A healthy eating pattern contains a selection of nutrient-dense foods throughout and within all the food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, protein foods, dairy products, and also oils. That also enables for a treat now and also then—what the dietary Guidelines phone call "calories for various other uses." every of the food teams is defined below, with identical examples. The Guidelines current three USDA Food Patterns with recommended quantities for how much you need to consume from every food group per day. Specific recommendations vary depending upon your age, sex, and level of physical activity.

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Cup- and also Ounce-Equivalents

Foods come in plenty of forms. Some foods items are denser than others, and some have more air or contain more water. That’s why a cup or oz of one food is not the exact same as a cup or ounce of one more food. Cup-equivalents and ounce- equivalents tell girlfriend the quantity of various foods from each food team that have similar nutritional content. Because that example, in the vegetables food group, 1 cup of raw spinach and also ½ cup that cooked eco-friendly beans both count as 1 cup-equivalent.


Vegetables come in a wide selection of colors, flavors, and textures. They’re also critical source the vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Dark green vegetables encompass broccoli, collard greens, spinach, and also kale. Some red and also orange vegetables are acorn squash, carrots, pumpkin, tomato, and also sweet potato.

Examples the starchy vegetable are foods like corn, environment-friendly peas, and white potatoes. Other vegetables incorporate eggplant, beets, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, celery, artichokes, environment-friendly beans, and also onions. Beans and also peas (legumes) include black beans, garbanzo bean (chickpeas), kidney beans, soybeans, and tofu. Legumes can likewise be counted in the protein foods group.

1/2 cup-equivalent of vegetable equals:

1 cup uncooked spinach
6 baby carrots
1/2 cup cooking kidney beans
1/2 cup broccoli florets
1/2 huge (3-inch diameter, 3-3/4 inch long) red pepper
1/2 cup cooked green beans

See much more vegetable equivalents.


Older Americans normally do no eat enough fruit. Yet, there are so numerous choices—citrus fruits like oranges and also grapefruits; different kinds of berries; fruits that grow on tree such as apricots, cherries, peaches, and mangoes; and also others choose figs, raisins, and also pineapples.

Many fruits carry out extra fiber the helps store your digestive device moving. Just make sure you to wash all fruit thoroughly prior to eating. Totality fruits are best, yet 100% fruit juice additionally counts as fruit. As soon as purchasing frozen, canned, or dried fruit, choose choices that are lowest in added sugars.

1/2 cup-equivalent the fruit equals:

1 tiny piece fruit, such as a 2-inch peach or large plum
1/4 cup dried fruit
1/8 tool cantaloupe
1/2 cup 100% orange juice
1/2 tool grapefruit
1/2 cup grapes

See more fruit equivalents.


Any food do from wheat, rye, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or an additional cereal serial is a grain product. In addition to bread and also pasta, breakfast cereal, grits, tortillas, and also even popcorn count.

Look for grain selections that are low in saturation and included sugar and that have no infectious diseases world fashion fat. Yet be careful—low-fat baked products can be high in included sugar.

At least fifty percent of all grains consumed should be totality grains, i m sorry contain the whole grain kernel. Totality grains provide iron and many B vitamins, and they have fiber, too. Examples of entirety grains incorporate whole wheat, totality oats, totality bulgur (also well-known as cracked wheat), and whole cornmeal. For an ext on fiber, see important Nutrients to Know.

Some grain products are refined, which provides them a finer texture and also a longer shelf life but removes fiber and nutrients. Many refined grains space enriched, which method that part nutrients are added back after processing. Instances of sleek grain products include white flour, degermed cornmeal, white bread, and white rice.

1 ounce-equivalent of serial equals:

1 slice bread
1 small (2-1/2-inch diameter) muffin
1 cup breakfast cereal (flakes, rounds, or puffed)
1/2 cup cooking cereal, rice, or pasta
3 cups popcorn
1 tiny (6-inch diameter) corn or flour tortilla

See more grain equivalents.

Here’s a tip

Do friend wonder how numerous vegetables and fruits you have to eat in ~ a meal? look at your plate. Vegetables and also fruits have to fill up fifty percent the dish.

Protein Foods

Try to encompass a range of nutrient-dense proteins in the foods you eat. Choose lean (low-fat) meats and also poultry. Store in mind the you can additionally get protein from seafood, eggs, beans, and also peas, as well as nuts, seeds, and soy products.

The diet Guidelines recommends that you eat 8 ounces every week the a variety of seafood, not just for the protein but additionally because seafood includes omega-3 fatty acids such together EPA and DHA, i beg your pardon are great for your heart. Seafoods the are higher in EPA and DHA incorporate salmon, shad, and also trout. This seafoods are additionally lower in mercury, which can be harmful, 보다 other types of seafood.

1 ounce-equivalent equals:

1/2 ounce nuts (12 almonds, 24 pistachios, or 7 walnut halves)
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 cup separation pea, lentil, or other bean soup
1/4 cup tofu
1 egg
2 tablespoons hummus

See more protein equivalents.

TIP: vegetables OR PROTEIN

Are you confused about whether to count beans and peas together vegetables or protein foods? shot this—count them in the vegetables team if you frequently eat meat, poultry, and also fish. Counting them in the protein foodstuffs group if you are a vegetarian or vegan or if you seldom eat meat, poultry, or fish.


Most adults do not get enough dairy in their diet. For her heart health, choose from the many low-fat or fat-free selections in the dairy product group. Choosing fat-free or low-fat milk and yogurt, and lower-fat cheese, provides you crucial vitamins and minerals, with much less fat.

1 cup-equivalent of dairy products equals:

1 cup yogurt
1-1/2 ounces hard cheese, such together cheddar, mozzarella, Swiss, or Parmesan
1/3 cup shredded cheese
1 cup milk or calcium-fortified soybean beans beverage
2 cup cottage cheese
1 cup pudding made through milk

See an ext dairy equivalents.


Oils space high in calories, yet they space also vital source that nutrients prefer vitamin E. For adults age 51 and older, the daily allowance for females is 5 teaspoons of oil and, for men, 6 teaspoons.

If possible, usage oils instead of hard fats, like butter, when cooking. Measure up your daily oils deserve to be tricky—knowing what you include while food preparation or baking is one thing. But, oil is naturally part of part foods.

Teaspoons that oil:

1/2 tool avocado has 3 teaspoons the oil
4 huge ripe olives have 1/2 teaspoon of oil
1 tablespoon the peanut butter has 2 teaspoons that oil

See much more oil equivalents.

Calories for various other Uses

The “calories for various other uses” category in the USDA Food Patterns provides you some leeway because that eating more than the recommended amount the nutrient-dense foods. That also permits for part calories indigenous foods and also beverages that space not nutrient-dense, such as sweetened cereals, sodas, and alcoholic drinks.

Read the ingredient perform to check out if the food you are eating has added sugar. Some vital words to look because that are: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, and high-fructose corn syrup. Friend can also look for “added sugars” top top the Nutrition facts label.

“Calories for other uses” additionally applies come the saturated fats in her diet. These fats take place naturally in some foods, however they room also included to foods items such together baked goods and potato chips. That’s why girlfriend should try to limit your intake of saturated fats.

Also, keep trans fat intake as low together possible. Trans fats are harmful and also are being eliminated from the food supply.

Drinking coffee or tea right provides any type of calories unless you include sugar or cream, i m sorry count as “calories for various other uses.” middle coffee intake of three to 5 8-ounce cup per day have the right to be part of a healthy eating pattern.

As for alcohol, it is no nutrient-dense and also is not component of the healthy eating patterns recommended in the diet Guidelines. It additionally has calories the count towards “calories for other uses.” If friend consume alcohol, do so in moderation—up come one drink per day for women and also up to 2 drinks per day because that men.

The important thing come remember is that “calories for various other uses” consists of all included sugars, saturated and trans fats, and also alcohol the you consume. Pay fist to your usage of this food components due to the fact that the calories include up quickly.

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For much more Information on healthy and balanced Eating

USDA center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion703-305-7600www.fns.usda.gov/cnpp

USDA Food and Nutrition Information facility National agricultural Library301-504-5755fnic

National academy of Diabetes and also Digestive and also Kidney illness (NIDDK)800-860-8747 (toll-free)866-569-1162 (TTY/toll-free)healthinfo

National Heart, Lung, and also Blood Institute301-592-8573nhlbiinfo

This content is provided by the benidormclubdeportivo.org national Institute top top Aging (benidormclubdeportivo.org). Benidormclubdeportivo.org scientists and also other specialists review this contents to ensure it is accurate and also up to date.