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Proteins – All foods made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, processed soy products, nuts, and seeds are considered part of the Protein Foods group. Beans and peas are also part of the Vegetable Group. Examples include dishes that contain meat or meat alternatives, such as eggs, dry beans, peas, or peanut butter.
Fruits and Vegetables – Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group; any vegetable or 100% vegetable juice counts as a member of the Vegetable Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up or pureed. Vegetables may be raw or cooked; fresh, frozen, canned, or dried/dehydrated; and may be whole, cut-up or mashed. Vegetables are organized into five (5) subgroups, based on their nutrient content. Examples would be dishes that accompany a main dish, such as salads, relish trays, cooked fruits/vegetables, etc.
Grains – Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain is a grain product. Grains are divided into two (2) subgroups: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm. Examples of grain products includes bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, and tortillas.
Dairy – All fluid-milk products, and many foods made from milk, are considered part of this food group. Foods made from milk that retain their calcium content are part of this group; foods made from milk that have little to no calcium (such as cream cheese, cream and butter) are not. Calcium-fortified soy milk (soy beverage) is also part of the Dairy group. Dishes in this group must contain a minimum of a half-serving of dairy.