Food Variety: Friend or Foe?


1. Limit the number of high-fat, sugary and snack foods in your cupboards. If you've stocked up on 10 different types of cookies, you will be more tempted to overeat by having some of each.

2. Eat a variety of vegetables, fruits and other foods that weigh a lot but don't have a lot of calories. They fill you up without piling on calories, and they're packed with nutrients.

3. Follow the Food Guide Pyramid to get the right mix of foods across groups. For example, the milk group is unique in its abundance of calcium and the B vitamin riboflavin. Try for 6-11 servings of grain foods, 3-5 vegetable servings, 2-4 fruit servings, at least 2 servings of dairy products and 5-7 ounces or the equivalent from the protein group daily.

4. Use fats like butter, margarine and oils sparingly.

5. Monitor portion sizes. Weight gain results from eating too many calories, no matter where they come from. Restaurant portions tend to be too big for meat and pasta and too small for vegetables and fruits.

6. Follow the new Dietary Guidelines (visit They promote the right kind of variety.

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