Every Food Group Every Day

What’s the best way to enjoy a variety of the nutrients and other substances needed for good health? Eat from every food group every day.

Foods are put into food groups because they provide key nutrients, in about the same amounts. For example, because they provide about the same amount of the nutrient calcium, milk, yogurt, and cheese are together in the  Dairy Group. You don’t have to eat from every food group at every meal. However, to get all the nutrients you need for good health, it’s best to eat a variety from each of the five food groups throughout the whole day.

To get that variety, choose to eat from all the food groups and choose different foods within each food group. Oranges are a great source of Vitamin C.  But if the only fruit you ever eat is oranges, you’re probably missing out on lots of nutrients in all of those other yummy fruits.

The Five Food Groups are:

Fruits like blueberries, apples, and watermelon are high in the nutrients vitamin C, folate, and fiber, which help to maintain the health of your body and decrease some chronic diseases.

Vegetables like kale, squash, and onions offer potassium, fiber, and vitamin A.  This vitamin helps to maintain healthy blood pressure, lowers risk of heart disease, and keeps eyes and skin healthy.

Grain Foods, especially the “whole grain” variety like oatmeal, whole wheat bread, and brown rice, are great sources of several B vitamins and minerals – like iron. These and other nutrients in the grains group help the body to release energy, aid in digestion, and form red blood cells.

Dairy foods, like milk, yogurt, and cheese, are excellent sources of calcium.  These nutrients are important for building and maintaining strong, healthy bones. Another benefit from these foods is healthy teeth.

Protein foods, including lean meats and poultry, fish, nuts and seeds, eggs, and tofu, provide the protein.  Protein is needed to build, maintain, and repair tissues in our body. Muscles and organs, like your heart, are made of protein.

MyPlate – Every Food Group Every Day

So, you don’t have to and probably shouldn’t eat the exact same thing every day. You should, however, Eat Every Food Group Every Day. It’s a brand new day, go ahead…get started…right now!  (And, consequently, your body may give you a great big – “thanks”!

For more ways to get variety in all the food groups, click on this site from the United Sates Department of Agriculture (USDA): http://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlate  And for more information on this and other topics, checkout http://nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/fcs/