Counting Down The Pounds

Thursday, April 22, 2010

What's Up With The Food Pyramid?

Have you looked at the food pyramid lately?  Seriously... what gives?

Since I am 32 years old... I fall into the 31-50 female bracket with says I should consume the following amounts per day:

  • 6 ounces grains w/ half being whole grains
  • 2 1/2 cups of veggies
  • 1 1/2 cups of fruit
  • 3 cups of milk (or equivalent dairy)
  • 5 ounces of meat/protein
  • 5 tsp of fat/oil including what's in nuts/fish/etc...
  • Total calorie intake of 1800 for inactive and 2000-2200 for active w/ discretionary calories (ie solid fats such as real butter) being no more than 195 at 1800 and 290 at 2200.
  • 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.

A daily menu that stays EXACTLY within these ranges might include:

1 cup oatmeal (2 grain servings, 166 cals, 3.5 grams fat) + 1/2 ounce (about 12) chopped almonds (1 protein, 82 cals//7grams fat) + 1/3 cup dried cranberries (counts as 1/2 cup, 138 cals/ .5 fat) + 1/2 cup whole milk (1/2 serving, 75 cals/4 grams fat)     Total 461 cals/ 16 grams fat

1 medium banana (1 cup fruit, 105 cals/ .5 grams fat) + 1 Tbs peanut butter  (1 Protein, 95 cals/8grams fat)  Total 200 cals/ 8.5 grams fat

1 cup rice (2 grains, 242 cals/ .5 grams fat) + 1 1/2 ounce mozzarella cheese (1 milk, 135 cals/ 10.5 grams fat) + 1 cup garden salad (1 veggie, 30 cals)  Totals 407 cals/ 11grams fat

1 medium baked potato  (1 veggie, 161 cals) + 1/2 cup greek yogurt (1/2 milk, 68 cals) Total 229 cals

1 cup whole wheat pasta (2 grains, 174 cals/ 1 gram fat) + 1 tsp butter (35 cals/ 4 grams fat)+ 1 1/2 ounce grated cheese (1 milk, 135 cals/ 10.5 grams fat) + 3 ounce chicken breast w/out skin (3 protein, 142 cals/3grams fat) + 1/2 cup green beans (44 cals)  Total 530 cals/ 18.5 grams fat

Daily Total:
Fat grams: 54
Calories: 1827
Discretionary calories: 1 tsp butter + 1 Tbs PB/140 of total cals
Grains: 6 ounces
Milk: 3 cups/servings
Protein: 5 ounces
Fruit: 1 1/2 cups
Veggies: 2 1/2 cups

Really?  The breakfast here is pretty standard for me.  Dinner is a derivative of what I would normally do, but my choice would have put me way over my "recommended" intake of veggies.  I would opt for 1 cup whole wheat pasta + 1/2 cup tomato based sauce (1 cup veggie equivalent) + mushrooms and zucchini (1 veggie) + 3 ounce chicken breast + garden salad  (1 veggie).  In this scenario, dinner alone would provide 3 cups of veggies, which is more than the "recommended" intake.

I also don't agree at all with eating half your grains in whole grain form... we consume 100% of our grains in whole grain form. 

It's also very possible to maintain your calorie and fat gram limits by choosing animal proteins wisely.   Venison comes in at 130 calories and 2 grams of fat per 3 ounce serving,  Buffalo/Bison 143 calories/2.42 grams fat per 3.5 oz/100gram serving,  skinless chicken breast 142 calories/3 grams of fat per 3 ounces. Many seafood items such as halibut, cod, clams, shrimp, tuna have less than 2.5% fat per 3 ounce serving.

Added fat: we only use EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), unrefined coconut oil, or real butter.  I still use these items sparingly because I need to control my fat intake in order to lose weight. 

*I would NEVER eat a potato for snack, in fact, I don't eat them at all (starch city!) but in order to actually reach the recommended 1800 calories, I had to keep a veggie there and find more calories!
**I LOVE bread... but I'm not eating it. 
***Please eat more veggies
**** I know the pyramid is a guideline... but seriously, the way this is hounded into our children at school makes them think it's how it should be done.  If my kids start staying, "oh, no, Mom... I can't have carrots for snack, I'll be over my recommended servings" I will SCREAM.
*****The menu above is do-able for me with a few changes, ie, more veggies and no potato.  I don't like having to use cheese w/ lunch and dinner for dairy and not getting a lean protein at lunch.   We might also add a treat such as a baked apple for dessert.
******This exercise has really opened my eyes to how little food it takes to reach your calorie and fat limits.  Everyone who says, "I don't eat that much" should do a similar exercise.

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