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Nutrition Basics

Food Groups

Dietary Guidelines

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed dietary guidelines for Americans.

The guidelines provide advice about how proper diet and exercise can promote health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. The guidelines encourage everyone to:

Food Groups

Balance Calories

  • Enjoy you food, but eat les.
  • Avoid oversized portions.

Increase Healthy Foods

  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat free or low-fat(1%) milk.

Reduce unhealthy foods

  • Nutritious Milk

    Whole Grains
    Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals and choose the foods with lower sodium.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet using a familiar image—a place setting for a meal.

Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your cup or bowl. To learn more about building a healthy plate visit external link

Food Groups

Below are the main food groups and examples of what foods are found in each group. Each group provides important nutrients for our bodies.

Food Group Examples
Grains Whole wheat bread and rolls, whole wheat pasta, English muffins, pita bread, bagels, cereals, grits, oatmeal, brown rice, unsalted pretzels and popcorn
Fruits Apples, apricots, bananas, dates, grapes, oranges, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapples, raisins, strawberries, tangerines and 100% fruit juice
Vegetables Broccoli, carrots, collards, green beans, green peas, kale, lima beans, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes
Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products Fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk or buttermilk, fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat cheese and fat-free or low-fat regular or frozen yogurt
Lean meats, poultry, fish and beans Beef, poultry, pork, game meats, fish, shellfish, kidney beans, lentils and split peas

Find a Registered Dietitian in Your Area

Registered Dietitians (RD) are food and nutrition experts. They use their nutrition expertise to help people make unique, positive lifestyle changes. Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics external link website to find a Registered Dietitian in your area.


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