Nutrition A to Z
n Nutrition n Malnutrition n Metabolism n The 5 Food Groups
n Vitamins n Good Fats Vs Bad Fats n Carbohydrates n Dietary Guidelines
n Minerals n Height and Weight Charts n Glossary of Terms n Contact Us n Home

The 5 Food Group

The various kind of food that we consume forms the part of 5 Basic Food Groups.  These are:

  • Grains and Cereals - bread, rice, cereal,  pasta, etc.
  • Different fruit and vegetables.
  • Dairy products such as cheese, milk, curd, butter, etc.
  • Proteins such as meat, fish, beans, eggs and nuts etc.
  • Fats and oils 

These 5 Food Groups are often drawn as within triangle or pyramid structure as follows:


This diagram explains, how many different foods you need to eat to keep yourself healthy and fit. The grain and cereal food make the base of the pyramid, so these should biggest part of your diet. As you move up on the pyramid, it gets thinner, and the food groups’ higher ups should form less proportion of your diet. Fat and oils should form the smallest proportion of your diet.

Grains and Cereals

Grain products (bread, rice, cereal, pasta, etc) are essential part of your diet. These are fundamental sources that provide carbohydrate, like starch and fiber, along with vitamins and minerals.
Some persons thought that grain products (bread, rice, cereal, pasta, etc) are fattening. This is not so, if you eat the whole meal or whole grain breads and brown rice. However, when you add fats like margarine, mayonnaise, cheese sauce, oil, or gravy to them, then you definitely raise the calorie level of the food.
Whole grain foods contain high fiber content and low starch in comparison to white grain foods.  Brown rice, oatmeal, corn tortillas, and whole wheat and whole grain bread are examples of whole grain food.
This group is placed at the bottom of the pyramid, which means this goup makes up the biggest part of your food you eat.

Fruit and Vegetables

Vegetables are important sources of vitamins and minerals. These are low in calories and fat. Fat and calories can be added to the vegetables while cooking. Adding fat, oil, margarine, or lard while cooking vegetables means adding fat and calories. When you buy frozen vegetables with sauces, then you may also add fat and calories, particularly if the sauces are oily, cheesy or creamy. 
Frozen vegetables contain the nutrients in low proportion in comparison to fresh vegetables. These vegetables may also contain extra sugar or salt or both, which adds flavor but with extra sodium to your diet. When you buy tinned vegetables, always read the label and prefer vegetables with no added salt.
Fruits too are important sources of different vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates, like fiber and sugar. Fruit and fruit juices are good sources of water. Fruits are low in calories and sweet when ripe. Whole fruit like apple and grape contains more fiber than fruit juices and sauces like applesauce and grape juice. Having fresh fruit is better than having fruit juices, because some time fruit juices packet labeled as “no added sugar” but despite these contain sugar and / or salt.
Dried fruits like figs, prunes, and raisins are also good sources of vitamins, minerals and fiber. Tinned fruit syrups, such as; tinned peaches usually contain a lot of added sugar. These contain high calories than fresh fruits. When buy tinned fruits, prefer juices instead of syrups
The fruit and vegetable group is towards the bottom of the pyramid, which means you will consume them a lot to fulfill the demands of nutrients of your body.


Dairy products are important sources of vitamins and minerals in general and calcium in particular. Calcium is bone building mineral, which is the prime requirement of our body. It is difficult to fulfill the demand of calcium of our body, without adding dairy products to our diet. Some persons have problems in digesting milk and different milk products because of lactose (a kind of sugar) in milk. These people are lactose intolerant. For such people, a number of lactose – free products are available in the shops and stores.
Some dairy products are in fat like cheese, ice cream, and whole milk and food made of whole milk. To lessen the fat in your diet, you have to choose low fat or skimmed milk product, like low fat cheese, low fat yogurt and skim milk.
This food group is placed high up in the food pyramid. It means these foods are necessary for good health but you need them in lower proportion to make a substitute of your diet. 


Proteins are important sources of vitamins, minerals and protein itself. Meat and meat products are generally high in fat. You can minimize the quantity of extra fat. How? For example, you can choose leaner cuts like chuck, top round and bottom round of beef, pork loin or lamb shank. You can trim the fat from meat before cooking. You can take the skin of chicken before you eat or grill the meat instead of frying in oil. Many tinned meats like hot dogs, sausages, bacon and ham etc contains high fat and sodium. Eat these less frequently and that too in low quantity.
Eggs are good sources of iron and proteins. Most of the fat in eggs is contained in yolk. While using eggs, just use egg whites, instead of whole egg. This will reduce the fat quantity in your diet.
Plant foods are cheap sources of protein, for example; lentils, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, and other beans and peas. Particularly, beans are low in fat and high in fiber. Nut and nut butters are good sources of proteins and iron but high in fat than other plant foods.
This food group is higher up on the food pyramid. These foods are important for good health and you should eat these in smaller quantities. 

Fat and Oils

Our bodies produce some imperative materials out of fats and also use fat to stock up and move different vitamins around our bodies. Fats also help in metabolism of sugar and insulin and thus contribute towards long term weight loss and weight maintenance. Thus you may conclude that the fat is an essential part of a healthy diet. Fat make food tastier and better. But not all fats are good.  See "Good Fats Vs Bad Fats" on page 25 Fats, oils and sugar give us calories. These are great sources of energy.
Fats and oils like salad dressing for example mayonnaise, margarine, and lard etc are high in fat content and thus high in calories. Sweets such as candy, fizzy drinks, jams, syrups, etc are made mainly of sugars. Almost all of these mentioned do not contain any vitanin or mineral and so called empty calorie or calorie diabolic foods.
 Fats , oils and sugars are not bad in moderation, if we consume them sensibly with other foods. Consuming much fat, oil or sweets can cause sever health and weight problem.
This food group is placed at top of the food pyramid. You should take these in very less quantity with other foods to make your diet completely nutritious and perfect.


n Nutrition

n Malnutrition

n Metabolism

n The 5 Food Groups

n Vitamins

n Good Fats Vs Bad Fats

n Carbohydrates

n Dietary Guidelines

n Minerals

n Height and Weight Charts

n Glossary of Terms

n Contact Us

n Home


Nutrition Pyramind