Building Your Own Food Pyramid

Okay, warm up your typing finger(s) and run this one over your keyboard: This gets you to a Homepage with lots of special info buttons on the left side. Click on the one labeled My Pyramid Plan, and up pops a set of boxes into which you type your age, gender, and activity level to get back a personalized plan for your very own body and lifestyle.

For example, Table 1 shows the recommended daily calorie totals and food amounts for a 27-year-old man or woman who exercises a moderate 30-to-60 minutes a day. (Yes, the number of times you walk back and forth across the floor at work or chase your 2-year-old around the living room counts as activity!) Table 2 shows the recommended weekly intake of various kinds of veggies.

Food Male (2,600 Total Calories) Female (2,000 Total Calories)
Grains (including whole grains) 9 ounces 6 ounces
Whole grains* 4.5 ounces 3 ounces
Vegetables 3.5 cups 2.5 cups
Fruit 2 cups 2 cups
Milk 3 cups 3 cups
Meat/beans 6.5 ounces 5.5 ounces
Oils** 8 teaspoons 6 teaspoons
Extra calories (fats and sugars) 410 calories 265 calories

* Half the grains should be whole grains
** No more than this amount

Type of Vegetable Male Female
Dark green 3 cups 3 cups
Orange 2.5 cups 2 cups
Dry beans/peas 3.5 cups 3 cups
Starchy 7 cups 3 cups
Others 8.5 cups 6.5 cups

The other buttons on the page are interesting, too. My Pyramid Tracker enables you to compare your current diet and level of physical activity with the newest recommendations from the nutrition guides.

Inside the Pyramid tells everything you ever wanted to know — maybe more — about the different food groups, including recommended daily amounts. For Professionals includes a downloadable worksheet that helps you track what you’re really eating — as opposed to what you sorta remember you ate the day before yesterday.