Presto Change-o: Forget The Pyramid, Embrace The Plate

Managing Nickel Allergy With A Low Nickel Allergy Diet: Foods To Avoid And Foods High In Nickel Content



When reminiscing about elementary school days, we picture the classroom: wooden desks and chairs, the chalkboard with the letters of the alphabet displayed across the top, and the Food Guide Pyramid hanging on the wall. For years, with its colored stripes and abstract percentages, this pyramid served as a nutritional guide for Americans. The different colors represented the different food groups, and the width of each color represented the recommended daily allowance of each food group. But making the jump from that garbled chart to “What should I actually eat for lunch?” was confusing for both children and adults alike. So last year, dietitians, along with the government and schools, set out to teach healthy eating an easier way—one plate at a time.

In the summer of 2011, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), based on recommendations from the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, replaced the old pyramid with a new, simpler visual nutrition tool: MyPlate— based on the actual place setting you use to eat your meals. “The goal of MyPlate is to assist Americans in making healthier food choices for meals by using a place setting to demonstrate a meal which contains five food groups,” says Marie Barone, R.D., C.D.E., with UC Davis Health System. “The graphic explains the food groups, variety and portion control concepts.” While the visual is a reminder to eat healthy at every meal, more complete guidelines on what to consume can be found at

The MyPlate format helps you plan your meal by visualizing how much space each food should occupy on a plate,” says Tracy Toms, M.S., R.D., with Mercy San Juan Medical Center. “This can help you eat a balanced meal. It can also prevent you from eating too much of any food group.” At the Web site you can get additional information on balancing calories to manage weight, foods and food components to reduce, and foods and nutrients to increase. For example, the weight-management section encourages consumers to eat fewer calories and increase physical activity. As far as what everyone should reduce in their diets, the USDA recommends sodium, saturated fatty acids, trans-fatty acids, cholesterol, solid fats and added sugars. In the “what to increase section,” the site lists fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low- or fat-free milk.

In order to assist families and schools in teaching the younger generation—and those of us who need to shift the way we currently think of meals— offers materials for the classroom and visual messages that are easy to understand for any age group. However, dietitians believe that teaching these healthy habits should not be left to the schools. Tamalisa Carlson, M.P.H., R.D., a clinical dietitian and health educator with Marshall Medical Center, says that basic nutrition should be modeled from a child’s first bite of solid food. “Although we should avoid the urge to label foods as good or bad, we can always emphasize the concept of balance in supporting our overall health,” she says.

Teaching a well-balanced diet is something parents can do with children in a fun way. “Teachable moments may be found when planning and preparing meals, grocery shopping and during meal times,” says Glee Van Loon, R.D., C.D.E., with UC Davis Health System. In fact, parents can strike up a conversation when they see the MyPlate icon on food products at the supermarket.

Barone does advise that MyPlate offers intended guidelines for those ages two and above who want to eat healthy, including those at risk for chronic conditions. However, special diets are not taken into consideration. In addition, Carlson warns that the MyPlate design does not give specific guidelines as to what types of dairy and protein foods to consume. So, if you have the need for a special diet or want more specifics on what to consume, speak with a registered dietitian to learn about your individual nutrition needs.

Ready to prepare your own plate for a meal? Grab one that measures nine inches across. Then draw an imaginary line through the center and divide one of the halves into quarters. One half of the plate is for non-starchy vegetables. As another measurement, envision a plate stacked with vegetables about the size of your closed fist. Want seconds? No problem on these healthy heroes, such as broccoli, green beans, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, cauliflower, spinach, peppers and salad greens. Now onto the quarters. One fourth of the plate—half of a closed fist—is a bread, starch or grain (think rice, crackers, cooked grains, cereal, tortillas, bread and starchy vegetables like potatoes or winter squash). Another fourth—about the size of the palm of your hand—is lean protein. Examples include beef, chicken, turkey, pork, fish, tofu and eggs. Toms notes that for the MyPlate concept, beans are counted as a starch, not a protein. Next, add in a small piece of fresh fruit, about the size of a tennis ball. You can also substitute half a cup of frozen, cooked or canned fruit, a small handful of dried fruit or half a cup of 100-percent fruit juice. Finally, drink a cup of low- or fat-free milk, or eat six ounces of no-sugar-added yogurt. You can also substitute dairy with another serving of fruit or a small dinner roll. •

Four Tips To Better Eating Habits

  • Shop at Farmers’ Markets. “These markets can help increase the variety of fruits and vegetables consumed,” Barone says.
  • Learn to Read Food Nutrition Labels. Having all of the facts in front of you will help you compare products and increase awareness of what you’re consuming.
  • Make One Change at a Time. You don’t have to change all of your eating habits at once. The small changes will make a big difference over time. “For example, start by adding one additional fruit or vegetable per day, or using whole-grain bread instead of white bread for sandwiches,” Van Loon says.
  • Eat More Plant-Based Meals. Consider introducing one meatless meal a day.

