Five Food Group Plan

Human Nutrition 3(3+0)
Lesson 4 : Concept of Balanced Diet, Basic Food Groups Characteristics and their Contribution to the Diet

Five Food Group Plan

The Nutrition Expert Group of Indian Council of Medical Research, India suggested a five group plan and the nutrients supplied by each food group are given in table.

Table. Five Food Groups and nutrients in them (Nutrition Expert Group, I.C.M.R.)


Food Group

Nutrients Contributed


Cereals, roots and tubers
Rice, wheat, maize, ragi, sorghum, pearl millet etc., potato, tapioca, sweet potato etc.,

Rich sources of starch-fair to good sources of proteins and certain B-vitamins.


Milk group
This includes other protein-rich foods such as pulses, nuts, meat, fish, eggs etc.,

Rich sources of proteins, minerals and vitamins.


Fruits and green leafy vegetables
Papaya, orange, mango, Indian gooseberry, guava etc., and all green leafy vegetables.

Rich sources of certain vitamins and minerals.


Other Vegetables
Beans, brinjal, ladies finger etc.,

Fair sources of certain vitamins, minerals and roughage.


Fats and Oils and pure carbohydrate foods
Vegetable oils, animal fats, sugar, jaggery, honey, sago, custard powder, starch etc.,

Rich sources of energy. Vegetable oils are fair to good source of essential fatty acids and vitamin-E. Butter is a good source of vitamin-A. Animal fats are rich in cholesterol but are poor sources of EFA and vitamin – E.

The five food group system can be used by health professionals for the following purposes:

  • Tool for nutritional assessment and screening: A brief dietary history system can disclose inadequacies of nutrients from any of the above group. The information can be the first clue for the possibility that the subject may be at risk of developing nutritional deficiency.

  • Tool for nutritional counseling: The dietary history based on the five food group system allows a health team to counsel or teach a patient about nutrition.

  • Explaining therapeutic diets to the patient: Therapeutic diets are scientifically based on nutrient composition and groups which can be used in menu planning.

  • Food labeling and surveillance system: Food groups can be used for food labeling and for nutrition surveillance system.

Last modified: Friday, 3 February 2012, 2:08 PM