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Explaining the pyramid
January 2, 2009 - Kathie Evanoff
When visiting www.mypyramid.gov, you might be a little confused about where to start.
On the left side of the opening page are several links that will take you to areas that are designed to help get started on the mypyramid program. The menu planner requires sign up and registration, but there no charge to participate and you will never be asked to fill out your name, address or other personal information. To register, you will be asked to devise an ID and password for future log-ins. This is because the menu planner is strictly yours to use to design your own daily food intake. It’s there if you choose to use it or if you feel you need the extra help, but isn’t necessary to find out about the program itself.
The next item on the list is mypyramid tracker. This link will request your ID and password and is helpful in analyzing your food and exercise program.
Skip down to the fourth item on the list, My Pyramid Plan. There is no registration, ID’s or passwords needed to access this page, however, nothing you put in will be saved. Even so, this is the page that will give you the breakdown on what you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. All you will be asked is your weight, height, age and estimated daily physical activity. Once you put in this information, if you should exit this page and go back to it, you will have to input the information again. Your personal information is never saved, nor will your name or e-mail address be needed.
When you fill out the information requested, it will take you to another page that tells you in ounces or servings, how many of each item you need to consume in a day of meat and beans, grains, vegetables, fruit, dairy products and healthy oils. It will also tell you how many discretionary calories you may have, which include extra fats and sugars not already included in those allowed servings. You can request this information for your current weight or your ideal weight, whichever you choose.
In addition to the recommended nutritional servings of each item, you will be able to click on each item for an explanation of what exactly counts as serving sizes. For example, nuts can be counted as both meat and beans or healthy fats and in some cases, should count toward both. The Web site will help you make these definitions by clicking on the link, Inside the Pyramid.
Once registered; however, with an ID and password, you can go to the link, My Pyramid Planner. By signing on to this page, you will have a tool available to you that will enable the Web site to do all of your calculations. By searching for the food and choosing your serving sizes on the left of the page, a graph will appear on the right for your daily choices. The graph will calculate all of the servings you require to maintain a healthy weight. By using this graph throughout the day, you can determine how to spread your food allowances throughout the day over three meals and a snack. The Web site will do all the calculations for you and you won’t need to carry around extra journals, books and calculators as long as you have computer access.
It’s as easy as pie, as long as you don’t eat the pie. And it will help you keep those New Year resolutions.
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Breakfast: 2 ounces grains; 3/4 cup fruit; 1/2 cup milk; 30 discretionary calories