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Do You Know Your Food Groups?

By Sara Butler

The first step toward a healthy and balanced diet is understanding what you need to achieve it. If you don’t understand the basic food groups and what your best choices are within them, then you won’t be able to harness their full power for your health. Here’s a rundown of the basic food groups and the best choices in them for your health and wellness.

Grains

A food that contains wheat, cornmeal, rice, oats, rye, or some other grain is a grain product. Pasta and bread are in this category, as are popcorn, grits, tortillas, cereal, and rice. This food group isn’t difficult to find and many people eat more than they need to in their diets.

The best choices in this group are foods that are free from trans fats and low in added sugar and saturated fat. Make sure to look at the nutrition labels to ensure you’re not getting more of those than you bargained for. It’s also a good idea to choose products made from whole grains. Look for whole oats, whole grain, or whole wheat products. Quinoa, popcorn, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat, and wild rice are all good choices.

Vegetables

Vegetables come in a variety of colors and textures. There are enough out there that you are sure to find many that you like to eat. To make sure you get what you need from this food group, eat a variety of colors. Just watch the starchy vegetables, such as corn, potatoes, and green peas. While these vegetables are still good for you, they tend to have more sugar and calories than other vegetables.

Fruits

You probably have a handful of favorite fruits, but you should consider expanding your palate and trying at least one new fruit every couple of weeks. Also make sure to keep the skin of fruits, such as pears and apples, on in order to help get all the nutrients you can from it. The skin is where the most fiber is and that’s a part of the fresh fruit that is very healthy.

Protein

Lean protein is always a great choice. Pork, chicken, and fish are all great options. Even canned fish, as long as it’s canned in water, is a great option to help you get the protein you need per day.

Dairy

Dairy can be difficult to get enough of as you get older, but it’s still important -- especially for heart health. It may be a good idea to go with lower fat versions of your favorite milk and yogurt, but check to make sure there’s no added sodium too.

Eat all the proper food groups in order to achieve optimal health and wellness!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Weston, Fla.

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