Food Pyramids

Walter Willett (Harvard Health) and http://www.oldwayspt.org/

harvard pyramid


1. Start with exercise. A healthy diet is built on a base of regular exercise, which keeps calories in balance and weight in check. 

2. Focus on food, not grams. The Healthy Eating Pyramid doesn’t worry about specific servings or grams of food, so neither should you. It’s a simple, general guide to how you should eat when you eat.

3. Go with plants. Eating a plant-based diet is healthiest.  Choose plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and healthy fats, like olive and canola oil.

4. Cut way back on American staples. Red meat, refined grains, potatoes, sugary drinks, and salty snacks are part of American culture, but they’re also really unhealthy. Go for a plant-based diet rich in non-starchy vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. And if you eat meat, fish and poultry are the best choices.

5. Take a multivitamin, and maybe have a drink. Taking a multivitamin can be a good nutrition insurance policy. Moderate drinking for many people can have real health benefits, but it's not for everyone. Those who don’t drink shouldn’t feel that they need to start. For more information, read "Alcohol: Balancing Risks and Benefits."

    Mediterranean Pyramid

    • An abundance of food from plant sources, including fruits and vegetables, potatoes, breads and grains, beans, nuts, and seeds.
    • Emphasis on a variety of minimally processed and, wherever possible, seasonally fresh and locally grown foods (which often maximizes the health-promoting micronutrient and antioxidant content of these foods).
    • Olive oil as the principal fat, replacing other fats and oils (including butter and margarine).
    • Total fat ranging from less than 25 percent to over 35 percent of energy, with saturated fat no more than 7 to 8 percent of energy (calories).
    • Daily consumption of low to moderate amounts of cheese and yogurt (low-fat and non-fat versions may be preferable).
    • Weekly consumption of low to moderate amounts of fish and poultry (recent research suggests that fish be somewhat favored over poultry); from zero to four eggs per week (including those used in cooking and baking).
    • Fresh fruit as the typical daily dessert; sweets with a significant amount of sugar (often as honey) and saturated fat consumed not more than a few times per week.
    • Red meat a few times per month (recent research suggests that if red meat is eaten, its consumption should be limited to a maximum of 12 to 16 ounces [340 to 450 grams] per month; where the flavor is acceptable, lean versions may be preferable).
    • Regular physical activity at a level which promotes a healthy weight, fitness and well-being.
    • Moderate consumption of wine, normally with meals; about one to two glasses per day for men and one glass per day for women (from a contemporary public health perspective, wine should be considered optional and avoided when consumption would put the individual or others at risk.)


    Common Foods of the Mediterranean Diet

    • Bread, Pasta, Grains
      Bread, Pasta, Rice, Couscous, Polenta, Potatoes
    • Fruits
      Olives, Avocados, Grapes
    • Vegetables
      Spinach, Eggplant, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Peppers, Mushrooms, Garlic, Capers Beans
    • Legumes, Nuts
      Almonds, walnuts and other nuts; Chick peas, white beans, lentils and other beans; Peanuts
    • Olive Oil
    • Cheese & Yogurt
    • Fish
      Shellfish, Sardines
    • Poultry
      Chicken
    • Eggs
    • Sweets
      Pastries, Ice Cream, Cookies
    • Meat
      Veal, Lamb

    Daily Exercise: walking, house cleaning, running, soccer, tennis, golf, swimming, hiking, scuba diving, basketball, baseball, football, skiing, surfing, yard work, rollerblading, dancing, weight lifting, love-making.

    Alcohol may be consumed by adults in moderation and with meals, but consumption should be avoided during pregnancy and whenever it would put the individual or others at risk.

    Asian Pyramid
    Common Foods of the Asian Diet
  • Fruits
    Pineapple, Bananas, Mangos, Tangerines, Watermelon, Grapes, Pears
  • Vegetables
    Carrots, Broccoli, Mushrooms, Bok Choy, Cabbage, Bamboo Shoots, Chilis, Bean Sprouts, Scallions, Leafy Greens, Peppers
  • Pasta
    Rice, Noodles, Breads, Millet
  • Beans
    Soybeans, Peanuts, Dried Beans, Edamame Beans, Miso, Tofu
  • Miscellaneous
    Vegetable Oils, Fish/Shellfish, Egg, Poultry & Pork, Red Meat
  • Sweets
    Ice cream, Sorbets

    Daily Exercise: walking, house cleaning, running, soccer, tennis, golf, swimming, hiking, scuba diving, basketball, baseball, football, skiing, surfing, yard work, rollerblading, dancing, weight lifting, love-making.

    Alcohol may be consumed by adults in moderation and with meals, but consumption should be avoided during pregnancy and whenever it would put the individual or others at risk.
  • Pyramid Latin

    Common Foods of the Latin American Diet

  • Beans, Grains, Tubers, Nuts
    Maize, Potatoes, Rice, Bread, Taro, Tortillas, Arepas, Black Beans, Seeds, Quinoa, Malanga, Peanuts, Amaranth, Legumes, Cassava, Pecans, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin, Plantains, Yuca, Garbanzo Beans, Pinto Beans
  • Fruits
    Limes, Bananas, Avocados, Cacao, Breadfruit, Plums, Apples, Berries, Papayas, Mangos, Cherimoya, Guanabana, Pineapple, Melon, Tamarind, Quince, Grapes, Guava, Oranges, Kiwi
  • Vegetables
    Kale, Cactus, Eggplant, Turnip, Chard, Squash, Zucchini, Onions, Broccoli, Okra, Spinach, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Tomatillos, Sweet Peppers, Chiles,
  • Plant Oils and Milk Products
    Plant Oils (Soy, Corn, Olive), Milk, Cheese
  • Fish, Shellfish
    Shrimp, Salmon, Snapper, Mussels
  • Poultry & Pork
    Fowl, Turkey, Chicken
  • Meat, Sweets, Eggs
    Daily Exercise: walking, house cleaning, running, soccer, tennis, golf, swimming, hiking, scuba diving, basketball, baseball, football, skiing, surfing, yard work, rollerblading, dancing, weight lifting, love-making.

