The food pyramid is a tool that helps us get oriented in the proper combination of foods in our diet so that the ratio of the amount and kinds of food would be in balance. There are many food pyramids, here we have the one, which is the only officially approved and recommended by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic.
In the food pyramid in the opening graphical presentation, you can find nutrition recommendations for the establishment of a varied and balanced daily diet.
Suggested servings of food pyramid
(First floor is the base of the food pyramid, fourth floor is the top of the food pyramid)
|The food pyramid||Recommendations / day||1 serving|
|1. floor||3 - 6 servings||
|2. floor||vegetable||3 - 5 servings||
|fruit||2 - 4 servings||
|1 - 2 servings||
|2 - 3 servings||
|4. floor||0 - 2 servings||
First floor of the food pyramid - bread, pasta, rice, and cereals
On the first floor of the pyramid are products made from cereals. These include oatmeal, rice, pasta, bread, buckwheat, corn flakes, and products made from corn. This food group is rich in minerals and polysaccharides, vitamins and fibre. One of the major components of cereals are proteins, but one of these proteins - gluten - causes some people health problems. In this case, it is necessary to avoid gluten-containing foods from the diet. It is mainly in foodstuff made especially from wheat, and in foods containing barley, oats, and rye.
Gluten-free diet is ordered for people with known allergy to gluten and suffering with gluten enteropathy disease, but it also makes sense to introduce it even for those people whose sensitivity to gluten was not detected. It helps people, who often suffer from diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vague skin rashes, anaemia, headaches, and people, who tend to have a tendency to depression and behaviour disorders, suffer from chronic fatigue, etc., these people may be very sensitive on gluten and gluten-free diet may greatly help them to heal such problems. Nowadays, you can find on the lesser-known crops such as millet, spelt flour, emmer and einkorn wheat, buckwheat, amaranth, and many others. These cereals in addition to other specific benefits do not contain gluten and are suitable for a gluten-free diet.
Second floor of food pyramid - fruits and vegetables
We can consume fruit raw or prepared. We are commonly using fruit and seeds growing on trees, shrubs, and herbs. The main component of the fruit is water, it is also a food which is a great source of saccharides. Proteins and fats are negligible. In nuts is contained fat. The fruit is a good source of vitamin C and some fruit also contains B vitamins and carotenoids. All nuts are rich in vitamin E. The fruit is rich in pectin, which is a fibre helping lower blood cholesterol. Any processing decreases the nutritional value of fruit.
On the second floor of the pyramid are also vegetables. Vegetables are edible parts of plants, annual or perennial. The main component of vegetables is also water and some vegetables contain more starch. Some vegetables are also a great source of fibre. Some vegetables contain substances that act preventively against cancer and cardiovascular disease. To this group of vegetables belong also potatoes.
Third floor of food pyramid - milk, dairy products, meat, legumes, eggs, fish
Milk and dairy products have a high nutritional value. Fats in dairy products are saturated, i.e., they have a high nutritional value. From saccharides, milk mostly contains lactose. Lactose may have also cause an intolerance to some people. These people are not able to process lactose in their gut and they are often suffering from flatulence and diarrhoea, but these are not allergies in the true sense of the word. Milk consumption is important, plays a role in building of bones and teeth, it is important for blood coagulation and muscle activity. An important substance, which contains dairy products, is a calcium, most of it is in milk, yogurt and cottage cheese or curd cheese.
Meat is also an important component of our diet, although excessive intake of meat cannot be for health reasons also recommended. It is a food rich in minerals, iron, zinc, as well as fat. In meat, we can find B vitamins and vitamin A, and D. but in meat is also cholesterol, the amount depends on the fat content in meat, and fat content varies considerably. The meat is also rich in iron and zinc. Smoked, cooked, fermented products, sausages, etc. are not from a nutritional point very good, because meat contains a lot of salt and fat.
