Many of us remember learning about the food pyramid in grade school. It is the FDA's guide to how many servings of what foods we needed to eat each day for a healthy diet. In 2005, the food pyramid was replaced with a new one. The following recommendations are based on age, physical activity and sex and are appropriate for individuals who get less than 30 minutes of exercise daily.
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Diets containing lots of fruits and vegetables can reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, Type-2 diabetes, cancer of the mouth, stomach and colon, and can help reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. Fruits and vegetables are also a rich source of potassium for healthy bones.
The recommended daily allowance for young children 2 to 8 years of age is 1 to 1½ cups of vegetables daily. Girls 9 to 18 should get 2 to 2½ cups of vegetables each day while boys in the same age group need 2½ to 3 cups a day. Women, aged 19 to 50 should consume 2½ cups of vegetables daily, and women over the age of 50 need 2 cups daily. Men, in the 19 to 50 age group should eat 3 cups of vegetables a day and men over the age of 50, 2½ cups a day.
Fruit consumption for children from 2 to 8 years old should be 1 to 1½ cups daily. Girls aged 9 to 18 are recommended to eat 1½ cups of fruit a day. Boys in the same age group should have 1½ to 2 cups of fruit daily. The recommendation for women aged 19 to 30 is 2 cups of fruit per day and for women over 30, 1½ cups each day is recommended. Men over the age of 19 should have 2 cups of fruit a day.
Milk contains calcium for strong bones and teeth it is also rich in potassium and helps maintain a healthy blood pressure. Vitamin D helps maintain healthy levels of phosphorous and calcium. Milk is equally beneficial whether it is low fat milk or fat-free.
The FDA recommends that young children, ages 2 through 8 consume 2 cups of milk a day. Both girls and boys 9 to 18 should have 2 cups a day. The recommendation for men and women over the age of 19 is 3 cups per day.
High-fibre foods found in the grain category such as whole wheat breads and cereals, oats and bran can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, reduce instances of constipation. When at least 85.1gr of grain are consumed daily, it can help maintain a healthy weight.
Grains are measured in equivalents. For instance, 1 cup of dry cereal or a single slice of wheat bread is considered equivalent to one ounce of grain, Â½ cup of cooked rice, pasta or cooked cereal would be a one-ounce equivalent.
Children ages 2 and 3 are recommended to have 85.1gr a day. The recommendation for children 4 to 8 is 113 to 142gr. For girls aged 9 to 13 the recommendation is 142gr and girls 14 to 18 it is 170gr. Boys 9 to 13 should have 170gr of grain a day and for boys 14 to 18 the daily recommendation is 198gr. Women 19 to 50 should have 170gr of grains daily. After age 50, 170gr daily is recommended. The RDA for men 19 to 50 is 227gr and men over 50 only 170gr.
This category includes all meats and poultry and recommends making lean selections. Also included in this group are fish, eggs, peas, beans and nuts and seeds. This category is comprised of rich sources of protein, vitamin E, iron, zinc, niacin, riboflavin and magnesium. A one-ounce equivalent in this group is equal to ¼-cup dry cooked beans, 1 egg, 28.4gr of nuts, or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter. For vegetarians and vegans, equivalents are used to replace the consumption of meat.
Children 2 to 3 years old should have 56.7gr of meat or equivalents. At ages 4 to 8, 85.1 to 113gr are recommended. Girls ages 9 to 18 should have 142gr and boys ages 14 to 18 should have 170gr. Women 19 to 30 should have 5½ ounces of meat a day and women over 30, 142gr of meat or equivalents. Men, 19 to 30 are recommended to consume 6½ ounces of meat daily. The recommendation for men from the age of 31 to 50 is 170gr and men over 50, 5½ ounces.
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