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Food - food groups

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If we don't eat food, then our bodies don't work.

If we don't eat the right food, our bodies don't work as well as they can.

Healthy food gives our bodies the tools they need to:

  • healthy bodydo what we want to do
  • build bones and muscles
  • repair and replace worn out cells
  • keep all systems working
  • keep us healthy.

So it is really important that we give our bodies the right kinds of food to do the job.

What are the right kinds of food?

Look at the pie chart (it looks like a plate of food doesn't it?)

Can you see that some pieces are bigger than others?

This is because your bodies need lots of these foods to be able to do their work.

food chart
copyright with permission

 Let's have a look at them.

Bread, cereal, rice, pasta and noodles group

This is the biggest group because you need to choose most of your daily food from here.

carbohydratesYou get:

  • carbohydrates (car-bow-hide-rayts), the food your body uses for energy.
  • B vitamins
  • some calcium (cal-see-um)
  • iron
  • fibre, which helps move the food along through your gut (intestines).

You need  5-9 servings of these every day (to find out more about servings have a look at the topic Balanced diet).

Vegetables and legumes

Look at the pie chart to find out what they are.

Lots of vegetables are very good for you, and there are lots of different ones around.


You get:


You need 4 or 5 servings of these every day.



There are heaps of different fruits, including canned and dried, so it is pretty easy to eat plenty.

strawberryYou get:

  • vitamins
  • carbohydrates
  • fibre
  • minerals.

    You need  2 or 3 servings every day.


See how many apples the worm can eat - try the Nibbly game

Milk, yoghurt and cheese group

This group (sometimes called dairy products) is pretty important for growing kids.


cheeseYou get:

  • calcium
  • protein
  • vitamins

You need 2 to 4 servings every day.

Meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, nuts and legumes

Did you notice that some of these foods were also in another group?

Well done!

barbequeThis group is just as important to keep you healthy, but you can see from the size of the serving on the plate that your body doesn't need as much from this group as the others.

'Poultry' just means chicken, turkey and other birds.

You get:

  • protein
  • iron
  • vitamins
  • minerals

You need a half to 2 servings from this group each day.

You will notice that two groups of foods have been left off the plate (Aaah, shame).

They are:

Fats and oils

Fats and oils are not in the healthy food circle.  They are down in one corner as foods that you need a bit of but not too much.

Your body still needs them, but they can be found in other foods like meat and dairy products.

Cakes, chips and lollies

cup cakeOf course most kids like these foods, but the truth is your body is not too keen on having lots of them. It only needs to use a little bit and the rest just sits around in all the wrong places!

So you should only eat a little bit and not very often - maybe at special times like parties or once a week.


Dr Kate says:

To eat a healthy diet:

Dr KateEat enough food from each group every day.

  • choose different kinds of foods from each group every day (it gets boring eating the same thing all the time doesn't it?)
  • eat plenty of plant foods (the three biggest groups).
  • eat some animal foods (meat and dairy products) or nuts and legumes if you are vegetarian.
  • eat little of the 'sometimes' foods.
  • drink lots of WATER!
healthy foodsTo find out more see the topics in the "related topics" list near the top of this page.

Here are some thoughts about food that some kids want to share with you.

  • "Don't look in the pantry for a snack when you come home, look in the fridge for healthy snacks like fruit, cheese and crispy vegies." Alex, age 7
  • "Sometimes kids really hate vegies but I think you get to like them when you're older. I think it's okay if you eat a lot of fruit." Natasha
  • 'In my family everyone packs their own lunch, so we canmake what we like. We are allowed one treat a week."  

See if you can write a poem like this one.

Haunting hamburger
njoyable egg
gile asparagus
avish lemon
errific tomato
arassing hashbrown
outhful yoghurt

By Danny

OR have a go at writing a tongue twister like this.
"Cathy Carrot can cook a chunky chicken and cheese casserole."

'Go for 2 & 5 website'
Here you can find out about the benefits of fruit and vegies, nifty ways to get more fruit and vegies into your day, plus some super simple tasty recipes.

A game of concentration

Click on a square to see the picture underneath, then click on another square to see if you get the same picture.  If the pictures don't match (are not the same) they will hide behind the square.  Keep trying different squares until you get a match.  Try to remember what pictures are under what squares so you can match them as the game continues.

Click here to play the game

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We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.


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