Very valuable from a nutritional point of view is fish meat and products from them, it is full-protein meat and it is an excellent source of minerals as is phosphorus, iodine, vitamins A and D. Fish oil has a high biological value because it contains a lot of saturated fatty acids. Ideally, the fish should occur in our diet at least 2 times a week.
At this floor of the food pyramid are also the eggs and products from them. Egg white is a full of proteins, egg yolk turn is rich in fats and especially phospholipids. In eggs is also vitamin A, D, E, K and vitamins from group B. The eggs should definitely not be missed in our diet, but on the other hand, we should not eat it too much because of its high cholesterol content.
Fourth floor of food pyramid - sweets, fats, salt
Sweets do not gives our body any beneficial substances, it serves to our body as an empty energy source, and they are source of simple sugars. Our taste buds become rapidly accustomed to sweet taste, but simple sugars are responsible for the formation of caries. We do not need eliminate the sweets from our diet completely, but we should limit their consumption to a minimum.
Regarding the salts, we add it to our dishes as a flavour. Daily intake should not exceed 5 grams, and we must also reckon with the fact that salt is contained in many foods we buy - bread, cheese and meat products. Even on the taste of salt can our organism quite quickly get used to it.
Very important components of food are fats, vitamins soluble in fat are vitamins A, D, E and K, from cholesterol are formed bile acids, vitamin D and sex hormones. Fat protects organs from bumps and are involved in the regulation of body temperature. It is important to distinguish between vegetable and animal fats. When buying oils it is the best to choose single-generic and it is also good to change them sometimes. The best quality oil is virgin olive oil pressed cold.
- Eat regular balanced varied diet based more on plant foods.
- Be active! Adults should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day and children at least 60 minutes. Physical activity of moderate intensity is for example: brisk walking, cycling, gardening,
- Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits, at least 400 g per day, preferably fresh, and local origin. To this amount does not include potatoes and juices.
- Eat foods such as cereals, wholemeal bread, potatoes, pasta, which are rich in starch and fibre.
- Consume milk and dairy products.
- Check the intake of fats. Prefer vegetable oils over animal fats. Limit consumption of foods with high content of fat.
- Replace fatty meat and meat products with legumes, poultry, and fish (you can eat fatty fishes, which are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids).
- Check intake of salt. The total daily intake should not exceed 5 g (1 teaspoon), including hidden salt in foods. Use a salt enriched with iodine.
- Limit consumption of sweets and sugary drinks.
- Drink daily at least 1.5 litters of fluid. Prefer unsweetened non-alcoholic drinks and clean water.
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, avoid getting drunk and do not exceed the daily amount representing e.g. 0.5 litres of beer, or 2 decilitre of wine or 5 centilitres of 40% distillate.
- Endorse full breastfeeding up to 6 months, then complementary breastfeeding with normal feeding up to two years of the babies age or more.
Baby food pyramid
Children's nutrition pyramid does not differ very much from the adult versions, but it takes into account the portion size and the specific demands of a child's body. Baby needs more milk and dairy products, which are a source of calcium for building the bones. The child also has higher demands for iron in the diet. They can get iron in meat, fish, but also in some vegetables - e.g. broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and spinach.
Cereals, pasta, bread, rice
Children over 4 years should eat 3-4 servings per day.
Fruits and vegetables
Serve the fruit fresh and raw, a child older than 4 years should eat two pieces of fruit a day. For fruit, be careful on the sugar content in some kinds. Vegetables are a source of vitamins and fibre. For children over 4 years is recommended to eat 3-4 servings daily.
Milk and dairy products
Calcium contained in milk is very important for children building of bones. Child older than 4 years should eat or drink daily 1-3 servings of dairy products. Beware! It is not suitable for children drink or eats low-fat dairy products.
Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes, nuts
These foods are sources of fat, animal protein and B vitamins, as well of iron and other minerals. Meat served to children should not be fatty, attention should be focused primarily on fish.
Fats and sugar
As for adults, it is same with fats and sugar for children, the foods high in sugar or fat should be eaten as little as possible.