Nutritious foods are those that promote health and growth.

Fruits and vegetables are great sources of nutrients –
but only 1 in 10 Americans eat enough of them!

One way to think about a good eating pattern is by looking at the USDA Choose My Plate method. It shows what a plate should look like at every meal. The foods mentioned below are considered nutritious because they contain vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats and proteins to create balanced meals.​

Try following these recommendations to become one of the 1 in 10! Or click here to visit the Eating Well website and see the information below in picture form.


Recommended Servings: 3-6 ounces a day (at least half of your servings should come from whole grains)

Grains can come in a lot of different forms and include foods made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley or another cereal grain. Montana is famous for the grains grown here, particularly wheat! Other examples of Montana-grown grains include:

  • Bulgar
  • Bread, pasta, and tortillas made from Montana wheat
  • Barley

Other whole grains:

  • Oatmeal
  • Brown Rice
  • Quinoa


Recommended Servings: 3-5 cups a day

The recommendation is at least 3-5 cups a day, but there is always room for more! When it comes to veggies, the more the merrier. Luckily, there are tons of varieties of vegetables grown in Montana. Here is a sample:

Leafy Greens:

  • Spinach, Kale, Collard greens, Swiss Chard, Salad greens of all kinds

Starchy Vegetables:

  • Squash (zucchini and winter squash), Corn, Potatoes


  • Peppers, Onions. Cucumber, Celery, Carrots, Cabbage, Beets


Recommended Servings: 2-3 cups a day

This could include a small apple, half a banana, or one cup of grapes. There are many fruits grown in Montana that are available at farmers markets or in grocery stores. Some examples are:

  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Melons
  • Peaches
  • Plums
  • Strawberries


Recommended Servings: 2-5 ounces a day

Protein needs increase when physical activity is increased. Lean meats contain less saturated fat, a type of fat that can be harmful to our hearts. Lean meats include beef tenderloin or sirloin, 95% lean ground beef, pork chops with trimmed fat, poultry and fish. Plant sources of protein contain healthy fats and fiber, including nuts and seeds.

Montanans are lucky because we can support local producers in all of the major food groups! Here is a list of some Montana-raised protein sources:


  • Beef; Pork, Eggs, Cheese, Milk


  • Beans (chickpea, pinto), Lentils

Health Beverages

Water is always a healthy choice. Adults should be getting at least 8 cups of water a day. 

Low fat milk is also a healthy beverage, but we do not need to exceed more that 20 ounces a day. 

Juice can be good source of vitamins and minerals, but also contains a lot of sugar and none of the fiber of real fruit. It is not advised that people consume more than 4 ounces of fruit juice a day.


Snacks can be included in a healthy meal plan and do not need to look like the My-Plate graphic. However, it is important to follow the guidelines for a healthy eating pattern, like using whole grains and low fat milk. Here are some healthy snack ideas:

  • ANY whole fruits
  • Any raw vegetables
  • Apples or celery with nut butter
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Unsalted nuts and dried fruit
  • Yogurt and granola