What are the ‘Food Groups’?

Credit:The Cardiacclinic.co.nz

‘Food Groups’ is a way of classifying foods according to the nutrients they provide.  In New Zealand the four food groups are:

  1. Breads and cereals (bread, pasta, rice and breakfast cereals)
  2. Fruit and vegetables
  3. Meat and alternatives (lean red meat, poultry, seafood, nuts & seeds, beans and lentils)
  4. Milk and dairy (milk, cheese, yoghurt)

When it comes to a healthy diet, balance is the key to getting it right. This means eating a wide variety of foods in the right portions from all of these groups.  However we do need to be aware that not all foods are created equal, and ensure that we make healthy choices when it comes to what food we put in our mouths.

Below we have listed the four food groups and given examples of some healthy food choices and some not so healthy that should be avoided.

1. Breads and cereals are a good source of energy and carbohydrates however not everyone needs to consume these for optimal health. There are better sources of carbohydrates such as wholegrain oats,rice,quinoa,pasta and vegetables.

Healthy sources Limit intake or avoid altogether
Wholegrain Oats, brown rice,quinoa ,  wholemeal pasta,  wholegrain bread.


White bread, commercial pastry, cakes,  biscuits and crackers, croissants. All processed and packaged carbohydrates.

2. Fruit and Vegetables are a vital source of vitamins and minerals. It’s recommended that we eat five plus portions of a variety fruit & veg a day.

Healthy sources Limit intake or avoid altogether
All veges eaten raw, lightly cooked or baked, or frozen vegetables.

Fresh fruit.

Potato chips and other vegetables deep fried or cooked in sauces . s.

Glace’ fruit,canned fruit.

3. Meat and alternatives are all good sources of protein, which is essential for growth and repair of the body.

Healthy sources Limit intake or avoid altogether
Good quality red meat,  pork, chicken and turkey, liver, kidney and heart, fish, other seafood

All peas, beans and lentils, canned beans, chickpeas,tofu,nuts and seeds.


Sausages, salami and bacon, pate’ and luncheon meats. Avoid all processed meat

Fried fish or shellfish in batter.

4. Milk and dairy such as cheese and yoghurt are good sources of protein. They also contain calcium, which helps to keep your bones healthy. Some people maybe dairy intolerant. Have it checked by a specialist before avoiding all dairy.

Healthy sources Limit intake or avoid altogether
 Whole fat, least processed milk,yogurt and cheese. Sugary yogurts and milk drinks and processed cheese.


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