There are five main food groups, according to the American Dietetic Association (ADA), that constitute our diet, and the food pyramid sets a base for healthy eating.
Whole grain foods, including brown rice, whole wheat bread and oatmeal, provide energy, fiber, various vitamins (B's, folate) and satiety. They also help reduce bad cholesterol and slow sugar absorption?an important factor for diabetics.
Fruits and Vegetables
This group is an excellent source of antioxidants and fiber and can provide healthier alternatives to sugary and fatty appetizers and desserts.
Dairy products are rich sources of calcium, vitamin D, protein and B vitamins. If you are conscious about calorie intake, choose low-fat or nonfat dairy products.
Meats, Eggs, and Fish
All meats and eggs are rich sources in protein, fat (mostly saturated), vitamin B12, vitamin A (mainly from organs) and iron. However, red meat should be eaten as a side dish instead of as a main dish, while poultry and fish can be eaten regularly.
These are excellent sources of protein, unsaturated fats, vitamins and minerals, and are ideal for vegetarians. Legumes also provide large amounts of energy per serving, without providing satiety.
Sweets, Oils, and Processed Foods
This food group provides little or no nutrient value and should be consumed sparingly or none at all, with the exception of healthy oils (like canola oil or olive oil), which should be consumed in moderation.