Below is a list of the food groups. More information can be found at choosemyplate.gov.
The fruit group provides fiber if you eat the whole fruit, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Fruits rich in potassium can help control blood pressure, reduce kidney stones, and decrease bone loss. Include bananas, berries, melons, grapes, and pineapple. Eat a variety of fruits to get the benefits of the phytochemicals and nutrients they provide. Daily intake should be between 1 1/2 to 2 cups daily, depending on sex, age, body size, and activity level. Diabetics should be aware of the sugar content of fruits, as some are quite high in natural sugars.
Any vegetable or 100 percent vegetable juice is counted in the vegetable group, including leafy greens, broccoli, sweet potatoes, eggplant, and yellow squash. Vegetables provide fiber, vitamins, minerals, protein, limited fats and carbohydrates, all vital for a healthy body. Recommended intake is 2 to 3 cups every day.
The dairy group consists of all fluid milks and foods made with milk. These include cheese, yogurt, puddings, and ice cream. Foods in this group provide protein, carbohydrate, calcium and potassium, and is often enriched with vitamin D. The nutrients provided by milk help build and protect healthy bones and teeth, and help to maintain healthy blood pressure.
The grain group includes breads, cereal, pasta, oatmeal and pasta. This group is made from grains like wheat, oatmeal, rye, barley, rice and corn and provides fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, trace minerals, protein and carbohydrates. The more processed and refined the food, the fewer nutrients provided by the food, as the bran and germ are removed during milling. Recommended daily intake is between six and eight servings, depending on body size, sex, and activity level. Whole grains are preferred over processed grains.
We should eat two to three servings a day of the foods in this group. This food group includes poultry, fish, meat, dry beans, eggs and nuts. The foods from this group give us proteins, iron and zinc. Protein gives us energy but they also serve as one of the main building blocks of the body. Muscle, skin, cartilage and hair are all made up mostly of proteins.