Food is the fuel your body uses every day, so how you choose to feed it will determine how well it is able to work.
There are five major groups that make up our food system: fruits, vegetables, dairy, protein, and grains. Each group serves a unique purpose and offers specific nutrients that work together to form a complete, healthy diet. The key to including what you need of each food group is balance. A good tool to use for balancing your meals is the MyPlate icon, pictured here.
||1 - 2 cups
||Vitamins & Minerals
Use fruits as snacks & desserts. Top your cereal with bananas or berries.
Buy fresh, dried, frozen, or canned fruit that is in water or 100% juice.
When buying juice, always look for 100% fruit juice.
||2 - 3 cups
Add more red, orange, and dark- green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli into main dishes.
Add beans or peas to salads & soups, or use as a side dish.
Fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables all count! For cans, choose "reduced sodium" or "no-salt-added."
||5 - 8 ounces
Use whole grain choices instead of refined-grain choices for breads, bagels, rolls, cereals, crackers, rice, and pasta.
Check the ingredients list for "whole" or "whole grain." And choose products that name a whole grain first on the list.
||2 - 3 cups
||Calcium & Vitamin D
Choose skim, 1% (low-fat) or 2% (reduced-fat) products.
Top fruit salads and baked potatoes with low-fat yogurt, or use a low-fat cheese stick as a snack.
If you are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or fortified soy milk.
||4 - 7 ounces
||Protein & B Vitamins
Eat a variety of lean protein sources each week, such as seafood, beans and peas, nuts, poultry, and eggs.
Choose lean meats and ground beef that are at least 90% lean.
Trim or drain fat from meat and remove skin from poultry before cooking to cut fat and calories.
*These amounts vary based on age, gender, and activity level. For amounts personalized for you, visit MyPlate.
Keeping the body hydrated with water is important for your blood and muscles. Not enough water in the body can lead to headaches, nausea, and a sluggish feeling. Drinking water gives you energy and helps your skin stay hydrated (as well as having fewer wrinkles!).
The exact amount of water needed depends on climate, medical conditions, and exercise. The best indicator of how much water you need is the color of your urine. Pale and clear means you're well hydrated. Any darker than that means more fluids are needed. Additional fluid is also required when you are sweating, usually during activities outdoors or during intense exercise.
The best way to drink more water is to have a water bottle with you wherever you go. The visual reminder can help keep you hydrated.
Choose one day this week to eat at least one serving from each food group and note how much water you are drinking.