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Old and New Food Pyramid with Pictures

The Food Guide Pyramid is a graphical representation allowing people to better understand how to eat healthy. A balanced diet is one that includes all the food groups of the food pyramid.

There are now two food pyramids. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) changed the food pyramid in spring 2005 because they wanted to convey a better example of how to eat healthier. The pyramid is based on the best available scientific facts concerning links between diet and good health. This new food pyramid addresses flaws in the original USDA food pyramid and offers better up to date information allowing people to better follow guidelines concerning what they should eat.

Below is a picture of both the old and new food pyramids.

Food Pyramid Icon Understanding the food pyramid:

You should center your diet around the foods at the base of the food pyramid, and eat less of the foods at the top. If you're watching your weight then you should concentrate on eating the minimum number of recommended daily servings. If you are looking to gain extra weight, eat the maximum number of servings.

You may also be interested in seeing how many calories you burn during certain activities How to Count and Calculate Calories

Picture of the old food pyramid:

Old food pyramid picture

So How Much is One Serving?

Milk products group:
1 cup about 8 oz. of milk or yogurt
2 slices of cheese, 1/8" thick (1 1/2 oz.)
2 cups of cottage cheese
1 1/2 cups of ice milk, ice cream or frozen yogurt
Meat group:
2 oz. to 3 oz. of cooked lean meat, poultry, fish
2 eggs
7 oz. tofu
1 cup cooked legumes or dried beans or peas
4 tablespoons peanut butter
1/2 cup nuts or seeds
1/2 cup cooked vegetables
1/2 cup raw chopped vegetables
1 cup raw leafy vegetables
1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable juice
1 whole medium fruit (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup dried fruit
1/2 cup canned fruit
1/2 to 3/4 cup fruit juice
Bread and Cereals:
1 slice bread
1 medium muffin
1/2 hot dog bun or hamburger bun
1/2 bagel or english muffin
4 small crackers
1 tortilla
1 cup cold cereal
1/2 cup cooked cereal
1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup pasta.

How many servings of each per day should you eat?
FoodsWomen, Children, ElderlyTeenage girlsTeenage boys
Calorie levelAprox. 1,600Aprox. 2,200Aprox. 2,800
MILK Group Products2 to 42 to 42 to 4
MEAT Group223
FRUIT Group234
BREAD and Cereals6911
Total Fat in grams36 to 5349 to 7362 to 93

See: How do I Possibly Eat all those Fruits and Vegetables?

Picture of the new food pyramid

The New Food Pyramid is a tool to educate people to eat a more balanced diet from a greater variety of food portions without counting calories. The USDA has now expanded the four food groups to six groups and expanded the number of servings to meet the calorie needs of most people.

New Food Pyramid

The new food pyramid is more flexible and accurate than the one we had a few years ago. The reason being that one image of a pyramid with markings of what your daily intake should be can not apply to everyone. It all depends on a person's lifestyle and how much exercise they get involved in during a week. It also depends on if a person is trying to lose weight or gain weight. If a person is trying to gain weight then they should proceed to having the highest amounts of recommended servings, if a person is trying to lose weight then they should try to aim for the lowest recommended servings per day. To have a good idea of what you should be eating and how much of it you should be eating. You can view this interactive guide which was made by the United States Department of Agriculture at

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