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Our pages are created to provide medically accurate information that is intended to complement, not replace or substitute in any way the services of your physician. Any application of the recommendations set forth in the following pages is at the reader's discretion and sole risk. Before undergoing medical treatment, you should consult with your doctor, who can best assess your individual needs, symptoms and treatment. 

TABLE 1. Sample USDA Food Guide and the DASH Eating Plan at the 2,000-Calorie Levela

Amounts of various food groups that are recommended each day or each week in the USDA Food Guide and in the DASH Eating Plan (amounts are daily unless otherwise specified) at the 2,000-calorie level. Also identified are equivalent amounts for different food choices in each group. To follow either eating pattern, food choices over time should provide these amounts of food from each group on average.

Note: Table updated to reflect 2006 DASH Eating Plan.

Food Groups and Subgroups

USDA Food Guide Amountb

DASH Eating Plan Amount

Equivalent Amounts

Fruit Group

2 cups (4 servings)

2 to 2.5 cups
(4 to 5 servings)

½ cup equivalent is:

·  ½ cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit

·  1 med fruit

·  ¼ cup dried fruit

·  ½ cup fruit juice

Vegetable Group

·  Dark green vegetables

·  Orange vegetables

·  Legumes (dry beans)

·  Starchy vegetables

·  Other vegetables

2.5 cups (5 servings)
3 cups/week
2 cups/week
3 cups/week
3 cups/week
6.5 cups/week

2 to 2.5 cups
(4 to 5 servings)

½ cup equivalent is:

·  ½ cup of cut-up raw or cooked vegetable

·  1 cup raw leafy vegetable

·  ½ cup vegetable juice

Grain Group

·  Whole grains

·  Other grains

6 ounce-equivalents
3 ounce-equivalents
3 ounce-equivalents

6 to 8 ounce-equivalents
(6 to 8 servingsc)

1 ounce-equivalent is:

·  1 slice bread

·  1 cup dry cereal

·  ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, cereal

·  DASH: 1 oz dry cereal (½-1¼ cup depending on cereal type—check label)

Meat and Beans Group

5.5 ounce-equivalents

6 ounces or less meats, poultry, fish 

1 ounce-equivalent is:

·  1 ounce of cooked lean meats, poultry, fish

·  1 egge

·  USDA: ¼  cup cooked dry beans or tofu, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, ½ oz nuts or seeds

·  DASH: 1½ oz nuts, 2 Tbsp peanut butter, ½ oz seeds, ½ cup cooked dry beans 



4 to 5 servings per week nuts, seeds, and legumesd

Milk Group

3 cups

2 to 3 cups

1 cup equivalent is:

·  1 cup low-fat/fat-free milk, yogurt

·  1½ oz of low-fat, fat-free, or reduced fat natural cheese

·   2 oz of low-fat or fat-free processed cheese


27 grams (6 tsp)

8 to 12 grams (2 to 3 tsp)

DASH: 1 tsp equivalent is:

·  1 tsp soft margarine

·  1 Tbsp low-fat mayo

·  2 Tbsp light salad dressing

·  1 tsp vegetable oil

Discretionary Calorie Allowance

·  Example of distribution:
       Solid fatf
       Added sugars

267 calories

18 grams
8 tsp

~2 tsp of added sugar (5 Tbsp per week)

DASH: 1 Tbsp added sugar equivalent is:

·  1 Tbsp jelly or jam

·  ½ cup sorbet and ices

·  1 cup lemonade

a All servings are per day unless otherwise noted. USDA vegetable subgroup amounts and amounts of DASH nuts, seeds, and dry beans are per week.

b The 2,000-calorie USDA Food Guide is appropriate for many sedentary males 51 to 70 years of age, sedentary females 19 to 30 years of age, and for some other gender/age groups who are more physically active. See table 3 for information about gender/age/activity levels and appropriate calorie intakes.

c Whole grains are recommended for most grain servings to meet fiber recommendations.

d In the DASH Eating Plan, nuts, seeds, and legumes are a separate food group from meats, poultry, and fish.

e Since eggs are high in cholesterol, limit egg yolk intake to no more than 4 per week; 2 egg whites have the same protein content as 1 oz of meat.

f The oils listed in this table are not considered to be part of discretionary calories because they are a major source of the vitamin E and polyunsaturated fatty acids, including the essential fatty acids, in the food pattern. In contrast, solid fats (i.e., saturated and trans fats) are listed separately as a source of discretionary calories.