    Alcohol may be consumed by adults in moderation and with meals, but consumption should be avoided during pregnancy and whenever it would put the individual or others at risk.
  • Vegetarian Pyramid

    Vegetarian Diet Pyramid
    The Vegetarian Diet Pyramid, fourth and last in the Oldways series, represents a traditional healthy vegetarian diet. Variations of this traditional healthy vegetarian diet exist throughout the world, particularly in parts of North America, Europe, South America, and most notably, Asia. Given these carefully defined parameters, the phrase "Traditional Vegetarian Diet" is used here to represent the healthy traditional ovo-lacto vegetarian diets of these regions and peoples.

    According to the 1995 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, healthful diets contain the amounts of essential nutrients and energy needed to prevent nutritional deficiencies and excesses. Healthful diets also provide the right balance of carbohydrate, fat, and protein to reduce risks for chronic diseases, and they are obtained from a variety of foods that are available, affordable, and enjoyable. People are quickly learning that they can easily combine a variety of grains and vegetables to ensure that all nine essential amino acids are obtained in adequate amounts. Plant protein foods contribute approximately 65 percent of the per capita supply of protein on a worldwide basis. Vegetarian meals can be delicious and exciting, especially when several varieties of grains, fruits, and vegetables are combined. A wide array of spices and herbs, an increasing variety of produce at the market, and multiple options for artesian oils and cheeses all combine to produce flavors and tastes that capture the essence of a culinary adventure.


    Diet Characteristics
    Dietary data from vegetarians across the world that enjoyed the lowest recorded rates of chronic diseases and the highest adult life expectancy show a pattern similar to the one illustrated in the list below. The healthfulness of this pattern is corroborated by epidemiological and experimental nutrition.

    • Multiple daily servings of foods from the three Fruits and Vegetables, Whole Grains, Legumes, and Beans mini-pyramids
    • Daily servings from the three Nuts and Seeds, Plant Oils, and Egg Whites, Soy Milks and Dairy mini-pyramids
    • Occasional or small-quantity servings from the Eggs and Sweets mini-pyramid
    • Attention to consuming a variety of foods from all seven mini-pyramids
    • Daily consumption of enough water throughout the day to assure good health
    • Regular physical activity at a level which promotes healthy weight, fitness, and well-being
    • Reliance upon whole foods and minimally processed foods in preference to highly-processed foods
    • Moderate regular intake of alcoholic beverages such as wine, beer or spirits (optional)
    • Daily consumption of unrefined plant oils.
    • Dietary supplements as necessary, based upon factors such as age, sex, and lifestyle, with special attention to those avoiding dairy and/or eggs (Vitamins D and B12).

    Common Foods of the Vegetarian Diet

    • Breads, Pasta & Grains
      Oats, Wheat, Rice, Buckwheat, Flax, Bulgur, Quinoa, Amaranth, Seitan, Millet, Barley, Whole Grain Bread, Rye, Pita, Tortilla, Rice Cakes, Couscous, Noodles, Kasha, Pasta, Corn
    • Fruits
      Grapes, Raisins, Pears, Avocados, Oranges, Melon, Apples, Bananas, Plums, Cherries
    • Vegetables
      Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Kale, Broccoli, Collards, Sweet Potatoes, Peppers, Asparagus, Cucumber, Potatoes, Onions, Carrots, Cabbage, Squash, Leeks, Eggplant, Celery, Lettuce, Legumes & Beans: Soy, Red Bean, Lentil, Kidney Bean, Tempeh, Tofu, Black-Eyed Pea, Dried Pea, Soy Flour, Textured Vegetable Protein, Navy Bean, Miso, Pinto Bean, Split Pea, Lima Bean, Chick Pea, Black Bean
    • Eggs
    • Soy Milk, Cheese, Yogurt
    • Nuts, Seeds
      Pine, Walnut, Pistachio, Brazil, Pecan, Almond, Sesame, Cashew, Pumpkin, Hazelnut, Macadamia, Peanuts, Peanut Butter, Almonds, Pistachios, Pine Nuts, Walnuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sesame Seeds
    • Plant, Oils
      Corn, Canola, Avocado, Olive, Soybean, Safflower, Peanut
    • Sweets
      Pie, Custard, Ice Cream, Cake, Cookies
    Daily Exercise: walking, house cleaning, running, soccer, tennis, golf, swimming, hiking, scuba diving, basketball, baseball, football, skiing, surfing, yard work, rollerblading, dancing, weight lifting, love-making. Alcohol may be consumed by adults in moderation and with meals, but consumption should be avoided during pregnancy and whenever it would put the individual or others at risk.