What Are the Five Main Food Groups?

The five main food groups are vegetables, fruits, grains, lean meats and dairy products. Enjoying a variety of foods from each of these food groups keeps a person healthy.

Together, the different foods from each of the five food groups provides an optimal level of nutrition, since each food has varying amounts of nutrients. It is not necessary for a person to eat a food from each food group every day.

Besides eating foods from the five food groups, it is important for people to stay away from things like extra salt, saturated fat, too much alcohol and added sugar. These types of things do not add anything of value to a diet and can lead to heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and other complications.

Foods in the vegetable group include beets, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and potatoes. Fruits are oranges, bananas, watermelon or kiwi and make a great substitute for sugary snacks and desserts. Grains are typically made from wheat, barley, corn, rice or oats and can be found in bread, cereal and pasta. Lean meat includes, fish, beef, tofu, chicken, eggs and nuts. Dairy products can include milk, cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream.

Those with a specific food intolerance, allergies or unusual dietary needs should consult a doctor or nutritionist to be sure she is receiving the nutrients vital to good health.