Good Nutrition begins with a simple target... a food target!

Nutrition made easy through a simple food target

The Food Pyramid, developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is a popular guide for making healthy food choices.

Each year, for Science, my sons and I would review the Food Pyramid. But each time we did, I’d get confused about which food groups had better dietary values —those piled at the top of the diagram, as recommended by the USDA, or those placed at the bottom. Then, just when I was getting familiar with the diagram, the USDA modified the pyramid and arranged the food groups vertically… pretty difficult for kids to understand.

In the book Core Energy by Maraya Chebat, Ms. Chebat wrote about a practical and easy-to-remember food chart. It was so simple—it stuck to me like soft toffee! Since then, I’ve been using this guide for healthier eating.

What grows. Foods at the center of the target are best and have the highest nutritional values. These foods should be the basis of one’s diet. Dark leafy land or sea vegetables, bean sprouts, whole grains and fiber-rich fruits belong to the core of this chart. Remember: the more colorful the fruit or vegetable, the richer it is in health-giving antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.

What swims. All kinds of fish belong to the next concentric circle. Wild salmon, tuna, sole and cod are great examples of underwater bounties. They are rich in healthy Omega-3 fatty acid (unsaturated fatty acid present in fish oil) and particularly good for heart and brain health.

What flies refers to poultry meat – chicken, turkey and other winged fowls, including the eggs. These foods provide the body with much-needed protein.

What walks on 4 legs. Ideally, foods in the outer circle should be avoided. As much as possible, try to go slow on meat from animals. Animal fats tend to increase cholesterol levels and cling to the body’s arterial walls that may lead to atherosclerosis.

For nourishment that’s complete and powerful, have your daily fill of a good mix of the foods close to the bull’s eye. Make this visual food target your guide — and keep your health goals on target!

Want a more detailed food target? Watch this space! ;-)