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National Nutrition Month® | Building A Healthy Plate

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist | Shield HealthCare
03/05/12  10:26 PM PST

National Nutrition Month® is the perfect time to “get your plate in shape.”  Understanding which foods are healthy choices within each food group is the best way to get started in building a nutritious plate.

Fruit

Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up or pureed.

Vegetables

Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up or mashed.

Grains

Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, corn meal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas and grits are examples of grain products.

Protein

All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, processed soy products, nuts and seeds are considered part of the Protein Food Group.

Dairy

All fluid milk products and many foods made from milk are considered part of this food group. Most Dairy Group choices should be fat-free or low-fat. Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of the group. Foods made from milk that have little to no calcium, such as cream cheese, cream and butter, are not. Calcium-fortified soymilk (soy beverage) is also part of the Dairy Group.

Oils

Oils are fats that are liquid at room temperature, like the vegetable oils used in cooking. Oils come from many different plants and from fish. Oils are NOT a food group, but they provide essential nutrients. Therefore, oils are included in USDA food patterns.

More resources available at ChooseMyPlate.gov

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