What Does a Balanced Diet Consist Of?

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A balanced diet is essential for a healthy lifestyle. To achieve a balanced diet, you must eat from each of the food groups contained in the USDA food pyramid. Each of the recommendations below is based on adults consuming a 2,000 calorie per day diet.

Vegetable Group

  • Aim for 2.5 cups of vegetables daily. Try to vary the types of vegetables you eat. If you don't like eating vegetables, products that contain 100-percent vegetable juice count towards this goal.

Fruit Group

  • Try to consume 2 cups of fruit per day. This can also come from products that contain 100-percent fruit juice.

Grain Group

  • The USDA recommends consuming 6 oz. of grains daily. At least 3 oz. should come from whole grain products like whole wheat breads and pasta, brown rice and oatmeal.

Milk Group

  • The calcium in milk is an essential part of a balanced diet. Dairy products like cheese and yogurt also count towards the milk goal. Aim for 3 cups of milk or other dairy products daily.

Meat and Bean Group

  • The meat and beans group also includes fish, nuts and seeds. Try to eat a combination of each of these foods throughout the week. Strive for 5.5 oz. daily from the meat and beans category.

Oil Group

  • Oils play an important role in the food pyramid because they allow us to consume unsaturated, or healthy, fat. The USDA recommends 6 tsp. of oil daily. There are also certain foods that count towards your oil goal such as almonds, salmon and avocados.

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