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Food Groups

different typs of food

Are you interested in healthy eating and having a balanced diet? If so, you'll want to learn more about food groups.

You may have grown up with the "Basic 4": dairy group, meat group, grain group, and the fruits and vegetables group. As nutrition science has changed, so have these food groups.

What are the basic food groups?

Foods are grouped together when they share similar nutritional properties. The groups below are based on the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan. Depending on the plan you choose, you might find the food groups arranged with some slight differences. For example, MyPyramid has a meat and beans group instead of a meat, poultry, and fish group.

How much of each food group should I eat?

To learn this, you'll want to refer to a healthy eating plan. A healthy eating plan will show you how much you need from each food group to stay within your calorie needs and promote good health. A healthy eating plan can also help you learn—

bulletHow many calories you need each day.
bulletHow much of each food equals a portion.
bulletHow to make healthy choices in each food group.

What are some examples of healthy eating plans?

Two examples of healthy eating plans are identified by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005:

mypyramid.gov )
DASH eating plan  

Which eating plan should I choose?

Either can work for you. Both are healthy eating plans that—

bulletFocus on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free milk and milk products.
bulletInclude lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.
bulletAre low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
bulletCan provide your daily calorie needs (when you choose the recommended amounts).

Choose the meal plan that works best for you.


How do foods with extra fats or sugars fit?

Some foods contain added fats or sugars. Both food plans have categories to help you include these foods in your diet occasionally. The DASH plan has a fats and oils category and a sweets and added sugars category. MyPyramid.gov has an oils category and a discretionary calories category.


How Lamb and Pears Can Help Your Food Allergy

By: Jack Prime

Lamb and pears may appear to be a strange combination, but the reason they are chosen as part of a food allergy diet is because they are rarely indicated in allergies and are therefore relatively safe foods for most people with a food allergy to eat.

Often the best way to treat a food allergy is to avoid the food that causes the allergy altogether so a period of exclusion gives your body a chance to tell you which foods are making you ill and whether you react to one food or many foods.

An exclusion diet consists of eliminating one or more foods completely from the diet for a given period of time and then reintroducing foods one at a time to check for adverse reactions.

If you are committed to the process your efforts will be rewarded with the food, or foods, that cause your problems and you can be free of the symptoms and distress a food allergy may cause.

The principle of the lamb and pears food allergies diet is that you only eat these two foods, lamb, pears and bottled or filtered water, for five to seven days. During the course of the food allergy diet you can begin reintroducing other foods one at a time and gauge whether they cause a food allergy reaction.

As the lamb and pears food allergy diet is so restrictive it gives a chance for your system to clear and reveal the hidden allergies which are causing illness or allergy symptoms.

Keep a food diary to track your progress and note down how you are feeling during the diet.

If your food allergy symptoms disappear during the diet you can try and reintroduce suspect foods to see if they cause you a reaction. Keep a note of how you feel before and after eating the different foods you reintroduce.

Any food that does cause a reaction needs to be kept out of your diet and placed on your "foods to avoid list". If a food passes your test successfully you can place it on your "foods you can eat" list.

For best results take each step slowly; reintroduce foods slowly, perhaps one food per meal and if possible one food per day.

A variation of the lamb and pears food allergy diet allows you to eat turkey and peaches, or rabbit and raspberries.

Important note! A two food diet is very restrictive and should never be followed without close supervision or for an extended period of time. Severe exclusion diets can compromise your nutritional well-being so pregnant women, children, diabetics, epileptics, anyone with emotional disturbances or anyone with a serious illness should seek professional advice before embarking on any type of food allergy treatment or exclusion diet.