Eating for Health: Keeping Track of Food Groups

Find Handouts at the end of the article!


The eating for health method categorizes foods into the following food groups: Seeds/Nuts/Oils, Proteins, Booster Foods, Leafy Vegetables, Crunchy Vegetables, Seasonal Fruit, Unrefined Starches, and Fluids.

Not your Standard MyPlate

Each of these food groups are important! The categories are determined based on nutrient profile and their impact on health. Furthermore, each foods in a food group has it’s own, unique nutrient profile. A balanced diet made up of a variety of foods from each food group is the foundation to a healthy diet.

 

The question then becomes, how much of each food do I eat? Well, first we can look at the Eating for Health Model to see the standard recommendation and the serving sizes.

 

The table below shows a food group, a general daily serving suggestion, the serving size, and some examples of those foods. I’ve listed more examples for each group below and included a more serving size info for some groups. For example, a serving of raw leafy vegetables is 1 cup while a serving of cooked leafy vegetables is only ½ cup.

 

 

Seeds and Oils (this includes nuts)
Daily Servings: 2-3
Serving Size: 2 tbsp of seeds (~1 handful), 1 tbsp of oil
Examples: flax, chia, sunflower, hemp, sesame, sunflower, almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts. Oils like olive, flaxseed oil, butter (from grasped cows), and avocado oil.

 

Protein
Daily Servings: 2-4
Serving Size: 3oz Animal, 6oz Vegetable
Examples: poultry, fish, beef, wild game, eggs (3/serving), milk (1 cup/serving), beans, lentils

 

Leafy Vegetables
Daily Servings: 2-3
Serving Size: 1 cup (½ cup if cooked/wilted)
Examples: salad mix, spinach, kale, chard

 

Crunchy Vegetables
Daily Servings: 2-3
Serving Size: ½ cup raw or cooked
Examples: broccoli, string beans, onions, celery, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage

 

Unrefined Starches
Daily Servings: 2-4
Serving Size: ½ cup whole grain, 1 cup chopped starchy vegetable or 1 medium root vegetable
Examples: whole grains, whole grain bread, yams, winter squash, corn, millet, quinoa, brown rice

 

Fruit (ideally seasonal and fresh)
Daily Servings: 2-4
Serving Size: ½ cup, 1 medium piece
Examples: berries, apple, grapes, citrus

 

Booster Foods
Daily Servings: 2-4
Serving Size: 1 tsp – 1 tbsp
Examples: herbs, spices, nutritional yeast, algae, seaweed

 


Poor? Good? Better? Or the Best?

Lets get real here, we all overestimate how many vegetables we eat. That doesn’t mean we’re eating terribly! On the contrary! We’re all at different stages of our health journey. While some might be eating 8 servings of organic vegetables and seasonal fruits a day, many are doing well by including one vegetable serving a day that isn’t fried, highly processed, or part of a fast food hamburger.

 

With that in mind, try using this table to evaluate how nutrient dense your diet it. Which category does your diet fall into for each food category?


Eating for Health Worksheet!

To help you keep track of the foods you eat I’ve made this handy worksheet! The worksheet helps you tally the number of servings you eat in each food group throughout the week.

Click Here –> Weekly Eating for Health Food Group Tally Worksheet!

Take the worksheet with you and fill in any food group servings you eat throughout the day. It’s easier than relying on memory. Try to reach the suggested number of servings for each food group at least one day each week! If you’ve already got that down, try to get the suggested servings for two food groups each day!

 

Here’s the Eating for Health Model to bring with you as well!

Click Here –> Eating for Health Model

Start here to begin improving your diet and your health!


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