The food pyramid in my new HMO handbook doesnít actually say you should have eleven servings of bread and cereals per day. It says six to eleven servings, and it lumps together bread, cereal, pasta, rice and tortillas. It also tells me what one serving is, and from that information I pretty much convinced myself that eleven servings are better than six.
One serving from that category is one slice of bread, one ounce of cereal, half a bagel, or half a cup of pasta or rice. That isnít much food, although I might be able to live on eleven slices of bread a day, as long as I could smear something good on each one. Sadly, it doesnít work out that way. Butter and margarine are squeezed way up at the top of the pyramid, in the category where it tells you to ďeat sparingly.Ē Not even one serving a day, just ďsparingly.Ē
However, two tablespoons of peanut butter are considered one serving in the protein category, which isnít called the protein category. Itís called the ďmeat, poultry, fish, eggs, cooked dry beans, tofuĒ category. Since youíre only allowed two or three servings per day, you have to make some hard choices. One egg is a serving, so three eggs and youíre out, with no meat or beans. Or peanut butter, for that matter.
Fruits (2 to 4 servings) and vegetables (3 to 5 servings) are big with the USDA. This has always been a problem area for me, especially in the vegetable area of the pyramid. One apple or one banana makes one serving. It doesnít say how many grapes you can eat, unless Iím supposed to put them into the category that says I can have half a cup of raw, canned or cooked fruits or vegetables. Itís good to know they donít discriminate against canned, so that I donít have to go the store and pick up all the makings of a fruit cocktail or a three-bean salad.
I canít find potatoes anywhere on the pyramid or in the appended notes to the pyramid. Whatís up with that? I love my roast potatoes, and Iím willing to compromise on serving size as long as I can keep cooking them and eating them. Since the book doesnít tell me not to eat potatoes at all, Iíll have to assume that when they mention ďleafyĒ vegetables, theyíre not saying those are the only kinds you should eat.