The food groups

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There are five food groups:

  • Fruit and vegetables
  • Carbohydrates
  • Proteins
  • Dairy
  • Fats and oils

Why is the food we eat important?

The food we eat should provide us with the energy and nutrients we need to grow and keep our bodies healthy.

Each one of the five food groups is important:

  1. Fruit and vegetables, for example, apples, bananas and broccoli, give us vitamins to keep our bodies working and help our immune system and fibre to help our digestion.
  2. Carbohydrates, like pasta, bread and rice, keep our energy levels up.
  3. Proteins, such as meat, beans, and eggs, build healthy muscles and allow our bodies to grow and repair.
  4. Dairy, like milk, cheese and yoghurt, gives us calcium for strong teeth and bones.
  5. Fats and oils, for example olive oil and butter, act as an energy store.
Food group pie chart showing the five main food groups: fruit and vegetables, carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils and dairy.

Click through the slideshow below to see examples of the food groups.

Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables

Fruit and vegetables give us vitamins to keep our bodies working and help our immune system and fibre to help our digestion.

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What is a healthy diet?

  • Our diet is the kinds of foods we eat.
  • A healthy diet should be varied. It should include all of the five food groups and not too much of the same thing.

Unhealthy food

Foods high in salt, fat and sugar like crisps and cakes are not listed in the five food groups. These are foods we should eat less of and only as occasional treats because they do not give our bodies any nutrients.

Foods high in salt, fat and sugar do not give our bodies any nutrients so we should eat less of them.

Water

Along with eating a healthy balanced diet it is very important to drinking water. Water keeps us healthy and hydrated. Hydrate means to absorb water.

Our bodies lose water all the time. Water can be lost from breathing, sweating and going to the toilet. It is important to replace this lost fluid by drinking plenty of water throughout the day in order to stay hydrated.

And remember water is free from the tap!

Test your knowledge

Try this quiz to test your knowledge on the food groups.

Challenge

Can you think of some food ideas for a school lunch box?

It should be a healthy balanced lunch with something from each of the five food groups.

Easy recipes for kids

There's more to learn...

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The food groups - group shot

The food groups