You will have heard of the 'food wheel' or the 'food pyramid'. These are different ways of grouping together the food we eat in such a way that the classification helps us to choose adequate food for a healthy diet. In general, this c1assification divides food into six groups, according to both their origin and their nutrients. The six groups are as follows.
Group 1. Milk and dairy products Milk Group foods like milk (Skimmed, Semi-skimmed and Whole), cheese ( Fresh, Manchego, Roquefort....) and yogurt together provide calcium and other essential nutrients, including protein amd vitamins.
Calcium is essential for strong, healthy teeth and bones. Bone density and strength built during childhood and adolescence needs to last a lifetime. Adequate calcium intake now — provided by 3 servings of milk, cheese, or yogurt — along with regular physical activity, can help prevent the bone-thinning disease, osteoporosis, later in life — as well as help prevent bone fractures during childhood.
Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and use it to build strong bones.
Group 2. Meat, poultry and fishThe Meat Group contains foods from both plants and animals. These provide proteins, fundamentall, as well as iron and B vitamins.
Protein helps build strong muscles and build and repair body tissue. Iron is important part hemoglobin of red blood cells to carry oxygen to all parts of the body.B vitamins helps the body use energy.
Foods in the Meat Group include:
• Beef, chicken, pork and fish.
• Dry beans, such as chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils and split peas.
• Nuts or seeds, such as peanuts, almonds and walnuts.
Group 3. Fats and oils.
The fats group contains are a concentrate source of energy. These include animal fats and vegetable oils. Eaten in moderation they provide the lipids we need and essential fatty acids.
Foods in the Fats Group include:
Saturated fats. These are found mainly in animals ( butter, lard) but some in plants (palm and coconut oils).
Unsaturated fats. These are the vegetable oils (olive and sunflower oils) and fish oil that are rich in omega-3s fatty acids.
Group 4. Cereals, pulses, potatoes and sugar.
These provide proteins and glucids.
Grain Group foods provide complex carbohydrates and fiber. Two categories make up the Grain Group — whole grains and refined grains. Refined grains, such as white rice, pasta or white bread, have the bran and germ removed to give them a finer texture and so they don’t have fiber and vitamin B1 in them.
Complex carbohydrates are an important source of energy and fiber helps promote regular digestion and may reduce the risk for certain cancers and heart disease.
Foods in the Grain Group
Foods from wheat, corn and rice in the Grain like all types of breads, pancakes, biscuits and other foods made from flour and grains. All all types of pasta including spaghetti, macaroni and noodles
This group also includes root vegetables such as potatoes and legumes (soy, beans and peas, lentils, chickpeas and beans) to be rich in carbohydrates.
There are also sugars (glucose, sucrose and all alcohols) present in white or brown sugar, sweets, chocolates, sweet pastries or cakes in general, wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages. They bring lots of energy quick.
Group 5. Fruit.
Fruits provide vitamins A and C, potassium and fiber. The amount of these nutrients in each fruit variety varies. For example, strawberries, oranges and grapefruits are excellent sources of vitamin C, while cantaloupe and apricots are excellent sources of vitamin A. All fruits are naturally low in fat.
Foods in the Fruit Group
Any fruit or 100% fruit juice is in the Fruit Group.
Group 6. Vegetables.
These are a source of vitamins A and C and fiber. Each vegetable contains different amounts of these nutrients. Fiber is important because it promotes regular digestion and may reduce the risk for certain cancers and heart disease.
Foods in the Vegetable Group
Any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice (Fresh, frozen or canned)is in the Vegetable Group: Examples include dark green vegetables, starchy vegetables, orange vegetables, and other vegetables, such as, tomatoes, asparagus, brussels sprouts and eggplant.