Vegetarian Food Pyramid is a nutrition guideline that symbolizes a customary healthy vegetarian diet. Deviations in this vegetarian diet exist throughout the world. This pyramid was created in 1998, by Old ways Preservation Trust and scientific research was done by Cornell and Harvard University. This Vegan Diet Pyramid recommends variety and frequencies of foods that should be consumed by vegetarians to achieve their nutritional goals. The food pyramid is divided into food groups based on their type and nutritional value that should be consumed regularly for optimal health. Adapting the vegetarian food pyramid recommendations ensures that a vegetarian remains healthy and fit.
Following the food pyramid gives rise to several health benefits. Research indicates that people who adopt the vegan food pyramid have less chances of acquiring cardiovascular disease. On the contrary it is observed that a vegetarian diet can reverse heart damage caused due to unhealthy lifestyle. Another benefit of vegan diet pyramid is that it helps people lose weight, as the pyramid is rich in fiber content and fiber is known to curb appetite. The antioxidants present in vegetarian foods help in keeping the cellular damage which precedes cancer, at bay. Hence, considering these and many more health benefits, there is a necessity of adopting the vegetarian food pyramid.
You do not have to count every single thing that you consume each day, to ensure that you are consuming sufficient amount of every category. All that you need to do is balance the vegetarian diet which is important to accomplish optimal health. The pyramid is divided into several, daily and weekly servings; but it fails to suggest the size of the serving. It further recommends regular physical activity and hydration. Even if the vegan pyramid is followed meticulously, there are chances that you may not be able to avoid few deficiencies commonly observed in vegetarians.
While following the vegetarian food pyramid, the below mentioned points should be followed:
- Ensure consumption of whole foods and minimally processed foods.
- Intake of ample water.
- Consumption of moderate alcohol intake with meals.
- Dietary supplements of Vitamin D and B12 may be required if diet fails to contain dairy and/or eggs.
- Perform regular exercise.
The vegetarian Diet Pyramid proposes how all the essential nutrients can be obtained when switching over to a vegan diet. This pyramid consists of seven mini pyramids. Each of this mini pyramids is dedicated to a different set of foods. A variety of foods from these seven mini pyramids should be consumed. The 7 mini pyramids are divided into：
- Fruits and Vegetables;
- Whole Grains;
- Legumes and Beans;
- Nuts and Seeds;
- Egg Whites, Soy Milks and Dairy;
- Plant Oils and
It is recommended that several servings a day of fruits & vegetables; Whole grains; legumes and beans should be consumed. Daily servings of nuts & seeds; Egg Whites, Soy Milks and Dairy; and plant oils are recommended. Weekly consumption of sweets is suggested.
The vegetarian diet pyramid shall give you an idea on how to obtain all necessary nutrients when switching to a vegetarian diet. Follow the vegetarian food pyramid and experience numerous health benefits.
Understanding the Food Pyramid for Kids
Food pyramid helps us in providing the growing kids with all the essential nutrients that are required by them, each day. The body needs of a growing kid is varied, it requires a variety of foods to stay healthy and strong. Hence, the idea of food pyramid generated so that the parents can provide equal amounts of foods required by the growing kid, further ensuring that adequate quantity of food is provided from each group. Food Guide Pyramid indicates which food has to be eaten by the kid to help them grow and remain healthy.
The Food Pyramid for kids is divided into five major food groups which contain fruits; vegetables; meat; grains and dairy products. Each of these food groups offer some nutrients and energy required by the child. Hence, a balanced diet involving different variety of foods from all the food groups must be consumed by the kid daily for proper growth and optimum health. There are a few categories of food products that fail to be included in the food pyramid for kids such as chips, chocolates, etc. Such food products should be consumed in the lease quantities as they are generally high in empty calories, salt, sugars and fats
Grain group Forms the base of the pyramid as the maximum number of servings is required from this food group. Grain products offer vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and dietary fiber.
Vegetable and the fruit group Plenty of this group should be consumed as it provides vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
Meat group Includes protein sources such as eggs, peas, peanut butter, meat, fish and poultry. These foods are rich in protein, iron, and zinc.
Milk group – This group is vital for calcium.
Fats and sugar – This group should be consumed in the least quantity as they contain calories but less amounts of vitamins and minerals.
