Balancing the Five Food Groups

As we all know, proper nutrition is all about balance. As a Registered Dietitian, one of my favorite phrases to say after someone looks at me funny for indulging in a big cheeseburger is, “everything in moderation”. I love this phrase for a number of reasons. First, it allows me to feel okay about having a piece of chocolate for dessert at the end of a long day. It also encompasses the word, “everything”. In this case, when we say “everything”, we are referring to ALL five food groups.

It is essential to consume a variety of foods from each food group to ensure we are getting the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals each day. Below, you’ll see some of my favorite foods from each food group and the health benefits that accompanies each tasty option.

Full-fat Yogurt

Packed with protein, calcium and probio cs, full-fat yogurt is one of the best things you could eat. Full-fat yogurt contains fewer grams of sugar and more protein than non-fat or low-fat yogurt. Enjoy this creamy treat with fresh fruit, granola, shredded coconut, or honey for some added sweetness.

Brown Rice

The great debate remains over which tastes be er: white or brown rice? Whatever your preference is, brown rice will always contain more nutrients than white rice. White rice is stripped of over 75% of the ini al bran and germ nutrients. Nearly all of the an oxidants, phosphorus, B vitamins, and magnesium are taken out when conver ng brown rice to white rice. Brown rice is very high in an oxidants and whole grains that provide an abundance of health bene ts. Pair brown rice with grilled chicken, vegetables, and some low-sodium soy sauce for a delicious stir fry.

Swiss Chard

One cup of this green, leafy vegetable packs in over 700% of your daily needs for vitamin K and over 200% of your daily needs of vitamin A. Swiss chard contains high levels of nitrates, which aid in lowering blood pressure and can enhance athle c performance by reducing the amount of oxygen needed during exercise. In addi on, the chlorophyll in Swiss chard has shown to be e ec ve at blocking cancer-causing agents that are generated while grilling foods at high temperatures.


Pomegranate seeds are a vibrant and rich source of Vitamin C, an oxidants, ber, and an -in ammatory proper es. These seeds are juicy li le morsels that are burs ng with avor, color, and health bene ts. Enjoy pomegranate seeds in a salad, in frozen or regular yogurt, in smoothies, or just by themselves!

Roast Turkey

Turkey is a wonderful source of protein providing 24g of protein per 3oz serving along with other nutrients such as iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, and vitamin B6. These nutrients are essen al for energy produc on and also aid in lowering cholesterol and keeping insulin levels stable. The tryptophan in turkey produces serotonin and helps strengthen the immune system. Look for turkey on our deli and entree lines to add to a salad or sandwich for an energy-boos ng and sa sfying lunch!

Each food group provides a plethora of options to choose from each day that allow you to enjoy a variety of fresh, healthful, and tasty food at every meal.

What are your favorites?