to the list of chapters
the vegetarian starter kit
The New Four Food Groups
Vegetables - 3 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 bok choy 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
Whole Grains - 5 or more servings a
This group includes bread, rice, pasta, hot
or cold cereal, corn, millet, barley, bulgur, buckwheat groats,
and tortillas. 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 hot cereal; 1 ounce dry cereal; 1 slice
Fruit - 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
Legumes - 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, soy milk, tempeh, and
texturized vegetable protein. Serving size: 1/2 cup cooked
beans; 4 ounces tofu or tempeh; 8 ounces soy milk
Be sure to include a good source of
vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals or vitamin supplements.
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 food grouping plan that reduced the
serving suggestions for animal products and vegetable fats.
PCRM, determining that regular consumption of such foods—even
in lower quantities—poses serious, unnecessary health risks,
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 of Americans—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
Try the the New Four Food Groups &
discover a healthier way to live!