To ensure optimal health, the United State Department of Agriculture started the Food Pyramid as a guideline for its citizens to make a choice of their food. This program started in 1992 with the help of researched nutritional knowledge in 2005 but ended in 2011. This program was beneficial to many nations and was regarded to be among the healthiest.
The Food Pyramid
A food Pyramid is essentially a guide to healthy eating. It outlines the types of food we would require on a regular basis to maintain a healthy lifestyle and good eating habits for the same. The Food Pyramid has been adopted by many countries and regions of the world to allow citizens to formulate a healthy diet plan for themselves and their families.
Image source – medindia.net
Initially, for Indians, the most applicable food pyramid was the ‘Asian Food Pyramid’. However, it bears consideration that our diet is drastically different from most of the Far East which led to the evolution/ customisation of the Pyramid. The Food Pyramid was thus adapted to suit the Indian palette (image above) and kept in mind our unique eating habits and indigenous foods. The Indian version of the FoodPyramid comprises of nine sections.
The lower sections comprise daily choices of food which would entail grain based items like chapatti, rice, bread etc. The less processed, the better it is for your health. Of course, vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts that are found in plentiful are also encouraged for daily consumption. You may use vegetable oils to prepare some foods. Vegetable-based drinks are also allowed in moderation.
The optional segment here gives you the choice of selecting dairy or seafood items to be part of your daily meals.
You’ll also want to incorporate daily exercise into your routine to be in total compliance with the Food Pyramid. It’s recommended that you ensure that you and your family consume plenty of water on a daily basis, a minimum of eight glasses. Due to India’s position on the globe, the temperature tends to go up during our summers and staying hydrated becomes absolutely essential.
The upper sections of the Pyramid outline the kinds of food you can include once a week. You may choose to have a poultry product such as chicken as well as eggs. You may also treat your sweet tooth once a week, but be careful not to overindulge. However, sweets and alcohol are best avoided if you are trying to lose weight or if you or a family member suffers from diabetes.
Since India is also home to a large number of non-vegetarians, our version of the Food Pyramid allows for red meat and pork once a month. This is certainly not a requirement and if it’s not a religious problem, some might choose to include this in the weekly segment.
You’ll want to fully utilise the information contained in the Food Pyramid as it is a great guide to use to choose and prepare the healthiest food possible for you and your family.