Understanding the basics of nutrition is key if you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle and choose nutritious foods. The easiest way to begin is to learn the foundation of eating healthy – the five food groups. Based on the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, there are five basic food groups that make up the building blocks of a healthy diet. Scroll through the slideshow to learn more about the groups and discover how much of each is recommended per day.

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Vegetables

The first food group consists of vegetables. You can eat frozen, fresh, canned or dried veggies and prepare them any way you choose. A variety of dark green, red and orange vegetables, along with beans and peas, will help you get the most nutrients. Examples include broccoli, carrots, collards, green beans, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes. Any 100% vegetable juice also counts in this group. The amount of vegetables needed depends on your age, sex and physical activity, but for adult women and men, the daily recommended amount falls between 2½ and 3 cups.

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