Be sure to include a good source of vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals or vitamin supplements.
3 or more servings a day
Fruits are rich in fiber, vitamin C, and beta-carotene. Be sure to include at least one serving each day of fruits that are high in vitamin C—citrus fruits, melons, and strawberries are all good choices. Choose whole fruit over fruit juices, which do not contain very much fiber.
Serving size: 1 medium piece of fruit • 1/2 cup cooked fruit • 4 ounces juice
2 or more servings a day
Legumes, which is another name for beans, peas, and lentils, are all good sources of fiber, protein, iron, calcium, zinc, and B vitamins. This group also includes chickpeas, baked and refried beans, soymilk, tempeh, and texturized vegetable protein.
Serving size: 1/2 cup cooked beans • 4 ounces tofu or tempeh • 8 ounces soymilk
5 or more servings a day
This group includes bread, rice, tortillas, pasta, hot or cold cereal, corn, millet, barley, and bulgur wheat. Build each of your meals around a hearty grain dish—grains are rich in fiber and other complex carbohydrates, as well as protein, B vitamins, and zinc.
Serving size: 1/2 cup rice or other grain • 1 ounce dry cereal • 1 slice bread
4 or more servings a day
Vegetables are packed with nutrients; they provide vitamin C, beta-carotene, riboflavin, iron, calcium, fiber, and other nutrients. Dark green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collards, kale, mustard and turnip greens, chicory, or cabbage are especially good sources of these important nutrients. Dark yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin provide extra beta-carotene. Include generous portions of a variety of vegetables in your diet.
Serving size: 1 cup raw vegetables • 1/2 cup cooked vegetables
Many of us grew up with the USDA’s old Basic Four food groups, first introduced in 1956. The passage of time has seen an increase in our knowledge about the importance of fiber, the health risks of cholesterol and fats, and the disease-preventive power of many nutrients found exclusively in plant-based foods. We also have discovered that the plant kingdom provides excellent sources of the nutrients once only associated with meat and dairy products—namely, protein and calcium.
The USDA revised its recommendations with the Food Guide Pyramid, a plan that reduced the prominence of animal products and vegetable fats. But because regular consumption of such foods—even in lower quantities—poses serious health risks, PCRM developed the New Four Food Groups in 1991. This no-cholesterol, low-fat plan supplies all of an average adult’s daily nutritional requirements, including substantial amounts of fiber.
The major killers —heart disease, cancer, and stroke—have a dramatically lower incidence among people consuming primarily plant-based diets. Weight problems—a contributor to a host of health problems—can also be brought under control by following the New Four Food Group recommendations.
Try the New Four Food Groups and discover a healthier way to live!
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