Balancing the Food Pyramid

Need to balance your diet? Put the pyramid to work for you and get a headstart on a healthier lifestyle.

-Better Homes and Gardens is pleased to partner with General Mills to bring you the Good and Healthy video series. Low fat or no fat, whole grain, low carb, high protein, with so much nutrition information out there, how do you make the right choices? Let Better Homes and Gardens help with some good and healthy advice. Balancing your diet can be a real balancing act. How do you get the recommended nutrients in your day? Here's a few basic guidelines from the food guides pyramid. When it comes to grains, whole grains are best. You should eat at least three ounces a day and you get that through whole grain breads, flours, cereals, crackers, brown rice, and there's even whole-grain pasta. As awareness of the benefits of whole grains has grown, so has availability of products. We all know we're supposed to eat our veggies. Try to choose the most colorful ones you can. Dark greens like kale, broccoli, spinach, or romaine and orange vegetables like squash and carrots. Buy them fresh or look for vegetables that have been flash frozen which locks in all those vitamins and minerals. Just like vegetables, go for color. Look for berries of all kinds, cherries, grapes, kiwis, mangoes, the list is almost endless and they're all great choices. You can't and shouldn't avoid oils which are an important source of fat, but make sure you're using the most healthy versions, vegetables oils, nuts, and oils from fish like salmon. Limit solid fat like butter, margarine, shortening, and lard. Milk's an important source of calcium, but make the choice to drink low fat or fat-free. You need protein but be smart about how you get it. Choose lean meat and poultry. How you prepare your protein is important, too. Bake it, broil it, or grill it to minimize the fat, and don't just think meat, you can get lots of lean protein through fish, beans, nuts, and seeds. Following these basic guidelines gives you a head start on a healthier lifestyle.