This sample menu shows you how the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid can help you plan daily meals and snacks.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

The Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid is a tool that helps guide you toward eating a balanced, nutritious diet while achieving a healthy weight.

Vegetables and fruits, the foundation of the pyramid, should be your focus. These foods are low in energy density. That means you can eat a lot of them because they don't contain a lot of calories. As you go up the pyramid, the food groups become higher in energy density — they have more calories for their volume. To lose weight, you should limit how many servings of these foods you eat.

The number of servings for each food group is determined by your daily target calorie level. If your target is 1,200 calories, your meal plan should include four or more servings of vegetables, three servings of protein/dairy and three fat servings.

This sample menu for a day follows the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid. The sample shows you how to fit in servings from each category in the pyramid without going over 1,200 calories. You can adjust the menu to suit your own tastes and calorie needs.

Sample menu (1,200 calories)
Breakfast
3/4 cup hot whole-grain cereal
1 small banana
Calorie-free beverage
Lunch
Tossed salad (2 cups romaine, 1/4 onion, 1/4 cup mushrooms, 1 medium tomato, 1 hard-boiled egg, 1/2 cup low-fat shredded cheddar cheese)
1 whole-wheat dinner roll
1 1/2 teaspoons butter
1/2 cup cubed pineapple
Calorie-free beverage
Dinner
3 ounces seared scallops in 1 teaspoon olive oil
Garlic mashed cauliflower potatoes
1/2 cup beets
Calorie-free beverage
Snack (any time)
2 plums
8 wheat crackers
Nutritional analysis for sample menu
Calories 1,178
Total fat 34 g
Saturated fat 12 g
Monounsaturated fat 11 g
Cholesterol 256 mg
Sodium 1,761 mg
Total carbohydrate 157 g
Dietary fiber 24 g
Trans fat Trace
Total sugar 58 g
Added sugar 0 g
Protein 61 g
Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid servings with the sample menu
Vegetables 4
Fruits 3
Carbohydrates 3 1/2
Protein and dairy 3
Fats 3
Sweets 0

If you feel hungry while following the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid, reach for more fruits and vegetables to snack on. Just make sure your fruit is either fresh or canned in water or juice — and that you pour off the liquid before eating.

March 22, 2017