Food groups refer to categories of foods that are grouped together based on their nutrient content and function in the body. The concept of food groups is commonly used in nutrition and dietary guidelines to provide a framework for planning balanced meals that meet the body's nutritional needs. The number and types of food groups may vary depending on the dietary guidelines or recommendations of a specific country or organization, but generally, food groups are used to categorize foods into different groups based on their major nutrient contributions, such as carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Examples of common food groups include:
- Grains: This group includes foods made from grains, such as bread, rice, pasta, cereal, and oats, and provides a major source of carbohydrates and fiber.
- Fruits: This group includes fresh, frozen, or canned fruits, as well as 100% fruit juices, and provides important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- Vegetables: This group includes a variety of vegetables, such as leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, root vegetables, and legumes, and provides important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- Protein foods: This group includes animal-based and plant-based protein sources, such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh, and nuts, and provides essential amino acids for building and repairing tissues.
- Dairy: This group includes milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products, and provides important sources of calcium, protein, and other nutrients.
Fats: This group includes foods that are high in healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and vegetable oils, and provides a concentrated source of energy and essential fatty acids.
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