When the government replaced the old food pyramid with a plate divided into four parts, it was supposed to make nutrition recommendations easier to understand. But the USDA’s research finds that two years later, most people still aren’t digesting the guidelines. Change does take time, but we’d like to speed up the process by making easier even easier.
Here is how much you need from each food group, and the ounce or cup equivalents of one serving of some common foods. That means while the amounts might not actually be exactly an ounce or a cup, they count as an ounce or a cup when adding up your daily intake.
On average, according to the USDA, people are eating 30 percent more meat than is recommended. The government says women should aim for about 5 ounces of lean meat, fish or vegetarian protein each day. Now, we believe you should have, at most, 4 ounces of red meat, including pork, in a week (we may learn how to make red meat less problematic in the future, but for now we advise limiting yourself) – so add that in to your thoughts.
What counts as an ounce of protein?
- 1 small steak filet = 4 ounces
- 1 small hamburger (note, one serving is small!) = 3 ounces
- 1 half of a chicken breast = 3 ounces
- 4 sandwich slices of turkey = 4 ounces
- 1 can of tuna = 4 ounces
- 1 salmon steak = 4 to 6 ounces
- 1 small trout = 3 ounces
- 1 egg = 1 ounce
- 1/4 cup of cooked beans, lentils or chickpeas = 1 ounce
- 1 cup of split pea, lentil or bean soup = 2 ounces
- 1 soy or bean burger = 2 ounces
- 2 tablespoons of hummus = 1 ounce
- 3 falafel balls = 3 ounces
- 12 almonds = 1/2 ounce
- 24 pistachios = 1/2 ounce
- 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or almond butter = 1 ounce
Women should be getting about 2 cups of fruit a day, by the USDA guidelines – and we believe 4 cups is optimal. Across the country, people are eating only 38 percent of that 2-cup minimum.
What counts as a cup of fruit?
- 1 small apple = 1 cup
- 1 snack container of applesauce = 1/2 cup
- 1 large banana = 1 cup
- 32 seedless grapes = 1 cup
- 1 medium grapefruit = 1 cup
- 1 large orange = 1 cup
- 8 large strawberries = 1 cup
- 1 small box of raisins = 1/2 cup
- 1 medium pear = 1 cup