Smita Dey

স্পষ্ট ভাষী মানুষ

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The food pyramid is a guide to healthy eating. The purpose of the food pyramid is to communicate nutritional recommendations for a balanced diet for everyone. So, it plays a vital role in our lives.

To fulfill daily food requirements is essential to have a healthy life. In recent years, especially in the most developed countries, child and youth malnutrition has increased in a very worrying way, as a consequence of poorly balanced diets, where excess sugars and fats abound and a deficit of vitamins and minerals (vegetables, fish meat).

The role of food is to provide the body with enough energy, providing the necessary nutrients for it to function properly. During childhood and adolescence, critical times of physical and mental development, the nutritional requirements are higher, so it is necessary to adequately control the diet and making sure not to fall into deficits or deficiencies that may cause alterations and disorders of the health.

Food Pyramid Importance

We are not properly aware of the food pyramid or basic food nutrition. As a result, we cannot provide proper nutrition to our children and other family members. Sometimes, we provide an excess of nutrition with a daily diet, which is also not good for our health. So, first of all, we need to have a clear conception about nutrition, nutritional requirements at various ages of life, and what food we should eat to have balanced nutrition. The food pyramid can help you to know which foods you should consume more and which you should avoid or eat less. You can find all your answers regarding nutrition in this chapter.

Importance of Knowing the Healthy Food Pyramid
Importance of Knowing the Healthy Food Pyramid

Proper nutrition aims to achieve and maintain a desirable body constitution and a high potential for physical and mental work. A balance between calorie intake and energy expenditure is necessary to achieve a desirable body weight. Energy expenditure depends on age, gender, weight, and metabolic and physical activity. If the energy intake exceeds the expense, if the calorie intake is less than the expense, weight is lost.

Daily food requirements for essential nutrients also depend on age, sex, weight, and metabolic and physical activity. Every 5 years, the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences/ National Research Council and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) publish the recommended daily requirements (DRI) for protein, calories, and some vitamins and minerals for vitamins and minerals for which there is less data, it is calculated what the safe and sufficient daily dietary intake should be. In this way, the Food Pyramid guide us to pick our food.

At first, let’s know about the Correlation between Nutrition and Energy.

Correlation between Nutrition and Energy

Correlation between Nutrition and Energy
Correlation between Nutrition and Energy

In fact, diet is one of the essential determinants of survival. This is the fact, we get energy (the ability for doing work) and nutrition from our daily food that we intake. This chapter is important as we discuss here about the healthy food pyramid and the proportion of daily food requirements at various ages. And you need to have a little idea about two topics. These are-

1. Nutrition

2. Energy


Nutrition is purely a scientific term. Chemistry and biology are closely associated with it. That is, knowledge of chemistry and biology is essential to understand nutrition. Nutrition is a process by which the food ensures body growth, body erosion, and produces energy. We know the six components of food are the source of the nutrients. The topic was discussed in the section on “Food Ingredients and Physiology”.


We get the energy from nutrients. Energy is needed for the movement and muscular function of the animal, as well as for aerobic functions such as breathing, absorption, blood circulation. The energy of carbohydrates, proteins, and Fats in the cells of the body is converted into thermal energy by being absorbed in a special biological process. A calorie is the measurement unit of energy that we get from food. Our physical strength and wellbeing depend on this Calorie.

Variation of the Demand of Nutrition

According to the Healthy Food Pyramid, we have to eat a variety of foods among all food groups to meet our daily needs.

Variation of the Demand of Nutrition
Variation of the Demand of Nutrition

Age and Growth

The demand for nutrition is not the same in the bodies of all the people around us. In general, the demand for various nutrients in the human body depends on some effectors/ catalysts. Such as-

As the body starts to grow up from the time of birth to the age of 20-25 years the demand for nutrients gradually increases during that period and after 65 years it decreases.

Physical Weight/ Volume

Bodyweight and volume have a relation with nutritional requirements. The rate of metabolism is different between an obese and a thinner.


Nutrition has a strong connection with the profession of a person. Some additional nutrients are needed for laborers beyond their regular needs.


The demand of nutrients varies on the disparity of climate. Heat generating nutrients are needed more in cold areas.


There are differences in nutritional needs between men and women. Males’ nutritional daily food requirements are higher for their body weight and physical exertion. Daily food requirements are higher also in pregnant women and mothers during the maternity period.

