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My pyramid is getting better

November 6, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
Since I first began going to, there has been a lot of changes to the Web site.

Maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the site is free of charge and will tell you what you need to maintain a healthy weight, based on your age, gender and level of activity. The site is also helpful in determining what constitutes a serving size as well as those discretionary calories you often see attached to my photos on this site.

While I followed the pyramid program quite closely in the spring, I had to admit that it could sometimes be confusing. Many questions arose, especially concerning packaged and restaurant meals. It has long been suggested, and I have written it here several times, that we stay away from processed foods as much as possible, choosing instead the healthier alternatives of fresh food, particularly that which is found in the outer perimeters of the grocery stores. There you will find fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy.

Once you step inside those aisles, which you must do to get cereals, tea, coffee and condiments, you are walking into a world of high calorie, over processed and what food writer, Michael Pollan calls, “food-like substances.”

But that’s a discussion for another time. At this point I wanted to get back to the food pyramid program, as I admit the confusion in determining what exactly were my discretionary calories and how do I tell if I’ve had healthy oils versus bad fats?

Well, I’m happy to note that the pyramid Web site has been upgraded to include a food journaling graph that will do all the figuring for you. When I entered my breakfast and lunch today, I quickly found out that not only had I gone over my recommended daily discretionary calories, but I had already fulfilled my meat and bean requirements as well. I figure about all that’s left for my dinner is a salad with a few teaspoons olive oil.

Of course, I’m not going to limit myself to that for the rest of the day, but now that I know there is a place to go that will make it easier to stay within the boundaries needed for me to stay healthy, I can make better choices. First of all, I wouldn’t have let my husband put butter on my toast this morning and I probably would have planned that salad for my lunch and cut back on the meat. Eggs, after all, are in the meat group and while I usually have cereal for breakfast, having eggs this morning and meat again for my lunch, I was quickly over the top.

So this is a wake-up call, not only to myself, but to others out there who are struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Go to and set up your own meal planning graph. If you think you aren’t eating much during the day but are still having trouble losing weight, it could be that you just aren’t eating right. By tweaking a few servings of this instead of that, you can make a difference in your own healthy lifestyle.

I plan to stick more closely to the planner, so stay with me and maybe we can do this together.

The husband created a wonderful dinner and I wasn't even going to try to count the calories. I came home to veal parm with mozzarella cheese. As an added vegetable, I sauteed some Brussels sprouts in olive oil and drizzled them with a tablespoon of maple syrup just before serving. I had some leftover bagette bread that had to be served soon, so I sliced it into quarters and grilled it with butter and garlic salt. It was like eating ground glass, but I love crunchy bread so I didn't mind.


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Breakfast: 2 ounces meat; 2 ounces grains (extra slice toast, not shown); 1 cup fruit (orange juice, not shown), 1 tablespoon jam (on that extra slice of toast); 4 teaspoons sugar (in two cups of tea); ¼ cup milk (I have no idea where that was absorbed) and way too many discretionary calories.


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