We all know that the Food Pyramid (FP) is shaped like a triangle. But have you ever wondered on the exact reason why some food in the FP must be consumed more than others?

Together with the help of trusted dieticians from ManilaMed, Chief Ma. Mercedita C. Gaufo RND and Melizza Bonus RND, we’ll share you some information on why the FP was arranged the way we’re all familiar with.

Did you know?

According to a 2011 interview by the Daily Inquirer to the Bureau of Agriculture and Statistics (BAS), a typical Filipino eats 308.93 grams of rice per day. This is equivalent to 1,102.88 grams of calories and 23.17 grams of protein.

According to BAS, the standard nutrition requirement of an adult human body only needs about 2000 calories and 65g of protein a day. See the difference?

Based on the data above, the average Filipino lacks the proper nutrition that they need everyday. No wonder the Philippines’ chronic malnutrition rate, among children, has increased to 33.4% in 2015, according to Food Nutrition and Research Institute (FNRI).

Back to the question: why are some food more important than others? Let’s discuss below:

  1. Vegetables and Legumes

Legumes is an umbrella term for beans, nuts, peas and lentils. Dieticians recognize them as “super food” because they’re an excellent source of fiber, iron, potassium, magnesium, and protein. What’s more, they’re cholesterol free!

Legumes are a good source of energy, they can also keep you full for a longer period of time — perfect for busy bees who don’t have much time for breaks.

Although they aren’t as appetizing as other vegetables, Dr. M.M. Gaufo and Dr. M. Bonus says that there are legume recipes you can try as snacks (try one of them here). You can also consume them as soup or as a side dish for the family.

TIP: If you’re having a hard time which snack to eat for merienda or if you’ve suddenly craved for something you can’t pin point yet, dieticians advise to drink a glass of water then wait for a few minutes. If you feel that your cravings have faded away, your body may actually be just thirsty.

  1. Fresh Fruits

Fruits in your meal isn’t just an instagram-worthy shot, they’re also beneficial for your health! Fruits are the yummiest source of vitamins A, C, and potassium, which help your immune system become stronger — making you less sick and productive for the day.

Dieticians Gaufo and Bonus recommend taking vitamins and supplements after eating. However, before doing this, always consult your doctor first. You can also subscribe to kitchenwares that guide you to a proper amount of food intake, like that of Pinggang Pinoy.   

  1. Grains

These are the “energy source group” in the FP. Rice, bread, pasta, and cereals provide carbohydrate, vitamins, fiber, minerals, and lots of energy  in your body. Filipinos love eating rice, it’s their main source of energy. Improper intake of carbohydrates, however, can lead to conditions such as diabetes or obesity.

Dieticians say that eating foods rich in carbohydrates is best during breakfast–but there should be a limit. People ranging from 40 to 50s should be mindful about their calorie intake limitation to prevent serious effects on their health.

  1. Dairy

Aside from protein, minerals, and vitamin; dairy foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, and butter are the best source of calcium for your body. Dairies also contain good bacteria that can help make your tummy healthier.

  1. Farm and Poultry Goods

Here comes the most consumed food in the FP: meat, chicken, fish, and egg. Not only they taste wholesome in a variety of meals, they’re also rich sources of vitamin B, protein, iron, and zinc.

These food make dishes more exciting and appetizing, but according to the standard nutrition level, poultry goods should be consumed not more than two (2) servings per day.

People love to eat delicious food, that’s a fact. But exceeding the recommended nutrition diet is risky for our health. Dietitians and doctors alike highly recommend  Pinggang Pinoy to pattern our meal with. It’s a visual tool that shows a plate roughly divided into four parts: the rice (carbohydrate-rich foods) and vegetable parts occupy more than half of the plate while the fish (protein- and mineral-rich foods) and fruits occupy the remaining spaces.

Having a balanced meal won’t harm anyone, in fact, it’s healthier. Don’t let cravings and tempting sweets fool you, start eating healthy by following the Food Pyramid.

For more nutritional facts, visit ManilaMed at www.manilamed.com.ph