Health Condition

Requirements of nutrients in the body vary during illness. Some foods are harmful to the body during some kinds of sickness. However, nutrients are needed more in the body in most diseases.

Genetic Structure

The genetic structure of each human being is different and therefore the nutritional requirements of each individual are different. These include structure, weight, growth rate, immunity, etc.

Therefore, when we make a daily diet list, we must consider the above-stated catalyst/ influencers to ensure the appropriate nutrients knowing the Healthy Food Pyramid for all our family members.

Body Mass Index

Readers, another topic is relevant with the Food Pyramid. That is the Body Mass Index (BMI) or body mass. After the birth of a baby, the body starts to grow up and subsequently reaches the youth crossing childhood and adolescence. The height of the human body is increased up to 24 years. Then it is stopped. At that stage, the diet works to keep the body emaciated and healthy.

At the adult stage, the consistency of the height and weight of the body is needed to have better health. The index of balancing the consistency is called the Body Mass Index (BMI), or mass index. This is also called the Quetelet Index. The body is called nutritionally healthy if the weight is consistent with the height of the body.

Body Mass Index
Body Mass Index

BMI’s formula is – Body Weight (kg) ÷ [Body height (meter)] 2, that is, The BMI or mass index is the result of dividing the body weight by the square of the body height. BMI is an indicator of the amount of fat in our body.

Calorie Consumption from Carbohydrate, Protein and Fat

Energy is mainly found from the three components- carbohydrate, protein, and Fat. Nutritionists have determined the amount of consuming calories from these three ingredients that are healthy. The daily requirements of calories are given below:

Calorie Requirements for Male and Female as Per Their Age

Age Calorie Requirements (Kilocalorie)AgeCalorie Requirements (Kilocalorie)
০-1820 (820)40-492620 (1900)
1-31360 (1360)50-592480 (1800)
4-61820 (1820)60-692210 (1600)
7-92190 (2190)70-791930 (1400)
10-122600 (2600)PregnantMotherFirst Three Month+150
13-152680 (2260)NextSix Months+ 350
16-192820 (2100)Lactating Mother+750
23-392760 (2000)  
Calorie Chart

*(The numbers without brackets mention the calorie requirements of male the numbers within the brackets for females.)*

Body Weight: Adult Male = 60 kg; Adult female = 50kg

It is mentionable, the weight of an adult person should be maintained according to the height and age and energy should be absorbed according to occupation and work. Our body becomes fatty and obese may cause various diseases due to excess calorie intake. Again, our body becomes thin and weak by consuming less calories than needed.

Calorie Percentage from Common Nutrients

You can get the percentage of calories from the three common nutrients. Here are the percentage:

  1. Protein-based foods: 15 percent of the total calorie;
  2. Carbohydrates based foods (most percentage of carbohydrates should be complex carbohydrate, not sugar-like): 50-60 percent of total calories; And
  3. Fat based foods: (a) Saturated Fat – 7% of total calories. (B) Mono-unsaturated) – up to 20 percent of total calories.

Basic Food Group with All the Nutrients

All nutrients are not found from a single diet. We take various types of food to fulfill all the nutritional requirements of the body.

Nutritionists have divided all the diets into 5 parts according to their nutritional content so that a nutritional meal can be prepared. This section is called the Basic Food Group.

As the food pyramid is a reference tool for approaching a balanced diet, we will notice a novelty at the base of the food pyramid.

Basic Food Group with All the Nutrients
Base of The Food Pyramid: Basic Food Group with All the Nutrients

The quantity and groups of nutrients are required to meet the nutritional requirements as per the age is mentioned here.

All types of food are divided into five classes depending on the function and components of foods. The minimum amount of food intake from the mentioned category is called ‘one serving’.

For your cognition, the four groups of food based on nutritional contributions are given below-

1. Bodybuilding Foods

Protein-enriched foods are included in this category. For example, fish, meat, liver, eggs, milk, pulses, nuts and beans. Although incomplete protein is rich in various types of pulses, seeds; the nutrition value increases while these are taken with the combination of meats and fish. Further, sufficient calcium is available in milk, we get sufficient iron, from egg and liver. The amount of different foods may serve in this category_

  1. Fish, Meat, Lever- 25-35 grams (1serving)
  2. Pulses, nuts, or seeds – 25 grams (1 serving)
  3. Milk – 100 grams (1 serving)
  4. Curd – 200grams (1 serving)
  5. Cheese – 25-30 grams (1 serving)
  6. Egg – 1 (Full) (1 serving)

It is recommended to take at least one serving of protein per day. 5-6 grams of protein is found from serving of this type. 2/3 (Two Third) of protein requirements will be met by the food consumption of plant and animal protein. A bodybuilding diet is required for pregnant women and babies.

