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What Are the 5 Food Groups & How Much Should You Eat Everyday?

The five food groups are categories of foods from similar nutritional sources with different benefits to the human body. You should draw from these convenient U.S. Department of Agriculture groupings every day, to form a balanced diet. Doing so will provide the wide variety of nutrients that are essential to daily metabolism and that provide energy for workouts. Eating the right amounts of these foods will help you to control your calorie intake and to maintain a healthy weight.

Grain Group

Grains include:

  • foods made from wheat
  • oats
  • rye
  • barley
  • corn
  • rice
  • which you should add to your menus in six to eight servings per day

What does 1 cup look like? Picture filling up the volume of your closed fist. Follow the suggested serving sizes on food labels for breads, tortillas, crackers and snack chips.

Vegetable Group

Four to five servings of different kinds of vegetables add to your fiber, vitamin and mineral totals every day. The AHA defines veggie servings as ½ cup of juiced, raw or cooked vegetables, such as:

  • carrots
  • tomatoes
  • broccoli
  • spinach

Eat 1 cup of uncooked leafy greens, such as lettuce or cabbage.

Fruit Group

Consume dried fruit, with its concentrated sugars, in smaller ¼-cup quantities.

Dairy Group

Get your calcium from two to three servings of milk, yogurt or cheese each day. The USDA notes that many Americans don’t get enough calcium in their diets. If you don’t drink milk, make a point of adding low-fat yogurt and cheese to your everyday meal plan. Serve 1 cup of milk or yogurt and 1-1/2 oz., or 1 to 2 slices, of cheese

Protein Group

While other foods contain protein, fish, meats and beans have the highest proportions of protein. Nuts and seeds in this group are considered important moderate protein sources for their additional vitamin E, minerals and monounsaturated fats. Eat up to two 3-ounce servings of fish and meats, the size of a deck of playing cards, per day. Eat four to five servings of: ½ cup of cooked beans, lentils or peas; 1-1/2 ounces of nuts; and ½ ounce of seeds per week.

The Wrap Up

The five food groups are categories of foods from similar nutritional sources with different benefits to the human body. Doing so will provide the wide variety of nutrients that are essential to daily metabolism and that provide energy for workouts. What does 1 cup look like? or 1 to 2 slices, of cheese While other foods contain protein, fish, meats and beans have the highest proportions of protein. Eat up to two 3-ounce servings of fish and meats, the size of a deck of playing cards, per day.

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