Thursday, April 17, 2008

Website Review: The Food Pyramid

The Food Pyramid is EVERYWHERE these days: on nutrition labels, on bags of raisins, in fast food restaurants,.... It took me a long time to get over the Four Food Groups I was taught in school. Then, I became an advocate of such diets as the South Beach Diet (not a low-carb diet, per se, but a modified carb diet) and thought the Food Pyramid encouraged way too many carbs. Finally, I decided to check it out. You know what I discovered? It's a GREAT tool for anyone wanting to balance their diet, lose weight, keep track of what they eat, or just find out what a serving size really is. And, it's free!

When you visit the My Pyramid site, you will find all sorts of tools to help you live a healthier life. There are separate areas for pregnant women and children, completely customizable eating plans, specific information on caloric needs for given ages/gender/activity level (check the My Pyramid Plan and My Pyramid Tracker), great charts on serving sizes (check Inside the Pyramid and click on the category you're interested in), activity planners, and even a new menu planner feature. It's pretty neat. I found out that, given my need to lose a wee bit of weight (those last few baby pounds), that I should be eating 5-6 servings of grain a day. The general pyramid says 6-11 or something like that, so I'm on the low end. Know what a serving of grain is? 1 piece of bread. Half a cup of cooked rice or oatmeal... in other words, not that much. What area was I most in need of increasing? Vegetables. Go figure. Isn't that always the case?!

I encourage you to check the website out--even just once--and survey its tools. Sure, it's a government website, so if you're leary of the "establishment," you might not take this all seriously. But, on the other hand, your tax dollars are paying for just such websites, and you might as well take advantage of it!

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