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The Food Plate

MyPyramid.govThe U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) offers an overall food guidance system (ChooseMyPlate) to make Americans aware of the vital health benefits of simple and modest improvements in nutrition, physical activity and lifestyle behavior. 

The ChooseMyPlate symbol represents the recommended proportion of foods from each food group (grains, vegetable, fruit, dairy, protein, and oil) and focuses on the importance of making smart food choices in every food group, every day. Each of these food groups provides some, but not all, of the nutrients you need. Foods in one group cannot replace those in another and no one food group is more important than another.  For good health, you need them all along with physical activity.  The amount you need from each group depends on your age, sex, and level of physical activity.



  • Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain is a grain product. Grains are divided into 2 subgroups, whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel -- the bran, germ, and endosperm. Refined grains have been milled -- a process that removes the bran and germ -- and removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Popcorn, bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples of grain products.
  • Generally, the USDA recommends six ounce equivalents of grains with at least three of those coming from whole grains.
  • In general, 3 cups of popcorn, 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of ready-to-eat cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice, cooked pasta, or cooked cereal can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the grains group. Popcorn is a starch exchange recommended by the American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association.