The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has developed dietary guidelines for Americans. The guidelines provide advice about how proper diet and exercise can promote health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
A well-balanced diet is a key to maintaining a healthy weight, as well as assuring your body is getting much needed nutrients. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and milk products are all important to a healthful diet and can be good sources of nutrients.
Here is a breakdown of the essential food groups and examples of what each one contains.
Whole wheat bread and rolls, whole wheat pasta, English muffin, pita bread, bagel, cereals, grits, oatmeal, brown rice, unsalted pretzels and popcorn
Apples, apricots, bananas, dates, grapes, oranges, grapefruit, grapefruit juice, mangoes, melons, peaches, pineapples, raisins, strawberries, tangerines, and 100% fruit juice
Broccoli, carrots, green beans, green peas, lima beans, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
Fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
Fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk or buttermilk, fat-free, low-fat or reduced-fat cheese, and fat-free or low-fat regular or frozen yogurt.
Lean meats, poultry, fish and beans
Beef, poultry, pork, game meats, fish, shellfish, kidney beans, lentils and split peas.
The USDA created MyPlate, which provides key messages on how much and what foods to eat, in addition to guidelines on finding a balance between food intake and physical activity. Go to www.choosemyplate.gov to get started with MyPlate. The website features practical information and tips to help you build a healthier diet.