Eating healthy food

How to Eat According to the Food Pyramid

Elsie Goycoolea
By Elsie Goycoolea. Updated: August 3, 2020
How to Eat According to the Food Pyramid

The key to a healthy body and a healthy mind is following a nutritious and balanced diet. The food pyramid is one of the best resources to offer a complete guide to healthy eating backed up by nutrition experts. Getting to understand the food pyramid will help you choose among the healthiest foods to create a meal that is packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

In this OneHowTo article we explain how to eat according to the food pyramid.

You may also be interested in: How to Make a Healthy Eating Plate


  1. Food pyramid and healthy eating plate
  2. Grains
  3. Fruits and Vegetables
  4. Protein and Dairy
  5. Fats and Sweets

Food pyramid and healthy eating plate

The food pyramid categorizes food groups in degree of importance based on how much and what types of foods people should be eating. The newer versions have also started to include daily exercise at the base of the pyramid given the high importance of adding movement to a healthy lifestyle. The highest level of the pyramid usually includes the foods that should be consumed the least or completely avoid.

Each country will have a slightly different approach to a food pyramid taking into account the general eating habits of the population. In some places, a healthy eating plate has replaced the food pyramid by instead showing for each meal how much of each food should be eaten.


Above the exercise level, the first group food to appear is usually the grains group. These types of foods are high in carbohydrates, which is the body’s preferred source of energy. The stated recommendation is to eat between 5 to 7 servings of grains and at least 2 to 3 coming from whole grains. The types of foods included are bread, potatoes, cereal, rice, quinoa and other cereals. Your best bet is to avoid refined versions and go for wholewheat versions to get all of their benefits.

How to Eat According to the Food Pyramid - Grains

Fruits and Vegetables

The next level in the food pyramid is dedicated to fruits and vegetables. Over the past years, improved food pyramids have actually reversed the order of food groups and have placed fruits and vegetables at the bottom of the food pyramid. Researchers are arguing that fruits and vegetables should be the staple of many people’s diets and thus grains should be limited.

Currently, governing bodies recommend that people consumer 2 to 3 servings of fruits and 6 to 8 servings of vegetables per day. Fresh fruits and vegetables are preferred.

How to Eat According to the Food Pyramid - Fruits and Vegetables

Protein and Dairy

In the middle of the pyramid one can find animal and vegetable protein sources (such as legumes and tofu) and dairy products.

Meat and fish products are included in a healthy diet in moderation. It is recommended a daily consumption between 2 to 3 servings of meat and fish. Similarly, dairy products including milk, yogurt and eggs should constitute another 2 to 3 daily servings. There is also a moderate recommendation for legumes and beans.

How to Eat According to the Food Pyramid - Protein and Dairy

Fats and Sweets

The highest level in the food pyramid includes store bought products such as cookies and cakes, processed meats, margarine, soft drinks, alcoholic beverages and other refined foods. For a balanced diet, people should eat these foods sparingly or avoid them completely.

The exception to this rule tends to be olive oil and other vegetable oils. Many food pyramids include these cooking oils at the same level as fruits and vegetables. Fats are recommended on a healthy diet preferably from mono-saturated sources such as olive oil. The recommendation states between 3 to 6 servings per day of healthy fats.

How to Eat According to the Food Pyramid - Fats and Sweets

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Eat According to the Food Pyramid, we recommend you visit our Healthy living category.

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How to Eat According to the Food Pyramid