The foods you eat can directly affect your body's weight, energy level and resistance to chronic diseases. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says you can improve your overall health and well-being by increasing your physical activity and eating the right combination of foods from the five basic food groups.
Foods considered grains are those made of rice, cornmeal, wheat, oats, cereal grains or barley. Some of the most well-known members of the grains food group include pasta, breakfast cereal and white rice. However, the USDA recommends that at least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains. Some examples of whole-grain foods are popcorn, whole-wheat bread and wild rice.
Whether they are fresh or frozen, juiced or dehydrated, all vegetables are part of the vegetable food group. Some familiar vegetables include romaine lettuce, sweet potatoes and celery. The USDA , which says you should try to vary the kinds of vegetables you consume, advises eating vegetables that are in season for the best flavour.
All fruit, including 100 per cent fruit juice, is considered part of the fruit food group. Some fruits you might commonly see at your local grocery store include apples, peaches, bananas, watermelons and grapefruit. Like vegetables, you should aim to buy fruits in-season for peak flavour, according to the USDA.
Liquid milk products and calcium-rich foods derived from liquid milk are part of the milk food group. Reduced-fat milk, cottage cheese and low-fat yoghurt, as well as lactose-free milk and cheese, are just a few examples of foods in the milk group. If a particular food is made from milk, but is not a significant source of calcium such as butter or cream cheese, the food is not considered an official member of the milk food group.
Meat and Beans
For food to be considered part of the meat and beans food group, it must be made from meat, poultry, fish, dry beans or peas, eggs, nuts or seeds. Foods such as beef, chicken and pork are in this food group, as well as soya beans, peanut butter and tuna fish, just to name a few. Vegetarians can get their daily recommended amount of protein by eating nuts, beans and soy products such as tofu and veggie burgers.