(MayoClinic.com) A healthy diet can be illustrated in many ways, but it's often found in the shape of a pyramid. Most people are familiar with MyPyramid developed by the Department of Agriculture, but that's history now. It's been replaced with MyPlate.
However, many other healthy diets are still represented by food pyramids. These include the Asian, Latin American, Mediterranean and Vegetarian Food Guide pyramids, as well as the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid, just to name a few. These graphics reinforce the choices that are the foundation of a healthy diet.
Symbols, such as a pyramid, illustrate how the pieces of a healthy diet fit together. The base of the pyramid is typically made up of foods that should be the bulk of your healthy diet. In contrast, foods you should eat in smaller amounts or less frequently are shown in the smaller sections of the pyramid. The same principle applies to the dinner plate — half of the plate consists of fruits and vegetables, which should be the bulk of your diet.
Of course, no single food provides all of the nutrients that your body needs, so the idea is to eat a variety of foods from each group in the proper proportions to get all the necessary nutrients and other substances that promote good health.
In addition, most healthy-diet plans emphasize the following:
Most healthy diets are built on the same general principles, but there are key differences that reflect dietary preferences, food availability and cultural eating patterns. For example, the Latin American Diet Pyramid might mention tortillas and cornmeal, whereas the Asian Diet Pyramid might include noodles and rice.
Other differences include:
To see how your eating habits match up to these healthy-diet plans, keep a food diary for several days. Then compare how much of your diet comes from the various groups. You may be surprised by the results. To eat healthier, start with gradual changes, such as eating more vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and limiting fats and sweets.
Here are a few more tips to help you adopt healthier eating habits:
Remember to be creative and go for good taste. A variety of healthy-eating plans are available, so why not try a few on for size? You can explore the world's cuisines and improve your diet at the same time.
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed||Top Searches|
Want to know more about this article or other health related issues? Ask your question and we'll post some each week for CNN.com reader to discuss or for our experts to weight in.