What Are the Food Groups?


Quick Answer

As of 2014, the major food groups are fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. Oils are not a food group, but they provide essential nutrients to the body.

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Full Answer

The fruit group contains any fresh, frozen or dried whole fruit or 100 percent fruit juice. The vegetable group is divided into the subcategories dark green vegetables, starchy vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, and other vegetables. The grain group refers to foods made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or other cereal product. Grains are divided into the subcategories of whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains provide better nutrition.

The protein group refers to all foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, and processed soy products. Nuts and seeds are also considered part of this group. The final group, dairy, consists of foods or beverages made from milk. Dairy foods are important for their calcium content. Choose low or nonfat dairy items to minimize fat calories.

Oils are found in nuts, seeds and fish. Cooking oils, including olive oil, canola oil and coconut oil, also provide nutrients. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's recommendations for daily servings from each of the food groups are determined by age, sex, weight and height.

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