Stop Getting Sick

Do You Need a Multivitamin/Mineral Supplement?

Nutrition experts agree that the Food Guide Pyramid offers a reliable and easy-to-follow plan for healthful eating. Eating the “pyramid way” means choosing the appropriate number of servings and a variety of foods from each of the five Food Guide Pyramid food groups. This is generally the best way to get all the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need. Challenge yourself with the following quiz to rate your eating habits.

On most days do you:

Eat 6 to 11 servings of grains (breads, cereal, rice, pasta, and other grain foods)?One serving equals one slice of bread, 1/2 cup of rice or pasta, 1 ounce of cereal,
or half a bagel.

Yes = 3 No = 0

Eat at least 2 servings of fruit? One serving equals 1 piece of fruit, 1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit, or 3/4 cup of fruit juice.

Yes = 3 No = 0

Eat at least 3 servings of vegetables each day? One serving equals 1/2 cup of cooked or chopped vegetables, 1 cup of raw, leafy vegetables, or 3/4 cup of vegetable juice.

Yes = 3 No = 0

Generally eat the same foods every day?

Yes = 0 No = 3

Eat 2 or more servings of dairy foods such as milk, cheese, and yogurt each day? 
One servings equals 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 11/2 ounces of natural cheese, or 2 ounces of processed cheese.

Yes = 3 No = 0

Eat 2 to 3 servings of lean meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, or nuts every day? 
One serving equals 2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish. One egg, 1/2 cup of cooked beans, or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter count as 1 ounce of meat.

Yes = 3 No = 0

Frequently skip meals or miss out on one or more food groups for the entire day?

Yes = 0 No = 3


15 points or more: Food Guide Pyramid Expert. You know how to make wise food choices and get the variety of foods important for a healthy eating plan.

9-12 points: You’re on your way… You could be getting more nutrients by fine-tuning your food selections. For example, if you fall short in the grains group, try including at least one more serving of grains daily.

0-6 points: Keep trying ! By making small changes, you can gradually improve your eating pattern. Review the Food Guide Pyramid guidelines. Focus on one food group at a time, and aim to eat the minimum number of servings for that group each day. And while food is the best way to obtain vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, you may benefit from a multivitamin/mineral supplement if you are unable to eat from all the food groups.

Whether you are a Food Guide Pyramid expert or need to brush up on your nutrition “know-how,” the more you learn about choosing a healthful eating plan, the easier it is to do. By selecting a wide variety of foods from each of the five food groups in the Food Guide Pyramid, you can get all the nutrients your body needs.

However, even people with the best intentions sometimes fall short on their nutrient intake. For some people a vitamin/mineral supplement offers benefits that are both safe and effective. A vitamin/mineral supplement may help when

Your hectic lifestyle frequently keeps you from eating the recommended number of servings from the food guide pyramid,

You are on a very low-calorie weight loss diet,

You are elderly and not eating as much as you should,

You are a strict vegetarian,

You can’t drink milk or eat cheese and yogurt, or

You are a woman of child-bearing age who doesn’t get enough folate from fruits, vegetables, beans, and grains.

A registered dietitian can help you evaluate your eating pattern and determine whether a vitamin/mineral supplement is right for you.

StopGettingSick Team

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