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Food Guide Pyramid
Itís easy to choose a healthy diet by following the food guide pyramid recommendations. Notice that grains/cereals, fruits and vegetables make up the base of the food guide pyramid. These plant foods are naturally rich in vitamins, minerals and other substances and are low in fat. Plant foods are also cholesterol free. A healthy diet includes 6-11 servings of grain foods, preferably whole grains to provide plenty of fiber, 3-5 servings of vegetables, and 2-4 servings of fruits daily.

A healthy diet also includes 2-3 servings of low fat dairy foods and 2-3 servings of protein rich foods including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dry beans, nuts, seeds or meat alternatives including tofu.

According to the American Cancer Institute plant foods should make up 3/4 - 2/3 of a meal plate with meat/protein making up the remaining 1/4 to 1/3 of the meal plate.

The number portions a person eats depends on their body build as well as their activity level. For instance, a man of similar age will usually need to eat more than a woman. And an active person will need to eat more than an inactive person. Also a person will likely feel the need to eat more on days they are more active versus a day they are less active. A large, active man may want to eat 11 servings of foods from the grain group on a day he is more active and maybe only 8 or 9 servings on a less active day.

The very top of the food guide pyramid includes fats and sugar, which provide no nutrients to our body. They do provide lots of calories. Foods high in sugar and fat should be eaten in moderation. Often limiting these type foods will help promote a healthy body weight.

The important thing to remember is that eating a variety of foods from all the food groups is very important to provide the many vitamins, minerals, and other substances needed for our bodies to be healthy.

This information is not intended to replace medical treatment. Please consult your physician for specific medical problems and before beginning a diet and exercise program.
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Last modified: 24 January, 2003