Eating properly can help keep you healthy and fit. As long as you eat nutritionally your overall life will be more rewarding. Learning to eat nutritionally will keep you fit and usually you will be able to keep the proper weight for your size.
There are six food groups that you should add to your diet. These six food groups form the food pyramid as some people refer to it.
The base of the pyramid is the Bread, Grain, Cereal and Pasta food group. These foods provide complex carbohydrates, which are an important source of energy. You should have 6 to 11 servings of these foods in a day. Examples for one serving include 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup of rice, or pasta, and 1 flat tortilla.
The next food groups going up the pyramid include the Fruits group and Vegetables group. In both groups, these foods will provide you with important nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin C, folate or potassium. They are also low in fat and sodium and high in fiber. You should have 3 to 5 servings of vegetables or fruits each day. Examples of one serving of fruit include one medium size apple, orange or banana, ½ cup of canned fruit, and ¾ cup of fruit juice or about 4 ounces. Only count 100 percent real fruit juice. Examples of one serving of vegetables include 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables, ½ cup of other vegetables either cooked or raw, and about 4 ounces of vegetable juice.
The next food group above the Fruits and Vegetables are the Dairy Items and the Protein Items. Dairy items provide your body with protein and vitamins and minerals, especially calcium. You should have 2 to 3 servings of dairy products in your diet each day. Examples of one serving of a dairy item include 1 cup of cottage cheese or ½ cup of whole milk. Protein items provide your body with much needed protein, iron and zinc. You should include 2 to 3 servings of protein daily in your diet and each serving should be between 2 and 3 ounces. Examples of one serving of protein would include 2 to 3 ounces of any type of meat, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1/2 cup cooked dry beans, and 1/3 cup of nuts.
At the top of the food pyramid are the Fats and Sweets. The foods in this group do not provide much in the way of nutrition. They do provide calories, which is one culprit for weight gain. Examples of this food group include salad dressings, oils, cream, butter, margarine, sugars, soft drinks, candies and sweet desserts.