University of Massachusetts Amherst

It's MORE Than A Meal

 

Nutrition Basics

the 2005 pyramid

Background

The USDA Pyramid is an eating pattern based on the Dietary Guidelines. It was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1992, and revised in 2005.  The 2005 edition is flexible enough to adapt to a wide range of calorie levels, food preferences, and cuisines to meet the needs of different people. An interactive version, MyPyramid, is available on the website www.mypyramid.gov. It estimates how many calories a person needs based on age, gender, and physical activity.

Basic Messages

  • Get the most nutrition out of the day’s calories.
  • Make smart choices from every food group.
  • Mix up your choices within each food group.
  • Find your balance between food and physical activity.

Food Groups at Different Calorie Levels

Most older adults need to consume about 1600 to 2400 calories per day, unless they have a high level of physical activity. Within each calorie level, the Pyramid gives advice for how many foods to consume within each food group. The next few pages list tips on what counts as a Pyramid serving in each food group. The source of this information is the USDA Pyramid (available at the website address of www.mypyramid.gov).

NOTE:  Pyramid servings may not always be equal to servings of food listed for crediting purposes. Adult day health programs operating under CACFP must follow CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements. See the Crediting Foods section for these requirements. 

 
Calorie Levels
Food Group 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400
Grains (ounces) 5 oz 6 oz 6 oz 7 oz 8 oz
Vegetables (cups) 2 c 2½ c 2½ c 3 c 3 c
Fruits (cups) 1½ c 1½ c 2 c 2 c 2 c
Milk (cups) 3 c 3 c 3 c 3 c 3 c
Meat and Beans (ounces) 5 oz 5 oz 5½ oz 6 oz 6½ oz
Oils(tsp) 5 tsp 5 tsp 6 tsp 6 tsp 7 tsp

Pyramid Food Groups

GRAINS: What Counts as 1 Ounce in the Pyramid?

NOTE: Pyramid servings may not always be equal to servings of food listed for crediting purposes. See the Crediting Foods section for CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements.

In general, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal counts as 1 ounce from the grains group.

Grain Food Amount that Counts as 1 Ounce of Grains Larger Portion Sizes and Their Equivalent in Ounces of Grains
Bagels ½ “mini” bagel 1 large bagel (4 oz)
Biscuits 1 small biscuit, 2” 1 large biscuit (2 oz)
Breads 1 regular slice
4 snack-size slices
 
Bulgur  ½ cup cooked bulgur  
Cereal, Ready-to-eat 1 cup cereal flakes
1¼ cup puffed cereal
 
Cereal, Oatmeal ½ cup cooked
1 packet instant 
 
Cornbread 1 small piece  
Crackers 5 whole-wheat crackers
2 rye crisp crackers
7 round crackers
 
English muffins ½ English muffin 1 English muffin (2 oz)
Muffins 1 small muffin 1 large muffin (3 oz)
Pancakes 1 medium pancake, 4½”
2 small pancakes, 3”
3 medium pancakes (3 oz)
Popcorn* 3 cups popcorn, popped 1 bag microwave popcorn (4 oz)
Rice ½ cup cooked rice
1 ounce dry rice
1 cup cooked rice (2 oz)
Pasta--spaghetti, macaroni, noodles ½ cup cooked pasta
1 ounce dry pasta
1 cup cooked pasta (2 oz)
Tortillas 1 small tortilla, 6” 1 large tortilla, 12” (4 oz)

* Not a creditable CACFP food.

VEGETABLES: What Counts as 1 Cup in the Pyramid?

NOTE:  Pyramid servings may not always be equal to servings of food listed for crediting purposes. See the Crediting Foods section for CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements.

In general, 1 cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice, or 2 cups of raw leafy greens count as 1 cup. Below are specific amounts that count as 1 cup of vegetables. Each week, older adults should consume vegetables from each of the 5 subgroups listed below.

