RTC:Rural Rural Institute University of Montana

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Wise Choices Pyramid

description of pyramid

Below the Pyramid are pictures of three hands.  The hand at left is giving the “thumbs-up” sign to indicate that the foods on the left side of the Pyramid are the wisest choices.  The hand in the middle is giving the “OK” sign to indicate that the foods in the middle are acceptable choices.  The hand at the right is giving the “Stop” sign to indicate that the foods on the right are unwise choices. 

The Pyramid is widest at its base, which is labeled “Grains: Choose whole grains whenever you can”.  There are pictures of grains and grain products. On the left are oatmeal, whole barley, bran, millet, polenta, couscous, brown rice, whole grain bread and whole grain spaghetti.  In the left-middle are corn tortillas, raisin-bran cereal, oat cereal, bran flakes cereal, rye bread, pumpernickel bread, whole grain crackers, and a bran muffin.  A bit more to the right are corn flakes cereal, white-flour spaghetti and macaroni, flour tortillas, white-flour pita bread, a bagel, and French bread. At the far right are white bread, graham crackers, mixed-grain crackers, butter crackers, saltines, a sugary cold cereal, white rice, and a croissant.

The Pyramid narrows as it rises to the next level, which is labeled “Vegetables and Fruit: Eat lots of fruits and vegetables of any type.”  At the left are  carrots,  broccoli,  kale, canned apricots in fruit juice, and an acorn squash.  In the left-middle are canned beets, a sweet potato, a slice of cantaloupe, red cabbage, blackberries, red raspberries, prunes,  cauliflower, a variety of leaf lettuces,  asparagus, a tomato, canned green beans, an orange, a kiwi, and strawberries.  At the right-middle are canned peaches in light syrup, canned peas, a white onion, garlic, a banana, an apple, green grapes, a zucchini, corn, a red potato, and  mushrooms.  At the right are a slice of watermelon, an avocado, a white potato,  celery, and iceberg lettuce.

The Pyramid narrows again as it rises to the next level, which is labeled “Protein: Choose more vegetable sources of protein, reduce processed foods.”  At the left are tofu, dried lentils, canned garbanzo beans, and canned kidney beans.  At the left-middle are canned, fat-free refried beans; walnuts; sunflower seeds; almonds; cashews; peanut butter; roasted peanuts; canned chunk light tuna packed in water; fresh salmon; canned oysters; fresh clams; fresh mussels; crab; and shrimp.  At the right-middle are a skinless chicken breast; lean beefsteak, an egg, a chicken leg (with skin), and ham. At the right are a pork chop, ground beef, bologna, pork sausage, bacon and wieners.

The Pyramid narrows again as it rises to the next level, which is labeled “Dairy: Low-fat dairy is an excellent food for weight control.”  At the left are non-fat yogurt, non-fat milk, soy milk, 2% milk, and feta cheese.  At the left-middle are mozzarella cheese, 2% chocolate milk, whole milk, and Swiss cheese.  At the right-middle are cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, Parmesan cheese, sour cream, and processed cheese slices.  At the right are eggnog, ice cream, half-and-half, whipped cream, and cream cheese.

The last level of the Pyramid narrows to its point and is labeled “Extras: Substitute foods from the group on the left for the ones on the right side.”  On the left are yellow mustard, vegetable oil, orange juice, pretzels, whole-grain toast, and low-fat vinaigrette dressing.  On the right are mayonnaise, butter, a can of soda, potato chips, doughnuts, and creamy salad dressing.

The Pyramid is available at http://www.goodnutritionideas.com and the website’s attribution is:  Kathleen Humphries, Good Nutrition Ideas © 2008.

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