The US Department of Agriculture has established recommended daily servings of each food group to provide a simple tool for creating a healthy and balanced diet. These requirements are for people who exercise 30 minutes or less per day. If you are more active, the publication "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010", provided by the USDA and the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, offer recommendations that you can follow to increase your consumption according to the calories you burn.
Women need 1, 5 to 2 cups of fruit per day and men should consume 2 cups, according to USDA recommendations. Any type of fruit is acceptable, but it is better to consume the skin and the pulp because they contain nutrients and fibers. A 1 cup serving of fruit equals 1 cup of cut fruit, 1 cup of 100% fruit juice or 1/2 cup of dried fruit. As the juice has little fiber, it chooses more often to consume the whole fruit. Be careful with added sugar in juices or in canned or frozen fruits.
The recommended daily intake of vegetables is 2 to 2, 5 cups for women and 2, 5 to 3 cups for men. The USDA divides the vegetables into five subgroups: green leafy vegetables, red and orange vegetables, starchy vegetables, beans and "other" vegetables. "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010" provides recommendations on how much to eat daily in each group, such as consuming 9% of the daily intake as green leafy vegetables. However, the most important thing to remember is to eat various vegetables every day.
Processed grains, such as white rice, lose nutrients and fibers when the bran and germ layers are removed. These refined grains are usually enriched with vitamins and minerals, but never recover fiber. For this reason, the USDA recommends obtaining half the daily grain in the form of whole grains of different types. Women need 5 to 6 ounces a day, while men need between 6 and 8 ounces, depending on age. One ounce is equivalent to one slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, pasta or cereal.
Birds, fish, beef and eggs are the obvious members of the protein group. The vegetable sources of proteins in this group include soy products, nuts, seeds, beans and peas. The USDA recommends 5 to 5, 5 ounces a day for women and between 5, 5 and 6, 5 for men. 1 ounce is equivalent to 1 ounce of lean meat, poultry or fish, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon of nut butter, 1/2 ounce of nuts or seeds and 1/4 cup of cooked beans.
Do not ignore dairy products just because you're an adult. Milk and dairy foods are good sources of protein and calcium, good for bones. The disadvantage is that they have a high fat content, so choose products low in fat or skimmed. Men and women should consume 3 cups of dairy products per day, such as milk, yogurt or cheese. In the latter case, a 1 cup serving equals 1.5 ounces of hard cheese or 1/3 cup of grated cheese.