2. Energetic Foods

This category includes all types of grains, including sugar, molasses, oils, and fatty foods. About two-thirds of the total energy requirements are provided from food grains. B-1, iron, and calcium are found in the upper lining of the crop. The amount of different foods served in this class is:

  1. Rice – 25 grams boiled – 1-2 cups – 1 serving
  2. Flour- 25 grams boiled – 1-2 cups – 1 serving
    Bread made with flour – 1 piece medium-sized
  3. Bread – 1 slice – 1 serving
  4. Puffed rice, toasted paddy – 1/2 cup – 1 serving

An adult labor person should consume 150-200 grams or 4-6 servings of grains per meal.

Sugar or molasses provides energy to the body. Consuming 25 grams of sugar or molasses per day is sufficient. Oil or fatty foods, such as soybean oil, mustard oil, ghee, butter, etc. increase the taste and smell of foods. Essential fatty acids are found in the oil. Apart from these, soluble vitamins are also found in oil fats. Daily calories of 35-45 grams or 20 percent of total calorie requirements can be consumed from oil and fat. Oil is more healthy than fat in the diet. It is better to feed children cooking food with ½ tablespoon oil.

3. Defensive foods

This category includes vegetables and fruits containing all types of vitamins and minerals. Carotene, vitamin C, calcium, iron, potassium, and etc. are also found in this category.

A. Carotene enriched vegetables and fruitsCoriander leaves, parsley, sweet pumpkin, carrot, jackfruit, papaya, ripe mango.
B. Vitamin C enriched vegetables and fruitsFresh green leaves, tomatoes, green chili, kind of sour fruit, orange, amla, guava, pomelo lemon, cauliflower, hog plum.
C. Other types of vegetables and fruitsEggplant, pheasant, crust, Snake gourd, cabbage, Balsam apple, Kidney bean, bean, gourd, wood apple, banana, blackberry, litchi.
D. Root and tuberPotatoes, turnips, Esculent root, beetroots, etc.
Defensive foods for nutrition

Half a cup of cooked curry or 50-75 grams of vegetable curry or chopped fruit is considered as one serving. Medium-sized fruits, such as 1 ripe banana, 1 ripe mango, 1 orange are estimated as one served.

Green vegetables, vegetables, and fruits enriched with vitamin C are separately considered as 1 serving and other vegetables and root tubers are considered as a minimum of 2 servings. The daily requirements of Vitamin A and C of an adult person are met with the consumption of 4-6 servings daily.

4. Milk and Dairy Products

Milk and dairy products are included in separate categories as milk is an ideal and essential food for children. In addition to excellent protein, it is essential for babies’ growth as it contains Calcium, Riboflavin, and Vitamin D. Breast milk is the best food for infants. The supplementary diet should be given in addition to breast milk from the age of 5-6 months of a baby. The quantity of 1served liquid milk is 200 grams. The quantity of 1 served dairy product is-

  1. Curdle milk -1/2 cup or 50 grams
  2. Yogurt 1/2 -Half Cup or 50 grams
  3. Cheese- 1 slice or 25-30 grams

Intake of 1-2 servings of milk or the same quantity of milk made foods daily fulfill the requirements of excellent protein, calcium, and riboflavin for pregnant mothers, growing up children, and adolescents.

So, the regular meal is consistent, balanced, and full of nutrients, if the food is selected in the daily diet list from fundamental/basic dietary groups. It plays a vital role to keep the body healthy and functional. So we need to Plan your menus with the healthy food pyramid.

The Healthy Eating Food Pyramid for Every Age and Phase

Variation of Nutritional Requirementsat Every Age and Phase
Variation of Nutritional Requirementsat Every Age and Phase

Consuming a balanced or nutritious diet is very important. Because there is a difference in nutritional needs between an adolescent and an adult working person and also pregnant women. And the food pyramid is very useful for planning your children’s menus. A balanced and nutritious diet can be served with a fully planned menu. The Healthy Food Pyramid of children and different ages are given below.

