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USDA Food Groups

Dairy food group


Fruit food group


Grains food group


Protein food group


Vegetable food group


When you eat a colorful variety of fruits and vegetables — green, yellow-orange, red, blue-purple, and white, you are giving your body a wide range of nutrients that are important for good health. Each color offers something unique, like different vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals, that work together to protect your health. Only fruits and vegetables, not pills or supplements, can give you these nutrients in the healthy combinations nature intended.

Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and fat and contain valuable fiber and a variety of nutrients that reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Recommended numbers of servings are 2-1/2 cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit each day for an average diet of 2,000 calories. (The amount of servings recommended varies depending on your daily calorie needs, which are based on age, gender and activity level.)

Fruits and vegetables are easy to prepare and serve and there are so many tasty choices.


  • Eat an array of fruit in a variety of colors. Select fruits that are in season to save money.
  • Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit.
  • Light or heavy syrup adds sugar to canned fruits. Fruits canned in juice or water are a better choice.
  • Go easy on fruit juices. Choose whole or cut-up fruits more often as snacks or with meals, instead of juice. Consider water or milk as a beverage choice.
  • Regularly use fruit in salads, toppings, desserts and snacks.


  • Eat more dark-green vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kales and other dark leafy greens.
  • Eat more orange vegetables like carrots, pumpkin, winter squash and sweet potatoes.
  • Eat more dry beans and peas like pinto beans, kidney beans and lentils.
  • Keep the amounts of starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn to the quantity recommended each week. For example, those needing 2,000 calories per day need only 3 cups of starchy vegetables per week.

Remember, you can enjoy the taste of any fruit or vegetable year-round by using fresh, frozen, canned, dried, and 100% juice - it all counts! See list of foods to learn more about each item:


  • Smart storage: keep it fresh
    The food items wasted most are fresh vegetables and fruit. This is typically because we have bought too much or didn’t use it in time. By storing fruits and vegetables for maximum freshness, they will taste better and last longer, helping you eat more of them before they spoil.

  • Puget Sound Fresh
    Find a Farmers Market nearest you as well as other key resources.