If you suffer from nickel allergy, you may experience contact dermatitis or systemic reactions when you eat foods with a high concentration of nickel. This trace element is present in many foods, including whole wheat, cocoa, lentils, peas, rye, buckwheat, red kidney beans, millet, soy products, and more. The level of nickel in food items can vary, and some contain more nickel than others. Eating foods with high nickel content can increase your nickel absorption, leading to nickel sensitivity and skin allergies, such as eczema and hand dermatitis. To manage nickel allergy, you may choose to avoid foods with high levels of nickel and opt for low-nickel foods instead. We'll explore the concept of a low nickel diet and provide tips on which foods to avoid and which to eat more of. We'll also discuss how nickel is used in foods, the nickel content of the soil, and how acidic foods can leach nickel. Finally, we'll touch on how severe allergic individuals may choose to avoid nickel altogether and recommend consulting a dermatologist or allergist specializing in contact dermatitis for advice on managing your condition.

Understanding Nickel Allergies And The Importance Of Avoiding Foods High In Nickel Content

Nickel is a trace element that can be found in many foods. While most people can tolerate dietary intake of some nickel without issue, individuals with a nickel allergy should avoid foods high in nickel content. Contact with nickel can trigger allergic reactions, including allergic contact dermatitis and systemic contact dermatitis. Foods that have been shown to aggravate dermatitis, especially hand eczema, include canned food, wheat bran, whole wheat products, cocoa, and many others. Nickel is also present in tap water released from the tap, and it can leach from nickel-plated stainless steel during cooking. If you suffer from nickel allergy, your dermatologist or allergist specializing in contact dermatitis may recommend a low-nickel diet, which includes avoiding foods like wheat bread, buckwheat, lentils, red kidney beans, peas, soy products, and Brussels sprouts that contain high amounts of nickel.

Some foods have been found to contain very little or no nickel. Nickel sulfate is the compound of nickel most readily absorbed by the body. Therefore, avoiding foods containing this compound can help reduce the absorption of nickel. However, other factors can affect the presence of nickel in food. For example, certain soils may contain more nickel, as well as cobalt, which can also trigger allergic reactions. Some foods are known to have high levels of nickel, such as chocolate, nuts, and legumes. The National Food Institute recommends that people with nickel allergies avoid eating foods high in nickel and choose alternatives with low nickel content. Many fruits and vegetables, like apples, berries, and cucumbers, have been found to contain very little or no nickel.


The Effects Of Nickel Allergy And How To Identify High-Nickel Foods

Nickel allergy can have a significant impact on a person's quality of life. It's essential to identify high-nickel foods and avoid them to prevent allergic reactions. Nickel is present in various foods, and dietary intake of some foods can increase the concentration of nickel in the body. Some foods have been shown to contain high amounts of nickel, such as whole wheat, lentils, cocoa, canned food, and soy products. Individuals who are nickel allergic may react to nickel in nutrition and should avoid their favorite foods like wheat bread and wheat bran. Severely allergic individuals may choose to avoid foods that contain nickel, including Brussels sprouts. They should consult a dermatologist or allergist specializing in contact dermatitis to see how to manage cases of allergic contact dermatitis.


Low-Nickel Diet: Foods To Avoid And Foods With Less Nickel Content

A low-nickel diet may be recommended for those with nickel allergies, as a high dietary intake of nickel may lead to allergic reactions, including contact dermatitis. Some foods have been shown to contain high amounts of nickel, such as canned foods, wheat bran, and certain vegetables like Brussels sprouts. It's important to be aware of the nickel concentration in the foods we eat and avoid those that are rich in nickel, such as whole wheat products and chocolate. Nickel can also be absorbed through tap water, especially if released from nickel-coated faucets or pipes, so it's recommended to run the tap in the morning before using it for drinking or cooking. By identifying and avoiding high-nickel foods, individuals with nickel allergies can better manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


Building A Balanced Diet With Foods Low In Nickel: Tips And Tricks

When dealing with a nickel allergy, it can be challenging to maintain a balanced and healthy diet while avoiding high-nickel foods. However, with some simple tips and tricks, it is possible to build a diet that is low in nickel while still providing all the necessary nutrients. One strategy is to focus on fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins that are naturally low in nickel. Additionally, cooking methods such as boiling and roasting can help to reduce nickel content in some foods. It's also important to be aware of hidden sources of nickel, such as canned foods and certain spices. By working with a dietitian or allergist and being mindful of your food choices, it is possible to maintain a balanced and healthy diet even with a nickel allergy.


