Food Groups: What Foods Fit Where?

A guide to classifying foods according to food type

In putting together your meals and snacks, it is not always clear which foods fit in to each of the three categories we use at Green Mountain. The list below will help you sort that out. To find more examples, to see how foods made of up of several ingredients fit, or to get meal and snack ideas, refer to our Healthy Recipes.

A note about calories, fat, etc.

What We Do:

  • Green Mountain at Fox Run helps women put the joy back into eating while supporting health and fitness.
  • We believe that we eat food, not nutrients.
  • Our approach helps women begin to make food choices based on balance, variety and moderation.
  • Our healthy eating plan emphasizes eating plenty of grain-based foods, fruits, vegetables and protein foods to meet energy and nutrient needs.

In this way, we can focus on healthy, satisfying meals without undue emphasis on nutritional details that may distract us from the big picture of pleasurable eating in a way that supports weight management as part of a healthy lifestyle.


These foods are the basis of every meal and snack. Try to choose whole-grain items at least half of the time. Whole grains add important nutrients and fiber as well as help manage hunger, helping you go longer between meals and snacks.

  • Grain Foods
    • Bread and rolls — white, multi-grain or whole grain
    • Bagels and muffins
    • Ready-to-eat cereal — whole grain cereals such as whole-wheat flakes, shredded
    • wheat, wheat chex or whole grain oats (e.g.Cheerios); corn flakes or puffs, rice
    • chex or crispies.
    • Hot cereal — whole grain cereals such as oatmeal or multi grain; cream of rice, cream of wheat or cornmeal
    • Pasta or Rice
    • Crackers
    • Tortillas, taco shell
  • Starchy Vegetables
    • Corn
    • Potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams
    • Winter squashes, such as pumpkin, butternut squash, acorn squash
    • Dried beans, peas, lentils


This group includes milk-based foods as well as meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dried legumes and nuts. Be sure to enjoy milk foods often, as these are important sources of calcium — a nutrient critical to bone health but often lacking in the diets of women.

  • Beef, pork, lamb
  • Chicken or turkey
  • Fresh fish or canned salmon and tuna
  • Eggs
  • Milk-based foods — milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, milk-based soups
  • Nuts and nut butters — peanut butter, almond butter
  • Dried beans, peas, lentils (yes, these qualify for the Grains/Starchy Vegetables as well as a Protein Food)


These are easy to identify but often neglected. Frequently include those that are a good source of vitamin C and vitamin A daily (see Recipes for Living for fruits and vegetables high in these nutrients).

  • Fresh, frozen or canned fruit — apples, apricots, bananas, berries,
  • melon, pears, oranges and grapefruit
  • Fresh, frozen or canned vegetables — asparagus, broccoli, Brussels
  • sprouts green beans, salad greens
  • Dried fruit
  • Fruit juice, tomato or other vegetable juice

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