The grains food group consists of any bread, cereal, rice and pasta. The recommended daily dosage of these foods includes between six and eleven servings. Whole grains are recommended over refined grains. A serving of these includes one slice of bread, cup of cooked rice, oatmeal and pasta, of an English muffin or pita, 1 6-inch corn or flour tortilla, or1 cup of dry cereal.

The vegetable food group consists of any vegetables including green leafy ones, carrots, radishes, cabbage and eggplant. The definition of a vegetable is undecided, but we generally consider a vegetable to be savory rather than sweet like fruits. When we use the term vegetable, it can refer to any part of a plant including the stem, leaves, flower, stalk, bulb or root. The recommended daily dose of these is between three to five servings. A serving includes cup of cooked or raw vegetables, cup of vegetable juice or 1 cup of salad. In newer variations of the pyramid, servings of vegetables are not limited.

The fruit food group consists of any fruits including apples, oranges, bananas, blueberries, and grapes. The differentiating characteristic between a fruit and a vegetable is that a fruit is the reproductive part of the plant. We generally eat the fleshy, seed bearing element. This is the part that tends to be sweet. The recommended daily dosage of these foods includes between two to four servings. A serving includes cup of chopped, raw fruit or 1 medium whole fruit.

The dairy food group consists of any milk, cheese and yogurt. The recommended daily dosage of these is three servings. The USDA has shown that three servings of dairy daily has greater benefits in weight loss over just cutting down on calories. A serving includes 1 cup of low fat milk, 1 ounces of regular or low fat cheese, 8 ounces of yogurt or 4 ounces of cottage cheese.

The protein group consists of any meat, poultry, dry beans, eggs, nuts, legumes and tofu. The recommended daily dosage of these is between two to three servings. Lean meats, such as fish and chicken breast are the most highly recommended sources of protein. A serving includes 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish, 1 egg or 1 cup of dry beans.

The fat, oil and sweets group includes fried food, dessert and sugars. These should be used sparingly. There have been benefits found from using olive oil and chocolate. Adding sugar and butter to your food and any other additives that are high in fat and sugar should be done in moderation to keep your body healthy. In newer versions of the pyramid red meat is included in this category.

In addition to these guidelines, taking a daily multivitamin is recommended along with exercise. One to two glasses of red wine or beer a day has also been shown to have health benefits. There are many variations of the food pyramid including pyramids for ethnic cultures and vegetarian diets. Here are sites that may provide you with alternative information: