Example of a Dieter's Daily Menu
Based on the Food Pyramid

Building Your Diet Menu Using the Food Pyramid

Article by Diet Bites

The USDA Food Pyramid recommends the following servings per day:

Fats, Oils & Sweets: Use sparingly.
Dairy:(Milk, Yogurt, Cheese) - 2 to 3
Vegetables: 3 to 5
Proteins: (Beef, fish, lamb, beans, eggs, chicken) 2 to 3
Fruits: 2-4
Grains: (Bread, cereal, brown rice, pasta) 6 to 11

The Caloric Breakdown

While dieting, this is how the dieter might break down the calorie allotment if the dieter's weight loss plan is based on calories:

Dairy: 250 kcals
Vegetables: 200 kcals
Proteins: 350 kcals
Fruits: 250 kcals
Grains: 300 kcals

Right off the bat, if you are familiar with calories, you can already see some big problems for those trying to lose weight. Example #1: Whole milk contains 160 calories per cup. If Dieter Judy drinks 3 cups per day, her calorie count spikes to almost 500 calories.

Example #2: According to the USDA Food Pyramid, Dieter Judy should eat a minimum of 6 servings from the Grain Family. Bread weighs in at about 100 calories per slice - with gourmet breads totaling 150 calories or more per slice.

Even based on the measly 100 calories, Dieter Judy is now up to 1,100 calories - and that's just counting her bread and milk.

Let's pause to summarize and breathe heavily:

Due to the need to decrease calories for weight loss, dieters are presented with the problems of being able to eat enough foods/calories to feel full while still at a level low enough to produce weight loss, and being able to intake the recommended serving sizes from all the food groups without going over their calorie allotment for weight loss.

Because nutrition plays a big role in the weight loss battle, dieters should take a daily multi-vitamin as a safety net.

In addition, activity (aka exercise) suddenly becomes a key player in the weight loss battle. Activity helps to burn off calories so the dieter can eat a bit more while dieting.

Diet Based on American Food Pyramid

Using the Food Pyramid, a typical diet derived from natural foods - or a diet that is as close to natural as possible - may look like this:

Breakfast Menu: 300 kcals

1 slice of whole wheat toast sprayed with no calorie butter
1 scrambled egg
1 cup of sliced fruit
8 ounces of reduced fat milk

Picture of USDA American Food PyramidLunch Menu: 450 kcals

3 cups of salad: lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, sliced

mushrooms, sliced carrots, sliced onion

one ounce of shredded cheese

two ounces of roasted chicken breast, chopped

dressing should be of the light variety and on the side

medium fresh apple

1 cup skim milk

Dinner Menu: 450 kcals

Preparation Note: Four ounces of lean raw meat equals about 3 ounces of cooked.

1 cup of whole grain pasta, prepared
meatballs prepared with extra lean beef, ground chicken or ground turkey totaling three ounces
1 cup of green beans
whole grain dinner roll

1 cup of sliced strawberries sprinkled with Splenda 1 Tablespoon of LIGHT whipped topping
cup of skim milk

The total calorie count for the day comes to about 1,200 calories - which is a good spot for most dieters because this allows room for a couple of healthy snacks. Of course, check with your doctor who can personalize your weight loss program and who can also tell you how many calories you need to eat in order to experience weight loss.

As previously mentioned, it takes a sly juggling act to get in all the recommended nutrients for the day without going over the calorie cap. Skim products, choices of foods (example: choosing the green beans at 17 calories per cup saved over 100 calories if we had gone for the pinto beans), the time of day that you eat, and the pace that you eat all impact the number on the weight loss scales.

Return to Pyramid Diet Index


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