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What is the "Food Pyramid"?

Adolescents And The Food Pyramid

Shannon Duffy (Registered Dietician & Child Nutritionist, Children's Hospital Los Angeles) gives expert video advice on: What is the "Food Pyramid"?; How can the Food Pyramid help me create healthier meals for my child?; What is a "single serving size"?

What is the "Food Pyramid"?

The “Food Pyramid” is a guide that was designed to help us figure out how much food to eat and what kinds of foods should we eat. We need to eat a variety of foods. We need foods from each of the food groups, and within each food group there's a range, as shown in the Food Pyramid. There are foods that are healthier for us, those are foods that are closer to the earth. Foods that are not as healthy for us have had a lot more machine or human touch. We want to have most of our food from all the different food groups, from the foods close to the earth, and only a small amount of foods that are manufactured, or have had a lot of human touch.

How can the Food Pyramid help me create healthier meals for my child?

Your best bet for using the food guide pyramid to help you feed your child healthily is to go to www.mypyramid.gov. On that website's homepage, you can enter in your child's age, gender and the activity level, and then an individualized meal plan will be given to you. For example, if we have a five year old who is a boy, weighs 20lbs and has 30 minutes of activity a day, he will most likely have an 1800 calorie diet presented to them. That pyramid diet will then be broken down in to 6 ounces of grains, 2 1/2 cups of fruit, 3 1/2 cups of vegetables, small amount of oils, 3 cups of dairy and 5 ounces of protein.

What is a "single serving size"?

A single serving is not what is on your plate. A single serving will vary depending on the child's age. For example, for a newborn, a single serving of fruit is one tablespoon. That's not enough for one serving for me. For a kid less than 8 years old, maybe 6 years old, half a piece of fruit is equal to one serving. Older than 6, a whole piece of fruit is one serving. So you can see, as the child progresses in age, even though they may need maybe more servings per day, or maybe even the same amount of servings per day, the quantity of food also changes.