Achieving Optimum Health with the Expanded Food Groups

Your personal health is your greatest asset. Life cannot be enjoyed to its fullest if your health is suffering. The best way for us to embrace our personal health is through maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle.

Maintaining a healthy diet comes with many benefits to our personal health such as having a stronger immune system to fight off viruses. It will also greatly reduce your risk of cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and many other serious health conditions; and allow you to live a longer and fuller life.

An optimum diet involves achieving a balanced meal plan made up of preferably organic whole foods from all the different food groups. This can seem a challenge at first but just like anything else can be easily adapted to. Traditionally there are four basic food groups, but these food groups can also be expanded upon. The recommended daily servings from each of the food groups depends on a person’s age, sex, lifestyle and health status.

The Four Basic Food Groups includes: fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy and protein. In The Expanded Food Groups, some of the food groups are expanded but also a couple new ones are introduced. Fruits are separated from the vegetables splitting the two into separate groups. Protein is also divided into two groups creating nuts, seeds and legumes as one, and then grouping eggs and meats for another. Two new food groups are also entirely introduced, those being fats and oils and sugars. These groups are created for the purpose of monitoring consumption of these foods, not because they necessarily offer any nutrition.

The daily recommended food group servings can be portioned into a balanced meal plan, which should include three meals a day with small snacks in-between. To calculate how many servings from the basic and expanded food groups, see the chart Basic Food Groups Daily Servings for Child, Teen and Adult. When the basic food group servings are identified, recognizing serving sizes is the next step.

Serving sizes vary greatly with different types of foods. For example an average-sized apple or carrot can make a single serving, but it takes 4 to 6 spears of asparagus or Brussels sprouts to also make a single serving. A single slice of bread can make a single serving as does half of a cup of cooked rice. To see more examples of single servings see the chart Single Serving Portion Examples and Vegetarian Protein Alternatives in Single Serving Portions.

Designing a well-balanced menu using the expanded food groups and the proper serving sizes will ensure your diet is providing your body with all the essential nutrients necessary to be healthy. Eat well, live well and be well.

The Four Basic Food Groups vs The Expanded Food Groups

The Expanded Food Groups Single Serving Portion Examples

Vegetarian Protein Alternatives in Single Serving Portions

Written by: J. Marshall


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