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A simple guide to serving sizes of the major food groups

The key to eating a nourishing plant-based diet is to enjoy a variety of foods from each of the five food groups:

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*Whole-grains and starchy vegetables

*Legumes (and lean meats, poultry and seafood)

*Fruits & vegetables

*Nuts and seeds

*Dairy/dairy alternatives (milk, cheese and yoghurt)

When planning your meals, try to include as many colours as possible so that your body absorbs as many nutrients as possible over the course of a day.   Some foods are more abundant in certain nutrients than others. By varying your diet, you are more likely to get adequate amounts of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

Whole grains and starchy vegetable servings

Whole-grains include foods like rice, millet and oats. Starchy vegetables include potatoes, sweet potatoes, plantain, yams and cassava. One serving of wholegrain or starchy vegetable is equivalent to:

*1 slice (40g) bread

*½ cup (75-120g) cooked rice, pasta, millet, oats, corn, semolina, bulgur or quinoa

*T!  cup (30g) wheat cereal

*¼ cup (30g) muesli

*½ medium potato, sweet potato, cassava, plantain

Legumes, lean meat, eggs, poultry and seafood servings.

One serving is equivalent to:

*1 cup (150g) cooked beans such as brown beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils or peas

* 170g tofu

*65g cooked or 100g raw lean red meat including beef, lamb, goat, or pork

*80g cooked or 100g raw lean poultry such as chicken or turkey

*100g cooked or 115g raw fish   like cod, tilapia, salmon, or mackerel

*2 large (120g) eggs

Non-starchy vegetables and fruits

One serving is equivalent to:

*1 cup green leafy (ugwu, green, efo, ewedu) or raw salad vegetables (lettuce, cabbage)

*½ cup (75g) cooked green or orange vegetable such as carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash.

* 1 medium apple, banana, orange or pear

* 1 medium tomato

* 2 small kiwi fruits, plums

* 125ml (½ cup) unsweetened fruit juice

* 30g dried fruit such as sultanas, raisins, dried mango

Dairy products and dairy alternatives

One serving is equivalent to:

* 1 cup (250ml) fresh, UHT long life, reconstituted powdered milk

* 1 cup (250ml) soy, rice, cashew, almond, hazelnut or other fortified plant-based milk

* ¾ cup (200g) yoghurt

* ½ cup (120ml) evaporated milk

* 2 slices (40g) cheese

* ½ cup (120g) ricotta cheese

Nuts and seeds and their butter

This category includes foods like ogbono, egusi, peanuts, cashews, almonds, pistachios, flaxseeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and peanut butter.

* 30g nuts, seeds, and their butter

The number of servings you need per day depends on your gender, age, activity levels and weight.   Generally and on a daily basis, adult women should aim for five servings of vegetables, two servings of fruit, six servings of wholegrain and starchy vegetables, two and a half servings of lean meats, poultry and legumes, and two and a half servings of dairy or dairy alternatives.

 

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