Nickel-Free Alternatives To High-Nickel Foods: Creative Ways To Satisfy Your Cravings

For those with a nickel allergy, finding alternatives to high-nickel foods can be a challenge. However, there are creative ways to satisfy your cravings without consuming dietary nickel. For example, substituting almond milk for cow's milk, or using coconut oil instead of butter, can be effective alternatives for baking and cooking. Additionally, quinoa and brown rice can be used as substitutes for pasta and wheat-based products, which can be high in nickel. It's also important to incorporate foods with less nickel content, such as leafy greens, beans, and seafood, into your diet. By being mindful of the content of nickel in your food choices, and making substitutions when necessary, it's possible to maintain a balanced and satisfying diet while avoiding the negative effects of a nickel allergy.



In conclusion, for those with a nickel allergy, understanding the sources and levels of nickel in food is crucial for maintaining a healthy diet without triggering allergic reactions. By being aware of the nickel content in various foods and making informed dietary choices, individuals can still enjoy a variety of delicious and nutritious meals while avoiding high-nickel foods. It is also important to note that nickel can be found in other sources beyond food, such as jewelry and coins, and can be absorbed through the skin. Therefore, avoiding contact with nickel in daily life is equally important. Consulting with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian can also provide personalized recommendations and guidance for a low-nickel diet.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If you’ve still got questions about Nickel free nickel allergy food pyramid, then these may help:

What Are Some Foods With Nickel?

Some foods that are high in nickel include chocolate, nuts, soybeans, lentils, whole wheat, canned foods, oatmeal, and dried beans. Other foods that may contain nickel include leafy green vegetables, fruits, seafood, and grains. The amount of nickel present in these foods may vary, and some people may be more sensitive to ingested nickel than others. It is important to be aware of the nickel content in foods, especially for individuals with a metal allergy or systemic nickel allergy syndrome. Consulting with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian can help create a balanced diet with low-nickel options.

Are Eggs High In Nickel?

Eggs have not been found to be high in nickel and are generally considered safe for individuals with a nickel allergy. However, it's important to note that eggs can be a potential source of nickel if they are cooked in utensils or pans that contain nickel. Additionally, if the chicken feed contains high amounts of nickel, the eggs may contain trace amounts of nickel. Individuals with a severe nickel allergy may want to avoid eating eggs or consult with a healthcare provider to determine if they are safe to consume.


What To Avoid If You Are Allergic To Nickel?

If you are allergic to nickel, it is important to avoid foods that are high in nickel content. This includes foods such as chocolate, nuts, seeds, soy products, whole grains, and some vegetables like spinach and brussel sprouts. Additionally, some canned and processed foods may contain nickel due to the materials used in processing and packaging. It is also recommended to avoid cooking with stainless steel or nickel-plated cookware and using nickel-containing utensils. It is best to check the labels and ingredients of all products and to choose alternatives that are low in nickel. Consultation with a medical professional or a registered dietitian is recommended for personalized advice.


What Foods Have No Nickel?

There is no food that is completely free of nickel, but there are some foods that have a lower nickel concentration compared to others. Some examples of low-nickel foods include fresh fruits and vegetables like apples, pears, bananas, berries, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and spinach. Grains such as rice, oats, and quinoa are also considered low in nickel. Lean proteins like chicken, turkey, and fish, as well as dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt, are also low in nickel. However, it's important to note that the nickel concentration in these foods may vary depending on the source, preparation method, and other factors.


What Drinks Contain Nickel?

Nickel is not commonly found in drinks as it is not a natural component of most beverages. However, some drinks may contain trace amounts of nickel due to the manufacturing or packaging process. For example, some bottled mineral waters may have higher nickel concentrations due to the presence of natural minerals in the water. Additionally, certain alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine may have small amounts of nickel due to the use of nickel-containing equipment during production. However, the amount of nickel ingested through drinks is generally low and unlikely to cause issues for most people, including those with a nickel allergy.

Krystal Morrison

I create this blog to share my daily tips about home improvement, children, pets, food, health, and ways to be frugal while maintaining a natural lifestyle. Interested to be a Guest Blogger on my website? Please email me at: [email protected]

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

There are affiliate links in this post. At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.