Update - Read about the new Food Pyramid, which has recently been updated.
The Food Guide Pyramid was designed by the US Dept. of Agriculture to promote healthy nutrition in children over six years of age (see the Kids Food Guide Pyramid for younger children). It is meant to be a general guide to daily food choices. The main emphasis of the Food Guide Pyramid is on the five major food groups, all of which are required for good health. It also emphasizes that foods that include a lot of fats, oils and sweets should be used very sparingly.
The Food Pyramid shows a range of servings for each food group. How much you actually eat depends on your age and activity level. Teenage boys who are active require about 2800 calories and should eat the highest range of servings. Teenage girls who are active require about 2200 calories and should eat servings in the middle of the range of servings. Children who are overweight and dieting should at least eat the lowest range of servings.
When determining how many servings to eat, it is important to look at the serving size. Larger portions should count as more than one serving, and smaller portions will count as only a part of a serving.
Click on the different parts of the food guide pyramid to learn more about each food group.