Dark-Green Vegetables Amount That Counts as 1 Cup of Vegetables
Broccoli 1 cup chopped OR 3 spears
Greens (collards, mustard greens, kale) 1 cup cooked
Spinach 2 cups raw OR 1 cup cooked
Raw leafy greens 2 cups raw
Orange Vegetables  
 Carrots 1 cup chopped
OR 2 medium carrots OR 12 baby carrots
Pumpkin 1 cup mashed, cooked
Sweet potato 1 large baked OR 1 cup mashed, cooked
Winter squash (acorn, butternut, Hubbard) 1 cup cubed, cooked
Dry beans and peas  
Black, garbanzo, kidney, or pinto beans 1 cup, cooked
Soybeans, black-eyed peas, split peas 1 cup, cooked
Tofu* 1 cup of ½-inch cubes (8 oz tofu)
Starchy Vegetables  
Corn, yellow or white 1 cup OR 1 large ear
Green peas 1 cup
White potatoes 1 cup diced, mashed
OR 1 medium potato OR 20 French fries
Other Vegetables  
Bean sprouts 1 cup cooked
Cabbage 1 cup, chopped or shredded
Celery 1 cup, diced OR 2 large stalks
Cucumbers 1 cup raw
Green or wax beans 1 cup cooked
Green or red peppers 1 large pepper OR 1 cup chopped
Lettuce, iceberg or head 2 cups, chopped
Mushrooms 1 cup raw or cooked
Onions 1 cup chopped, raw or cooked
Tomatoes 1 large raw whole OR 1 cup chopped
Tomato or mixed vegetable juice 1 cup
Summer squash or zucchini 1 cup cooked, sliced or diced

* Not a creditable CACFP food.

FRUITS: What Counts as 1 Cup in the Pyramid?

NOTE: Pyramid servings may not always be equal to servings of food listed for crediting purposes. See the Crediting Foods section for CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements.

In general, 1 cup of fruit or 100% fruit juice, or ½ cup of dried fruit counts as 1 cup from the fruit group. The following specific amounts count as 1 cup of fruit.

Fruit Amount That Counts as 1 Cup of Fruit
Apple ½ large OR 1 small OR 1 cup sliced or chopped
Applesauce 1 cup
Banana 1 large OR 1 cup sliced
Cantaloupe 2 cups diced
Grapes 1 cup OR 32 grapes
 Grapefruit 1 cup of sections
Mixed fruit / Fruit cocktail 1 cup
Orange 1 large OR 1 cup of sections
Peach 1 large OR 1 cup sliced OR 2 halves, canned
Pear 1 medium OR 1 cup sliced or diced
Pineapple 1 cup chunks, sliced or crushed
Plum 1 cup sliced OR 3 medium OR 2 large plums
Strawberries About 8 large berries OR 1 cup
Watermelon 1 small wedge (1” thick) OR 1 cup diced
Dried fruit (raisins, prunes, etc.) ½ cup
100% Fruit juice (orange, apple, etc.) 1 cup

MILK, YOGURT, AND CHEESE: What Counts as 1 Cup in the Pyramid?

NOTE:  Pyramid servings may not always be equal to servings of food listed for crediting purposes. See the Crediting Foods section for CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements.

Food or Beverage Amount That Counts as 1 Cup of Milk
Milk
Choose fat-free or
low-fat milk most often.
1 cup fluid milk
1 half-pint container of fluid milk
½ cup evaporated milk
Yogurt*
Choose fat-free or
low-fat yogurt most often.
1 regular container (8 fluid ounces)
1 cup
Cheese*
Choose fat-free or
low-fat types most often.
1½ oz hard cheese
(cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, parmesan)
2 oz processed cheese (American)
1/3 cup shredded cheese
½ cup ricotta cheese
2 cups cottage cheese
Milk-based desserts*
Choose fat-free or
low-fat types most often.
1 cup pudding made with milk
1 cup frozen yogurt
1½ cups ice cream (3 scoops)

* Not CACFP-creditable as fluid milk.            

MEAT, POULTRY, FISH, DRY BEANS, EGGS, AND NUTS: What Counts as 1 Ounce in the Pyramid?

NOTE:  Pyramid servings may not always be equal to servings of food listed for crediting purposes. See the Crediting Foods section for CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements.

In general, 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, ¼ cup cooked dry beans, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds count as a 1 ounce equivalent.

