A Comprehensive Guide to the 5 Healthy Food Groups

As the My Plate icon shows, the five food groups are fruits, vegetables, cereals, protein foods and dairy products. Vegetables come in a wide variety of colors, flavors, and textures. They contain vitamins and minerals, carbohydrates and are an important source of fiber. The plant food group includes dark green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, starchy vegetables, and legumes (beans and peas).Dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach, and kale are packed with essential vitamins and minerals.

Red and orange vegetables like acorn squash, carrots, squash, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes are full of antioxidants. Starchy vegetables like corn, peas, and white potatoes provide a good source of energy. Other vegetables like eggplant, beetroot, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, celery, artichokes, green beans and onions are also great for your health. Legumes like black beans, garbanzos (garbanzos), red beans, soybeans, and tofu can be counted in the protein food group. Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that the body cannot digest.

It is found in many foods that come from plants, including vegetables, beans, and peas. Eating fiber-rich vegetables can help prevent stomach or intestinal problems and lower cholesterol. Fruits bring color, flavor and important nutrients to your diet. There are many options: citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits; different types of berries; fruits that grow on trees like apricots, cherries, peaches and mangoes; and others such as figs, grapes and pineapples. According to the Dietary Guidelines (PDF, 30.6 million), older Americans generally don't eat enough fruit. Adding more fruit to your diet can have significant benefits for overall health.

Fruits contain carbohydrates and provide additional fiber that helps keep the digestive system moving. For even more fiber, eat fruits with skins on - just make sure you wash them thoroughly before eating them. While 100% fruit juice also counts for this category, at least half of the fruits you consume should be whole fruits. When buying frozen, canned or dried fruit choose options with the lowest added sugar content. Wondering how many vegetables and fruits you should eat at one meal? Look at your plate - vegetables and fruits should fill half the plate. Any food made from wheat, rye, rice oats cornmeal barley or other grains is a grain-based product.

This includes bread and pasta breakfast cereals grits tortillas and even popcorn. Cereals along with fruits vegetables and dairy products contain carbohydrates the body's main source of energy. At least half of the food you eat should be whole grains. Whole grains provide iron and lots of B vitamins as well as fiber. Examples of whole grains include whole wheat whole oats whole wheat bulgur (also known as broken wheat) and whole wheat corn flour.

Some grain products are refined giving them a finer texture and a longer shelf life but eliminating fiber and nutrients. Most refined grains are enriched meaning that some nutrients are added back after processing. Examples of refined grain products include white flour degerminated cornmeal white bread and white rice. Not sure if you should count beans and peas as vegetables or protein foods? Think of them as vegetables if you eat meat poultry and fish regularly. Count them as proteins if you're vegetarian or vegan or if you rarely eat meat poultry or fish. Eating dairy products helps older adults maintain strong bones and provides several vital nutrients such as calcium potassium and vitamin D. For heart health choose from the many low-fat or fat-free options in the dairy group.

These provide you with important vitamins and minerals with less fat. Certain alternatives to fortified dairy products can provide nutritional content similar to that of dairy products. For people who choose dairy alternatives fortified soy milk and yogurt which contain added calcium vitamin A and vitamin D are included as part of the dairy product group and have a nutritional content similar to that of dairy products. Other plant-based milks (for example almond rice coconut oat and hemp milks) may contain calcium but are not always fortified with the vitamins and minerals found in dairy products. Watch for added sugars in dairy alternatives; reading the label can help you choose sugar-free or low-sugar options. While many beverages can be part of a healthy eating pattern some add calories without adding nutritional value and should be avoided. Drinks that do not contain calories especially water or that provide beneficial nutrients such as skimmed milk or 100% natural juice should be the main beverages you consume. Examples of beverages that tend to have added sugar include soft drinks fruit drinks sports drinks energy drinks sweetened waters etc.

Most sweetened beverages don't help meet food group goals often containing a lot of calories. The key to a healthy diet is to enjoy a variety of nutritious foods from each of the 5 food groups. The Australian Guide to Healthy Eating shows the 5 food groups on a plate in the proportion in which you should eat them throughout the day. If you eat a variety of foods from each of these groups your body will receive all the nutrients it needs to function properly. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins minerals dietary fiber essential for maintaining a healthy intestine preventing digestion problems. You should try to eat at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits & vegetables each day however potatoes don't count toward your 5 a day since they're a starchy food. Dairy products include milk cheese yogurt fresh cheese quark cheese cream cheese as well as non-dairy alternatives to these foods. Dairy products & dairy alternatives (such as soy milk & nuts) are a good source of protein vitamins & calcium essential for strong teeth & bones. When shopping for dairy alternatives opt for sugar-free & calcium-fortified versions.

You should try to eat a variety of dairy products some dairy products such as cheese & flavored yoghurts can be high in fat sugar or salt choose options that are low in fat salt & sugar whenever possible...

Elijah Rinner
Elijah Rinner

General music maven. Friendly bacon ninja. Wannabe social media geek. Twitter lover. Wannabe internet practitioner. Evil tv geek.