How does the food pyramid help us

Complete nutrition - implementation

  1. Nutrition tips
  2. Wholesome nutrition
  3. The food pyramid

The 10 rules of the DGE, triangular nutrition pyramids from professional societies, the three-dimensional DGE food pyramid, the DGE nutrition circle or the American model MyPlate (Mein Teller) from the USDA are intended to help consolidate a healthy, wholesome diet in everyday life.

The food pyramid

The food pyramid (see below) uses segments of different sizes to illustrate the amount in which the individual food groups (e.g. cereals) should contribute to the diet in order to ensure a wholesome diet. The larger a field is, the higher the proportion of these foods in the daily menu should be. Furthermore, the desirable relationship between the food groups becomes clear. More detailed information on the recommended food quantities is given under consumption recommendations.

© DEBInet, two-dimensional food pyramid, mod. according to the recommendations of the DGE

The three-dimensional DGE food pyramid

The three-dimensional food pyramid of the German Nutrition Society (2005) illustrates the recommended food quantities as well as the quality of individual foods within the food groups.

The DGE nutrition group

The DGE Nutrition Circle is based on extensive calculations taking into account the D-A-CH reference values ​​and gives a quick overview of the quantities in which individual food groups should appear in our daily diet so that we are optimally supplied with all nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

It is in six different sized segments1 divided, whereby the drinks are shown as the seventh group in the center of the circle:

      1. Grains, cereal products and potatoes (30%)
      2. Vegetables (26%)
      3. Fruit (17%)
      4. Milk and dairy products (18%)
      5. Meat, sausage, fish and eggs (7%)
      6. Oils and fats (2%)
      7. Drinks

The consumption recommendations for adults are based on the calculations for the DGE nutrition group and provide a solid orientation for the implementation of a wholesome diet in everyday life.

1With the exception of the drinks, the subdivision is based on the weight percentages of each group based on the total weight of the daily consumption and takes into account adult women and men (> 25 years) with an energy requirement of 1600 to 2400 kcal per day.

The food plate

The American Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been using a plate ("MyPlate") since June 2011 in addition to the usual representation of the pyramid. This is now used by the organization as a priority symbol to clarify how much of which food group should be consumed. The simple representation in the form of a "healthy plate" is intended to support consumers in an easily understandable way in developing healthy eating behavior.

Source: USDA

"MyPlate" principles and recommended quantities for developing healthier eating habits:

  • All food and drink matter - Diversity, quantity and nutrient content are decisive.
  • In order to get all the nutrients the body needs, healthy foods and drinks should be selected from the following five food groups:
  • Fruit: 1.5 - 2 cups of fruit or 100% fruit juice, preferably fresh, but also preserved, frozen or dried, whole or pureed, counts.

    Vegetables: 2 - 3 cups of vegetables or 100% vegetable juice, raw, cooked, fresh, frozen, preserved, dried or freeze-dried, whole, cut or pureed.

    Grain: 5 - 8 servings ("ounce-equivalents" *); this includes all cereals and cereal products made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or other cereals such as bread, pasta, oat flakes, breakfast cereals, tortillas or grits.

    Protein-rich foods: 5-6 servings ("ounce-equivalents" *); this includes meat, poultry, fish and seafood, beans and peas, eggs and soy products.

    Dairy products: 3 servings ("cups") daily. One serving corresponds to:

      1 cup of milk, yogurt, or soy milk
      1.5 ounces (about 45 grams) of all-natural cheese
      2 ounces (about 60 g) processed cheese

  • Choose foods and drinks that are low in saturated fats, salt, and added sugarto save calories, counteract overweight and obesity and lower the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Oil: 5-7 teaspoons daily, including vegetable oils, margarine, mayonnaise, in salad dressings, olives, avocados, peanut butter, nuts and seeds. Choice: more vegetable and less animal fats. Prefer low-fat foods with dairy products and meat.

    Salt: Pay attention to the nutritional information and prefer foods with less salt, prepare dishes freshly or use herbs and spices.

    Sugar: Pay attention to the nutritional information and choose foods without added sugar. Preferably drink water, unsweetened tea and calorie-free drinks.

  • The energy consumption is to be adapted to the energy demand, depending on age, gender, height and physical activity
  • Small changes help to develop a healthier eating style and should be perceived as a personal success "MyWin".

    Small changes can be:

    • half of the plate consists of colorful vegetables and fresh fruit
    • at least half of the grain is whole grain
    • a switch to low-fat or fat-free dairy products
    • more vegetarian dishes
    • Inexpensive variations of protein-rich meals
    • eat and drink the right portion sizes

    * Ounce equivalents: One "ounce" (= ounce) corresponds to approx. 28 g. For the individual food groups, MyPlate has specified what corresponds to an ounce equivalent.


A good approach is to look at the plate to check that individual meals are balanced. The recommended quantities in equivalents are perceived as rather complicated and should require some practice.