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