The New Food Pyramid – My Pyramid
Food & Drug Administration restructured the contents and appearance of the food pyramid for children, which is known as My Pyramid. In this new pyramid, there are five food groups which are represented by six vertical stripes. My Pyramid also includes fats and oils that should be consumed by your kid every day. Each color of My Pyramid represents a different food group, which is as follows：
- Orange color represents Grains.
- Green: Vegetables
- Red: Fruits
- Blue: Dairy and Calcium-Rich Foods
- Purple: Proteins
- Yellow: Fats, Oils And Sweets
My Pyramid too, includes the same basic food groups but the difference is in the arrangement which indicates the quantity to be consumed; width of the colored stripe indicates the amount of servings to be consumed from each group. The widest area indicates the foods which our kids should consume in abundant quantities daily while the sections that are narrower should be consumed in least quantities.
The widest area is of grains group while the narrowest area is of fats, oils and sweets group. Excess consumption of fats and sweets make our kids overweight and are not good for their health. Hence, it is the narrowest area on My Pyramid reminding us to give our kids, very less amounts. Stairs on My Pyramid depicts the importance of physical activity among kids, with a minimum recommendation of 30 minutes moderate exercise activity, each day while, older kids should perform 60 minutes of exercise and/or physical activity minimum five times a week.
My Pyramid and Food pyramid for kids is just an indicator while, the actual amounts of food to be consumed from each group depends on the age, gender and physical activity of the child. But it is essential that all the food groups are consumed daily to maintain proper health.
Which are the High Protein Vegetarian Foods?
There are several high protein vegetarian foods that are available and can be added into your daily diet to fulfill the suggested protein requirements. It is a myth that vegetarian diet fails to meet the suggested protein requirements. You can easily obtain adequate amounts of protein without eating animal source of proteins. Daily protein requirement varies from person to person and is based on the age, gender and physical activity. Athletes, pregnant and lactating women require a higher intake of proteins. The average daily requirement for proteins in women is 46gms while in men is 56gms.
It is a known fact that animal products such as eggs, meat and dairy are good sources of protein; but they also contain high saturated fats and cholesterol. It is not necessary that you need to take meat or cheese to fulfill your daily protein requirements. It is always advisable to consume more of high protein vegetarian foods as they are less expensive, have low calories & fat, and is good for the environment.
High protein vegetarian foods can offer you abundant of proteins in your diet hence, you need not worry about suffering from symptoms of low protein levels, such as muscle aches, low energy, and insomnia. Some of the high protein foods which should be implemented in your diet to achieve the daily protein goals are:-
- Legumes – Legumes such as green peas, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans and soya beans are rich in protein and also contain iron, potassium, fiber, phosphorous and Vitamin B.
- Tofu Tofu also contains polyunsaturated fatty acids which, includes omega-3 fats, which is good for the heart.
- Dairy Foods – Protein rich dairy foods are milk, yogurt, soy milk, soy yogurt, paneer (cottage cheese), peanut butter and cheese. Cottage cheese further contains calcium which helps in keeping your bones strong
- Nuts Nuts, such as cashews, peanuts and almonds are an excellent source of plant-based proteins. They are also rich sources of healthy fats, dietary fiber and vitamin E. Almonds help in reducing chances of heart diseases.
- Quinoa – Quinoa is rich in proteins, iron and fiber and is low in cholesterol.
- Sunflower Seeds Sunflower seeds help boost your daily requirement of proteins. They further help in reducing cholesterol and magnesium levels. They contain selenium which prevents cancer.
- Avocado – Avocado not only provides you with proteins but also provides you with other health benefits. They are a rich source of healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, and potassium.
Few other vegetarian foods rich in proteins are Rice, Hummus, Pita, Broccoli, Spinach, Flax seeds, Sesame seeds, Chickpeas, Orange, Papaya, Apple, Grapes, Banana, Pineapple, Peach, Pears, etc. To acquire adequate amount of proteins, it is advisable to eat multiple servings of legumes, amaranth, pistachios, pumpkin seeds every day.
Consuming the above mentioned high protein vegetarian foods can easily help you acquire your daily requirement of proteins. If you consume these food products regularly in appropriate amounts, you need not worry about suffering from protein deficiency.