Recommended calories per day: For a sedentary woman, 1,600; for an active woman, 2,200; for sedentary men, 2,200; active men, 2,800. The USDA Food Guide Pyramid is a guide to good eating. Here we spotlight examples of foods adults should consume more or less of as part of an overall healthy diet.
By Jill Wendholt Silva
The Kansas City Star
In the spotlight: Olive oil is considered a "good fat." The hydroxytrosol and oleuropein in it may protect against breast cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Choices: Choose liquid oils; avoid saturated and hydrogenated fats.
In the spotlight: Cheese. Americans love it. But instead of smothering a dish in cheese, a better way to enjoy it might be a cheese plate, which includes small portions of high-quality cheese served with dried fruit, nuts and a glass of wine. Or eat cheese as a dessert the way the Europeans do.
Choices: Keep your dairy low-fat whenever possible.
2 to 3 servings a day
In the spotlight: Salmon contains omega-3, a fatty acid that promotes heart health. The American Heart Association recommends eating two 6-ounce servings of salmon weekly. Other fatty fish include fresh tuna, herring, mackerel, sardines and lake trout.
Choices: Lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, nuts, eggs.
2 to 3 servings a day
In the spotlight: When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the richer the color the more phytochemicals they contain. Plums (and prunes) are loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants that may boost heart health.
Choices: Apples, apricots, berries, cherries, figs, grapes, melons, pineapple, pomegranates.
2 to 4 servings a day
In the spotlight: Sweet bell peppers (and spicy chili peppers) contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that offers protection against heart disease and vision loss. To maximize the bio-availability of beta-carotene, cook peppers only until crisp-tender in a tablespoon or two of monounsaturated fat, such as olive oil.
Choices: Artichokes, asparagus, avocados, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, dark leafy greens, corn, peas, mushrooms, spinach, salad greens, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips and winter squash.
3 to 5 servings a day
In the spotlight: Couscous is an underused grain that's quick and easy to prepare. Made from semolina wheat, it can be used to replace rice or pasta in many dishes.
Choices: Once you're comfortable with couscous, graduate to such high-protein, high-fiber grain sources as quinoa, buckwheat, teff and amaranth.
6 to 11 servings a day