What Are the Five Major Food Groups?

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The five major food groups are vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and protein foods. People should eat an array of different foods from each food group in order to get a full range of vitamins and minerals. Oils are not considered a food group; however, they are an important source of nutrients.

The fruits and vegetable groups includes all fresh, frozen, canned and dried vegetables. Eating an assortment of colored produce including red, yellow and green produce is important. They may be eaten whole, mashed, cut up, pureed or juiced. The vegetable group contains beans, which are also included in the protein group.

The protein food group includes lean meats, poultry, seafood, eggs, unsalted nuts, processed soy, seeds and beans. The CDC suggests eating 8 ounces of seafood a week.

The dairy group includes a mix of different foods made from animal milk. It can also include lactose-free foods as well as those that have a small amount or no calcium included.

The grain group includes both whole grains and refined grains. Half of the grain food consumed should be whole grain. Whole grain foods include crackers, oatmeal, brown rice and whole grain cereals. Refined grains include white bread, white rice, flour tortillas and enriched pasta.