The German Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture's aid food pyramid provides a simplified look at what you should eat. The pyramid is clear and easy to understand, and gives you an overview of how much of which types of foods you should consume on a daily basis. The individual food groups are separated into six different levels: The base of the pyramid represents the foods that you can eat and drink frequently. The higher up a product is located on the pyramid, the less frequently you should include it in your menu.
- You can allow yourself generous portions of calorie-free/reduced-calorie drinks and plant foods.
- You should eat moderate amounts of animal foods, preferably low-fat milk and dairy products, lean meats, which are well-cooked, low-fat meat products and oily saltwater fish.
- Highly saturated fats and sweets should only be eaten sparingly.
- Beverages: Drink 1 to 2 glasses/cups per meal drink, at least 1.2 liters every day and drink between meals as well. Drink calorie-free or calorie-reduced beverages (like water, unsweetened herbal teas, fruit teas and heavily diluted fruit juices).
- Vegetables and fruit: 5 portions per day.
- Grain products: Bread, pasta and rice (with each meal, whole wheat if possible) or potatoes prepared using a minimum of fat.
- Milk and dairy products: at least 3 portions per day, preferably low-fat milk and dairy products.
- Meat (cooked) and fish: 3 to 4 portions per week of lean meat or lean sausage/meat products and 2 portions or fish (especially saltwater fish, at least one of which is fatty fish such as herring, mackerel or salmon).
Using your hands to determine portion sizes
Did you know that you can use your hands to determine portion sizes? One handful constitutes a portion of roughly chopped or whole vegetables and fruit. Cupping both hands together gives you the portion size for finely chopped vegetables, fruits and lettuce. Two handfuls is also the appropriate size for a portion of potatoes or pasta. A portion of meat or fish should be the size of the palm of your hand, and bread can be eaten in portion sizes that are equal to the entire surface of your hand with your fingers spread out.