Food Amount that Counts Common Portion Sizes
as 1 Ounce of Meat and Their Equivalent
Meats 1 oz lean beef, cooked
1 oz lean pork or ham, cooked
1 small steak (4 oz)
1 small lean hamburger (3 oz)
Poultry 1 oz chicken or turkey, cooked, no skin
1 sandwich-sized slice of turkey
½ small chicken breast (3 oz)
½ Cornish game hen (4 oz)
Fish 1 oz fish or shellfish, cooked 1 can of tuna, drained (3 oz)
1 salmon steak (4 to 6 oz)
1 small trout (3 oz)
Eggs
1 egg  
Nuts & seeds
½ oz nuts
½ oz seeds, hulled
(pumpkin, sunflower, or squash)
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 oz nuts or seeds
(counts as 2 oz meat)
Dry beans
& peas
¼ cup cooked dry beans
¼ cup cooked dry peas
¼ cup baked beans or refried beans
¼ cup roasted soybeans
¼ cup (about 2 oz) tofu*
2 Tbsp hummus
1 cup split pea soup
(counts as 2 oz meat)
1 cup bean soup
(counts as 2 oz meat)
1 soy patty
(counts as 2 oz meat)

* Not a creditable CACFP food.

NOTE: Pyramid servings may not always be equal to servings of food listed for crediting purposes. See the Crediting Foods section for CACFP Meal Pattern Requirements.

OILS: How Much Are in Foods?

  Amount of Food Amount of Oil
Vegetable Oils 1 Tbsp 3 tsp
Foods Rich in Oils:
 
Margarine, soft (trans fat free)
Mayonnaise
Salad dressing, mayonnaise-type
Salad dressing, Italian
Salad dressing, Thousand Island
Olives, ripe, canned
Avocado1
Peanut butter2
Peanuts, dry roasted2
Nuts, dry roasted2
Sunflower seeds2
1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp
4 large
½ medium
2 Tbsp
1 oz
1 oz
1 oz
2½ tsp
2½ tsp
1 tsp
2 tsp
2½ tsp
½ tsp
3 tsp
4 tsp
3 tsp
3 tsp
3 tsp

1. Avocados are part of the fruit group.
2. Nuts and seeds are part of the meat and beans group.

The Pyramid and Physical Activity

What is Physical Activity?

Physical activity is movement of the body that uses energy. Walking, gardening, and climbing the stairs are examples. Physical activity and nutrition work together for better health.

What are the Benefits?

  • Improved self-esteem and feeling of well-being.
  • Increased fitness level.
  • Building and maintaining bones, muscles, and joints.
  • Building endurance and muscle strength.
  • Increased flexibility and better posture.
  • Helping to manage weight.
  • Lower risk of heart disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
  • Helping to control blood pressure.
  • Reduced feelings of depression and anxiety.

Do Different Types of Activity Provide Different Benefits?

  • Aerobic activities speed the heart rate and breathing, and improve heart and lung fitness. Examples are brisk walking, jogging, and swimming.
  • Resistance, strength building, and weight-bearing activity help maintain bones and muscles by working them against gravity. Examples are lifting weights and walking.
  • Balance and stretching activities enhance physical stability and flexibility, which reduces risk of injuries. Examples are gentle stretch, dance, yoga, and tai chi.

How Much Activity is Needed?

If possible, do moderate intensity activity for at least 30 minutes most days of the week, in addition to usual daily activities.  Increasing the intensity or time can have extra health benefits and may help control body weight. Older adults should see a health care provider before starting any physical activity program.

Tips to Increase Physical Activity

  • Make physical activity a regular part of the day. Choose activities that are enjoyable and can be done regularly. Fit activity into a daily routine. It helps to be active most days of the week and make it part of daily routine. Aim for at least 10 minutes of activity at a time. Shorter bursts will not have the same health benefits.
  • Ideas for older adults: walk with others, do strength and flexibility exercises, care for a garden, take a yoga class, do upper body exercises, or take a nature walk.

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Developed for the Massachusetts Department of Education Child and Adult Care Food Program by the University of Massachusetts Extension Nutrition Education Program. Permission is hereby granted by the Massachusetts Department of Education to copy any or all parts of this document for non-commercial educational purposes. The Massachusetts Department of Education, an Affirmative Action employer, is committed to ensuring that all of its programs and facilities are accessible to all members of the public. We do not discriminate on the basis of age, color, disability, national origin, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.

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