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Nutrition Basics - Understanding the Food Groups
Posted on 08/31/2017 19:22

food_groups_nutrition_health.jpgMany people understand nutrition basics from studying food pyramids in school. For example, it’s well known that fruits and vegetables are beneficial and should be eaten daily, while sugar-filled sweets and processed foods should be consumed sparingly. Yet in 2015, only 1 in 10 American adults was eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables!

Research like this can be an indication of both lack of awareness as well as an accessibility issue to food. Fortunately, we can help ensure that you have the knowledge you need to eat the diet you need to stay healthy. Keep reading for more information on how you can eat the right amount of each food group to keep yourself - and your family - in healthy shape:

 

The Food Pyramid

In the spring of 2015, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) updated the food pyramid from its traditional format. The new graphic, while still holding on to the pyramid shape, can be a bit more difficult to interpret, but it generally stays true to what nutrition experts have previously determined and recommended for healthy eating.

When looking at the pyramid from left to right, grains make up the largest portion, followed by vegetables, fruits, dairy, meats, and so on. However, it’s important to note that while food pyramids are general guidelines, they may not be the best guidelines for all individuals, especially those with dietary restrictions. You may want to speak with your healthcare provider for more information on the daily intake of each food group that best suits your body’s needs.

 

Fruits and Vegetables

Due to their many nutritional benefits, fruits and vegetables should make up the majority of your plate and at least half of what you eat during each meal. When eating fruits and vegetables, choose different produce options that come in a variety of colors for a balanced nutritional intake. As for vegetables, remember that potatoes do not actually count as one, as our bodies digest them and treat them as a starch.  This is why eating potatoes in moderation is so important. Speaking of moderation - while they’re necessary for good health, fruits are easier to go overboard with than vegetables, as they contain more calories and sugar per serving. So stick to the recommended 2 - 4 servings of fruit per day.

 

Whole Grains

One quarter of your plate per meal should be made up of whole grains like whole wheat bread, barley, brown rice, oats, and quinoa. It’s best to avoid white bread, rice, and other refined grains as they are made by removing the fiber-dense bran and nutrients that keep your body at its healthiest. When in doubt, stick to whole grains to get your body’s daily intake of fiber, protein, healthy fats, and minerals.

 

Protein

Meat, beans, nuts, and fish are great sources of protein, and should make up a quarter of what’s on our plates for a balanced protein intake. However, it’s important to remember that not all meat sources are equal when it comes to nutritional value and benefits. Healthy lean meats include poultry and fish, while red meat and processed meats - like bacon and steak - are high in cholesterol and often sodium.  There’s also a possibly that certain cuts of meat contribute to your cancer risk, so it’s a good idea to limit your consumption of these less-healthy types of protein.

 

Making sure you eat plenty of nutritious foods will keep your body healthy and have a positive effect on your overall well-being. But it’s important to understand which foods are most recommended as well as to eat a varied diet. So whether you want to address your eating habits for specific health reasons or you just want to check over what you or a family member are eating, it never hurts to work with your doctor to make sure you’re all consuming the portions you need to be healthy.

If you have questions or concerns about your diet and daily nutritional intake, the team at Genesis Medical can assist you and answer your questions. To schedule an appointment with a pediatrician, find your nearest location and contact us today!

Nutrition   Food  

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