The five food groups have been used as a model for a long time to support a healthy food intake. The second dietary guideline recommends a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups every day.
The goal to eating well is to enjoy a variety of nutritious foods from each of the five food groups. Foods are grouped together as they provide similar key nutrients. For example, the key nutrients of the dairy group include calcium and protein, while the fruit and vegetable groups are a good source of vitamin C.
The five good groups are defined as:
- Grains (cereal) foods, mostly wholegrain and /or high cereal fibre varieties
- Lean meats and poultry, fish eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds, and legumes/beans
- Milk, yogurt, cheese and custard, mostly reduced fat
The five food groups can be used to plan menus across all foodservice sectors. The one exception is the aged care sector where low fat dairy and low-fat foods is not recommended. It is important in the aged care sector to provide nutrient and energy dense meals.
As chronic disease increases the five food groups provide an educational guide to plan meals and menus. The five food groups support foodservices to prepare meals that are low in fat, sugar, salt and higher in fibre. Moving away from highly processed foods and using more raw ingredients when cooking is a healthy way to cook. The five food groups provide a simple guide to support healthy eating.