Food Groups

Food Groups


Food group is a collection of foods that share similar nutritional properties. Nutrition guides typically divide food into different food groups and recommend a standard serving from each group for a healthy diet or to assess the food intake of the public. These food guides usually guide you to have enough and standard portions of all important nutrients in your diet. There are many food guides usually ranging from 4 to 11 but the most popular one out of them is the food guide pyramid. There are also some common food or nutrition groups other than food guide pyramid. In this article, all such information about the food group and nutrition guide will be provided.

Food guide pyramid:

Food guide pyramid was introduced by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 1992. It is the most popular one among the all nutrition or food guides.

Description: Food guide pyramid is a graphic depiction of a healthful diet for sedentary adults. This consists of 6 segments representing one food group in each.

Fats and oils group: They are placed at the apex of the pyramid and are said to be used in little amounts. This portion in food guide pyramid also includes the sweeteners or added sugars that mean their consumption should also be limited.

Meat, poultry and fish group: Below the apex, on the right side, there exists the group of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs and nuts. The standard serving size from this group included in your diet should be 2-3 servings.

Milk yogurt & cheese group: Below the apex, on the left side of the pyramid, there is a group portion specified for milk yogurt and dairy products. The servings that must be a part of your diet from this group are 2-3 servings.

Fruits and vegetables groups: Below the groups of meat and dairy, there are two groups at parallel positions to each other that is fruits on right and vegetables on left. It is recommended that 2 to 4 servings of fruits and 3-5 servings from the vegetable group should be consumed.

Bread, cereal and pasta group: This group that is mainly for carbohydrates provision exists at the base of pyramid that mostly include the staple foods such as grains, wheat etc. This is the major source of energy for sedentary adults. The recommended servings from this group are 6-11 servings.

The other common food groups:

There are some other food guidelines that give you information about the foods you must add into your diet. These are;


Vegetables have variety of color, taste and texture. They are important source of vitamin, minerals and fibers. As the dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, spinach etc are rich in iron, calcium and zinc etc. some red and orange vegetables are rich sources of vitamins specially vitamin A and vit.C etc, for example; carrots, pumpkin, tomato and sweet potato etc. vegetable group also include beans and legumes such as black beans, chickpeas, soybeans and tofu etc. if you are non-vegetarian, you can add legumes in vegetable group but if you are a vegetarian it must be included in the meat or protein group.


Fruits also have wide range of varieties. These include citrus fruits- such as oranges and grapefruit and different kinds of berries and other fruits such as peaches, mangoes, figs, raisins and pineapple etc. Always eat the whole fruit or in raw form as along with providing minerals vitamins it will also provide fiber. Consume 100% fruit juice but avoid consuming with added sugars.


Any food made from wheat, rye, rice etc is the considered as the grain product. Always choose the grain products low in saturated fats and added sugars. Always take half of your grain or cereal intake as the whole grain because they are rich sources of iron and many B vitamins. Moreover, they provide fiber too. Examples of whole grain include grains include whole wheat, whole oats, whole bulgur etc.

Protein foods:

Include nutrient dense proteins in your diet. Choose lean meat and poultry. You can also get proteins from seafood, nuts and soy-products etc. Try to add 8 ounce of seafood per week in your diet as along with proteins they are also a rich source of essential fatty acids such omega-3, DHA and EPA that have healthy effect on your heart. Such seafood include salmon, shad and trout.


Most adults do not get enough dairy in their diet. You should choose low-fat or fat free dairy products. Choosing fat free and low-fat milk and milk products provides you all nutrients with low fat.


Oils are high in calories, but they are also an important source of nutrients like vitamin E. For older adults e.g above the age of 50, the RDI of oil is 5 teaspoons for women and 6 teaspoons for men. If possible, use oils instead of solid fats as they are healthy for human heart and whole body. Oils are also present naturally in some foods.


So, in the light of above discussion, you must consume according to the recommended daily allowance by the nutritionists and as a guide from foo

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