A healthy and balanced eating pattern has a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within every the food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, protein foods, dairy products, and oils. The also allows for a act now and also then—what the dietary Guidelines call "calories for various other uses." every of the food groups is explained below, with equivalent examples. The Guidelines existing three USDA Food Patterns v recommended amounts for exactly how much you need to consume from each food team per day. Specific recommendations vary depending upon your age, sex, and also level of physical activity.

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Cup- and also Ounce-Equivalents

Foods come in plenty of forms. Some foodstuffs are denser 보다 others, and also some have an ext air or contain much more water. It is why a cup or oz of one food is not the exact same as a cup or oz of another food. Cup-equivalents and ounce- equivalents tell you the quantity of different foods from every food team that have similar nutritional content. For example, in the vegetables food group, 1 cup of life spinach and also ½ cup that cooked green beans both count as 1 cup-equivalent.


Vegetables

Vegetables come in a wide range of colors, flavors, and textures. Castle also an essential source that vitamins, minerals, and also fiber. Dark green vegetables incorporate broccoli, collard greens, spinach, and also kale. Some red and orange vegetables space acorn squash, carrots, pumpkin, tomato, and also sweet potato.

Examples of starchy vegetables are foods like corn, environment-friendly peas, and white potatoes. Various other vegetables include eggplant, beets, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, celery, artichokes, green beans, and onions. Beans and also peas (legumes) include black beans, garbanzo bean (chickpeas), kidney beans, soybeans, and also tofu. Legumes can also be count in the protein foodstuffs group.

1/2 cup-equivalent of vegetables equals:

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1 cup uncooked spinach
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6 infant carrots
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1/2 cup cooking kidney beans
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1/2 cup broccoli florets
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1/2 big (3-inch diameter, 3-3/4 inch long) red pepper
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1/2 cup cooked eco-friendly beans

See more vegetable equivalents.


Fruits

Older Americans usually do no eat enough fruit. Yet, there room so countless choices—citrus fruits choose oranges and grapefruits; various kinds that berries; fruits that thrive on tree such as apricots, cherries, peaches, and also mangoes; and also others favor figs, raisins, and also pineapples.

Many fruits carry out extra fiber that helps save your digestive system moving. Simply make certain you to wash all fruits thoroughly prior to eating. Whole fruits are best, yet 100% fruit juice likewise counts together fruit. When purchasing frozen, canned, or dried fruit, choose choices that room lowest in included sugars.

1/2 cup-equivalent that fruit equals:

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1 little piece fruit, such together a 2-inch peach or huge plum
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1/4 cup dried fruit
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1/8 tool cantaloupe
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1/2 cup 100% orange juice
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1/2 tool grapefruit
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1/2 cup grapes

See much more fruit equivalents.


Grains

Any food make from wheat, rye, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or an additional cereal serial is a grain product. In addition to bread and also pasta, breakfast cereal, grits, tortillas, and even popcorn count.

Look because that grain options that are low in saturation and included sugar and also that have no trans fat. Yet be careful—low-fat baked products can it is in high in added sugar.

At least fifty percent of all grains eaten should be entirety grains, i m sorry contain the entire grain kernel. Totality grains provide iron and also many B vitamins, and also they have fiber, too. Examples of entirety grains include whole wheat, entirety oats, entirety bulgur (also known as cracked wheat), and whole cornmeal. For much more on fiber, see essential Nutrients come Know.

Some grain commodities are refined, which gives them a finer texture and also a much longer shelf life however removes fiber and nutrients. Many refined grains room enriched, which way that part nutrients are added back ~ processing. Instances of polished grain products include white flour, degermed cornmeal, white bread, and white rice.

1 ounce-equivalent of grain equals:

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1 part bread
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1 little (2-1/2-inch diameter) muffin
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1 cup breakfast cereal (flakes, rounds, or puffed)
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1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
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3 cup popcorn
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1 small (6-inch diameter) corn or flour tortilla

See more grain equivalents.


Here’s a tip

Do friend wonder how plenty of vegetables and also fruits you must eat at a meal? look at at her plate. Vegetables and fruits have to fill up half the dish.


Protein Foods

Try to encompass a selection of nutrient-dense proteins in the foods you eat. Choose lean (low-fat) meats and poultry. Store in mind the you can likewise get protein from seafood, eggs, beans, and also peas, and also nuts, seeds, and also soy products.

