levels are smaller. The milk and meat (better called protein foods) groups are important but should be used in smaller portions because that are higher in fat, calories and cholesterol. When using milk and cheese, look for the nonfat or low-fat products. If you don't drink milk or use milk products, be sure to get adequate calcium and vitamin B-12 from other foods or from dietary supplements. If you eat meat, choose those that are lowest in fat: skinless chicken, lean meats, fish.

Vegetable Proteins: Adequate protein can also come from vegetable protein sources if you eat a variety of them. Good examples of vegetable protein sources include: legumes (e.g., peas, beans, garbanzoes, kidney beans, split peas), tofu, nuts and peanut butter, and meat alternates made from combinations of these products such as "vegeburgers", meatless hot dogs and steaklets (made from soy, gluten, and other ingredients).

Fats and Sweets: The tip of the pyramid is small and indicates these foods should be used sparingly. These are the foods that are high in fat, sugar, and calories and lowest in nutrients (just the opposite of what most of us need). Limit fats, oils and sweets to a minimum for the best health and to maintain a healthy weight.

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