As a young woman you are growing physically at a rapid rate, so it is important to eat a
well balanced diet to obtain the nutritional needs that your body requires. Eating
healthy results in a stronger immune system, healthier body
and generally a higher level of well being.
When assessing your daily intake, comparing it to the "Food Groups" will give you an idea of
where you are doing well and where you could improve to be the best you can be. A good exercise
is to fill out an eating diary for a couple days to help with this
There are basically five food groups that contain the foods and nutrients that you need to eat to
be healthy. There is a miscellaneous group, which is called the "other " group. This group includes
fats, candy and sweets, which should be used sparingly because they are empty calories
- fill you up, but contain no nutrition - and can interfere with your appetite.
The five food groups include the:
- Milk Group
- Meat Group
- Vegetable Group
- Fruit Group
- Grain Group
The first group is the milk group. This is the group where we get calcium, which is
very important for your bones and teeth. Four servings a day are recommended for your age.
(1 cup milk, 2oz cheese, ½ cup ice cream or frozen yogurt , all equal 1 serving.)
The second group is the meat group. Meat contains iron and protein. Three servings of
meat should be eaten each day. (1 egg, ½ cup of beans, 2tbsp of peanut butter, 2-3oz of cooked
meat equals 1 serving.)
The third group is the vegetable group. Most vegetables contain vitamins.
Five servings are suggested. This could include ¾ cup vegetable juice, ½ raw vegetables, 1
potatoes, ½ cup cooked vegetables.
The fourth group is the fruit group. Fruit often contains Vitamin C. Four servings
are recommended. A serving of fruit is equal to ¾ cup fruit juice, ½ cup raw, canned or
cooked fruit, 1 medium apple, ½ grapefruit, ¼ cantaloupe.
The fifth group is the grain group. Six to eleven servings are suggested. A
serving of grains is equal to: 1 slice of bread, ½ English muffin, 1oz ready to
eat cereal, ½ cup rice, grits or pasta.
The keys to healthy eating are to choose a variety of foods each day and to be aware of
serving sizes as well. Also, remember, eating healthy is a process…it doesn't usually
happen over night. Life-long changes are often most successful when done step-by-step.
Change can be a steady process over time. Just check in from time to time to remind
yourself to keep moving towards healthy choices.