The dietary Guidelines recommends the you eat 8 ounces per week that a variety of seafood, not only for the protein but likewise because seafood has omega-3 fat acids such together EPA and DHA, i beg your pardon are great for your heart. Seafoods the are greater in EPA and also DHA include salmon, shad, and also trout. These seafoods are likewise lower in mercury, which deserve to be harmful, 보다 other species of seafood.

1 ounce-equivalent equals:

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1/2 ounce nuts (12 almonds, 24 pistachios, or 7 walnut halves)
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1 tablespoon peanut butter
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1/2 cup split pea, lentil, or various other bean soup
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1/4 cup tofu
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1 egg
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2 tablespoons hummus

See much more protein equivalents.

TIP: vegetable OR PROTEIN

Are girlfriend confused about whether to count beans and also peas together vegetables or protein foods? shot this—count them in the vegetables group if you consistently eat meat, poultry, and fish. Count them in the protein foodstuffs group if you room a vegetarian or vegan or if you hardly ever eat meat, poultry, or fish.


Dairy

Most adults perform not get enough dairy in your diet. For her heart health, choose from the numerous low-fat or fat-free choices in the dairy products group. Picking fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt, as well as lower-fat cheese, provides you vital vitamins and also minerals, with much less fat.

1 cup-equivalent of dairy products equals:

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1 cup yogurt
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1-1/2 ounces difficult cheese, such as cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, or Parmesan
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1/3 cup shredded cheese
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1 cup milk or calcium-fortified soybean beans beverage
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2 cups cottage cheese
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1 cup pudding made through milk

See an ext dairy equivalents.


Oils

Oils room high in calories, yet they space also critical source that nutrients choose vitamin E. For adults age 51 and older, the day-to-day allowance for ladies is 5 teaspoons that oil and, for men, 6 teaspoons.

If possible, use oils instead of hard fats, prefer butter, when cooking. Measure your daily oils can be tricky—knowing what you add while cooking or baking is one thing. But, oil is naturally part of some foods.

Teaspoons of oil:

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1/2 medium avocado has actually 3 teaspoons of oil
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4 huge ripe olives have 1/2 teaspoon of oil
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1 tablespoon the peanut butter has 2 teaspoons the oil

See an ext oil equivalents.


Calories for other Uses

The “calories for other uses” category in the USDA Food Patterns offers you some leeway because that eating an ext than the encourage amount the nutrient-dense foods. It also allows for some calories from foods and also beverages that are not nutrient-dense, such as sweetened cereals, sodas, and also alcoholic drinks.

Read the ingredient perform to view if the food you space eating has added sugar. Some crucial words come look for are: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, and also high-fructose corn syrup. Friend can likewise look for “added sugars” top top the Nutrition facts label.

“Calories for other uses” additionally applies to the saturated fat in her diet. These fats happen naturally in some foods, however they room also included to foods items such as baked goods and potato chips. It is why you should shot to limit your intake of saturation fats.

Also, save trans fat intake together low together possible. Trans fats are harmful and are being removed from the food supply.

Drinking coffee or tea right provides any kind of calories uneven you include sugar or cream, i beg your pardon count as “calories for various other uses.” center coffee usage of three to 5 8-ounce cups per day have the right to be component of a healthy and balanced eating pattern.

As for alcohol, that is no nutrient-dense and is not part of the healthy and balanced eating trends recommended in the diet Guidelines. It also has calories the count toward “calories for various other uses.” If friend consume alcohol, carry out so in moderation—up come one drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men.

The crucial thing come remember is the “calories for various other uses” includes all included sugars, saturated and also trans fats, and alcohol the you consume. Pay attention to your intake of this food components since the calories add up quickly.

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For much more Information on healthy Eating


USDA center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion703-305-7600www.fns.usda.gov/cnpp


USDA Food and Nutrition Information facility National farming Library301-504-5755fnic
ars.usda.govwww.nal.usda.gov/fnic


National institute of Diabetes and also Digestive and also Kidney conditions (NIDDK)800-860-8747 (toll-free)866-569-1162 (TTY/toll-free)healthinfo
niddk.yellowcomic.com.govwww.niddk.yellowcomic.com.gov


National Heart, Lung, and also Blood Institute301-592-8573nhlbiinfo
nhlbi.yellowcomic.com.govwww.nhlbi.yellowcomic.com.gov


This contents is noted by the yellowcomic.com nationwide Institute top top Aging (yellowcomic.com). Yellowcomic.com scientists and other experts review this content to ensure that is accurate and also up to date.