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Eat a Variety of Foods

Foods contain combinations of nutrients and other healthful substances. No single food can supply all nutrients in the amounts you need. For example, oranges provide vitamin C but no vitamin B12; cheese provides vitamin B12 but no vitamin C. To make sure you get all of the nutrients and other substances needed for health, choose the recommended number of daily servings from each of the five major food groups.

Food Groups1Daily Servings2Serving Size
Grains6–111 slice of bread
1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal
1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
Vegetables3–51 cup of raw, leafy vegetables
1/2 cup of other vegetables—cooked or chopped raw
3/4 cup of vegetable juice
Fruits2–41 medium apple, banana, orange
1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
3/4 cup of fruit juice
Milk2–31 cup of milk or yogurt
1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese
2 ounces of processed cheese
Meat and Beans2–32–3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish
1/2 cup of cooked dry beans or 1 egg counts as 1 ounce of lean meat.
2 tablespoons of peanut butter or 1/3 cup of nuts count as 1 ounce of meat.
1. Some foods fit into more than one group. Dry beans, peas, and lentils can be counted as servings in either the meat and beans group or vegetable group. These “crossover” foods can be counted as servings from either one or the other group, but not both
2. A range of servings is given for each food group. The smaller number is for people who consume about l,600 calories a day, such as the sedentary or women. The larger number is for those who consume about 2,800 calories a day, for the very active or men.

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Dietary Guidelines for AmericansVegetarian Diets and Nutritional Requirements

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