Healthy Food Pyramid for Infants and Children at Different Ages

Nutrients element From 0 to 6 months6-12 months1-5 years6-9 years10-12 years
Calorie (Kilocalorie)Weighs in 120 / kgWeighs in 100 / kg 1000-150019502100
Protein (gm.)Weighs in 2.3- 1.8/ kg1.8-1.5 kg17-2230-3642
Calcium (gm.)0.5-0.60.5-0.60.4-0.50.4-0.50.4-0.5
Iron (mg)61015-2020-2520-25
Retinol (mg)400300250-300400600
B1 (mg))
B2 (mg)
C (mg)303030-404040
D (inter-unit)200200200200200
Healthy Food Pyramid for children

Healthy Food Pyramid for Teenagers

Nutrients element 13-15 boy13-15 girl16-18/19 boy16-18/19 girl
Calorie (Kilocalorie)2600200028002100
Protein (gm.)52435344
Calcium (gm.)0.6-0.70.6-0.70.5-0.60.5-0.6
Iron (mg)38-403041-4530
Retinol (mg)600600600600
B1 (mg)
B2 (mg)
C (mg)40404040
D (inter-unit)200200200200
Healthy Food Pyramid for teenagers

Healthy Food Pyramid for Adult Males and Females

Nutrients element Male (medium labor) Female (medium labor)
Pregnant mother (after 6 months)
Lactating mother
Calorie (Kilocalorie)28002200+300+550-1000
Protein (gm.)5550+15+20
Calcium (gm.)40040010001000
Iron (mg)28283530
Retinol (mg)600600600900
B1 (mg)1.21.0+0.2+0.3
B2 (mg)1.61.3+0.2+0.3
C (mg)40404080
Niacin (mg1814+2+4
Folic acid (mg)100100400150
Healthy Food Pyramid for Nutritional Needs for adult Males and Females

Healthy Food Pyramid for Elderly

Older age is usually called after 60 years. A healthy food pyramid is essential for older people. Because, the functioning of various glands and tissues of the body especially the thyroid, pancreas, kidney, kidney, etc. starts to decrease. For this, the rate of metabolism and energy demand decreases.

In fact, at this age, each and every glands and muscle lose health more or less; resulting in various complications, and health disorders.

They should follow the Healthy Food Pyramid in a proper way. Some points of the Food Pyramid for the Elderly are given below.

  1. Keep the weight accurate according to the height. For example, the weight gets stability consuming 1500-2100 calories.
  2. Intake of 3-5 grams of protein daily is sufficient. High-quality protein is available from lean fish, meat, groundnut, beech, egg, and lard.
  3. Vitamin deficiency is common among many old age people, so it is best to take enough vegetables, fresh fruits, and cereals. An intake of 150-200 gm. of colored vegetables is good for them.
  4. Lack of calcium and iron deficiency is common in old age. Therefore, milk or dairy products should be taken. Intake of a liver once a week and boiled egg twice or thrice a week gives a better result.
  5. A balanced diet considering the liking should be at this age. Foods should be soft, miscellaneous, and digestive. Regular walking and light exercise should be practiced. It is essential to take supplementary elements who are taking medicines regularly.
  6. Softly-boiled Sesame leaves and ripe fruits should be taken. Tea, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, etc. should be reduced.
  7. Salted and sweetish foods and chocolate types of food should be restricted.


So far we all know about the efficacy of food and food pyramid, which means how the diet works in our body. We also have learned the nutrient needs of the body and the needs of the strength of action of the body, which is calories or kilocalories.

We also know the Body Mass Index, which is an index of balancing body weight with height. I have given you an idea of the required weight at a specific age and Daily food requirements with proper nutrition for a healthy body.

The requirements of nutrients may change proportionally with the change of our age. Knowing this we can easily meet the nutritional needs of the family at a low cost. As a result, our loved ones and family members will live a healthy life having good health. Your awareness about your healthy life is my only purpose.


1. Science, ninth-tenth grade, National Curriculum and Textbook Board, Dhaka.

2. Food and Nutrition, Shaheen Ahmed, Ideal Library, Dhaka, first published 23th May 2000.