Research shows that Americans don’t know their food pyramid as well as they should. In fact, the average U.S. consumer eats too much meat and grain and not enough fruits and vegetables, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Meat consumption is about 20% higher than it should be, while fruit consumption is about 60% lower than it should be. Eat a healthier diet by planning your grocery list around the USDA food pyramid to create the ultimate grocery list. Eating a balanced diet will help you and your family stay healthy and happy.
Make sure that you have whole grain bread instead of white bread, and whole grain rice instead of white rice on your grocery list. This could include grocery store items with bran and oats. At least half of your grains consumed should be whole grains, according to the food pyramid.
Healthy Fats and Oils
Average American gets 1/3 or more of his/her daily calories from fats, but stick to healthy fats and oils for your grocery list like those in nuts, seeds, avocados, and salmon.
Vegetables and Fruits
Make sure you have bountiful amounts of produce in the fridge and on your grocery list. In general, we should get about 3-5 servings of veggies and 2-4 servings of fruit every day. One fruit serving could be made up of 1 apple or a 1/2 cup of chopped fruit, while vegetable servings about be about 1 cup of raw, leafy veggies.
Meat, Fish, Poultry, Eggs, Nuts, Seeds, Beans, and Tofu
Proteins should be limited to about 2-3 servings per day. Two to three ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish makes up one serving. If you don’t already, put fish on your ultimate grocery list for a boost of omega-3 fatty acids. Seeds and beans are all plant foods rich in protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Replace cookies or potato chips with nuts, which can make a great snack when eaten within reason. Sunflower seeds also make a great snack that’s perfect to take on the road.
Dairy or Vitamin D/Calcium Supplements
Dairy is at the top of the food pyramid because these items can contain a lot of saturated fat and cheese is high in sodium. Stick to 1-2 servings per day or take vitamins. One serving size could include 1 cup of yogurt or 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese. If you’re dairy-free or vegan, try picking up a calcium and vitamin D supplement at a health foods store. Calcium supplements are better absorbed when taken in 500 mg dosages several time throughout the day. Your overall calcium dosage will depend on your general calcium intake and diet. The body requires vitamin D to absorb calcium, so many calcium supplements are paired with vitamin D for maximum absorption.
With an ultimate grocery list in tow, you’ll never have to worry about eating a balanced diet and getting the right nutrients. Just follow your healthy grocery list, and you’ll feel more energized and healthier in weeks.