A healthy diet includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods in the appropriate amounts. http://www.choosemyplate.gov is the USDA’s primary food group symbol, a food icon that serves as a powerful reminder to make healthy food choices and to build a healthy plate at mealtimes. It is a visual cue that identifies the five (5) basic food groups from which consumers can choose healthy foods to build a healthy plate. These groups include grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, and meats & beans. Oils, solid fats, and added sugars comprise additional groups. Here is a rule that will help to ensure a healthy diet with all the necessary nutrients.
Vary your choices in each food group! (2008 Dietary Guidelines)
- Grains – Choose whole grain breads, cereals, crackers, rice, pasta, *quinoa, *bulgar, for at least half your grains.
- Vegetables – Choose dark green veggies (e.g., broccoli, kale, spinach, turnip greens), orange veggies (e.g. carrots, sweet potatoes, squash), and beans & peas (e.g., kidney beans, black beans, split peas, lentils) often.
- Fruits – Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruits more often than fruit juices. Include your favorite fruits, but try new ones also.
- Milk – Include low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, or cheese in your diet every day. If you are *lactose intolerant, choose lactose-free milk products or calcium-fortified foods and beverages such as soy or rice milk.
- Meat & Beans – Choose baked, broiled, or grilled lean meats such as round, top sirloin, tenderloin, skinless poultry, and fish, as well as beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
* Quinoa – Pronounced “KEEN-wah.” A tiny, ancient grain cultivated by the Incas that is still grown extensively in the Andean region of South America. Quinoa is high in protein and nutrients and can be used like rice or couscous, though it is traditionally used in soup.
Bulgur – made from crushed wheat berries that are steamed whole, then dried and cracked into grits. It is not the same as cracked wheat, which is uncooked wheat. Finely ground bulgur is used to make the Middle Eastern tabbouleh salad. Pour boiling water over the bulgur and it’s ready in minutes.
Lactose Intolerant – the inability to digest lactose (a type of sugar found in milk and other dairy products).