Even though I know it's much out-dated, a lot of my basic ideas about food come from the old "Four Food Groups" model I learned in elementary school.
This model doesn't exactly work because it doesn't show you how much of each section you are supposed to go or show my favorite category, the fats. I will also admit that there have been times in my life where my four food groups chart has looked more like this --------------------------------------------->
I really didn't eat a lot of vegetables during my college years, and I've always had a problem with salt and sugar, and hey, why not throw in the alcohol there just for fun?
Then I learned the food pyramid. Not the updated one that's out and about now, but the older one with levels or steps that show you how much of each type of food you are supposed to get. I kind of liked this one because it laid out the servings for me, but honestly, there's no way that I was following the chart. Part of the problem is that my estimation of a serving is not really a serving. For instance, a Noah's bagel (yum!) can actually be 2-3 servings of grains...wowzers!
According to this pyramid, the bulk of day's food looks like grains and carbs, with two to three servings of dairy and meats. All the fats and sweets and other extras are to be used "sparingly" (Ha!).
Then a few weeks ago, my husband and I were talking about this topic and he mentioned that my food pyramid model was outdated. I had no idea! Apparently I'm only six years behind the times. Anyway, the new pyramid looks like this:
Now, I like how the fruits and vegetables columns put together are greater than the grains section because that's a lot closer to what I am eating on a daily basis. The USDA has a good website that breaks down nutritional information for you and breaks down the vegetable category up further into different categories (dark green leafy veggis, orange veggis, starchy veggis, etc.) . I really don't eat much in the milk category--certainly not three cups worth--though I know I should, or at least take my multi-vitamin. It's also interesting that oil gets a spot on the pyramid now. For now, I know that I don't know all that I need to and I'm going to take some time to collect information and make changes in small steps, but I'm also going to continue doing what I'm doing because it seems to be working, despite the occasional (or not so occasional???) cupcake.
Here's the USDA website as a resource to anyone who might be interested: