Hello! This is Michelle, WCL’s registered dietitian, with this month’s Nutrition Minute because we want to MAKE EVERY MINUTE COUNT.
Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated, and may be whole, cut-up, pureed, or cooked. At least half of the recommended amount of fruit should come from whole fruit, rather than 100% fruit juice. Fruits are sources of many essential nutrients that many people do not get enough of including potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, folate.
Based on their nutrient content, vegetables are organized into 5 subgroups: dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other vegetables. Vegetables are important sources of many nutrients including potassium, dietary fiber, folate, vitamin A, vitamin C.
Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain is a grain product. Foods such as popcorn, rice, and oatmeal are also included in the Grains Group. Grains are divided into 2 subgroups: Whole Grains and Refined Grains. Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve their shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Some examples of refined grain products are white flour, corn grits, white bread, and white rice. Refined grain choices should be enriched. This means certain B vitamins (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid) and iron are added back after processing. Fiber is not added back to enriched grains. Only foods that are made with 100% whole grains are considered a whole-grain food. Grains are importance sources of many nutrients including complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, several B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and folate) and minerals (iron, magnesium, selenium).
All foods made from seafood; meat, poultry, and eggs; beans, peas, and lentils; and nuts, seeds, and soy products are part of the Protein Foods Group. Select a wide variety of protein foods to get more of the nutrients your body needs and for health benefits. Meat and poultry choices should be lean or low-fat, like 93% lean ground beef, pork loin, and skinless chicken breasts. Choose seafood options that are higher in beneficial fatty acids (omega-3s) and lower in methylmercury, such as salmon, anchovies, and trout.
The Dairy Group includes milk, yogurt, cheese, lactose-free milk and fortified soy milk and yogurt. It does not include foods made from milk that have little calcium and a high fat content, such as cream cheese, sour cream, cream, and butter. The dairy group provides many nutrients including calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D (in products fortified with vitamin D), riboflavin, vitamin B12, protein, potassium, zinc, choline, magnesium and selenium.
Michelle Elliott, RD