Sort by
Sort by

Caribbean Six Food Groups

Helping kids understand balanced meals
Managing Diet

If we leave it to kids, they may choose to have their single favourite food for every meal. This can be problematic, as a mix of the 6 food groups is an integral part of healthy eating and well-being. So, it’s important that we teach them about the principles of variety, moderation and balance at a young age. We can take the time to explain to them the 6 Caribbean Food Groups.

Helping them understand the different food groups is the best way to start encouraging them to have balanced meals. The 6 Caribbean Food Groups outline the main food groups that we need to incorporate in our day to day diet, along with the guidance of how much of each group is needed to keep us healthy.

Applying the multi-mix approach when creating meals, is the best way to give children the nutrients they need for their bodies to function at their full capacity. The nutrients help them avoid nutrient deficiencies and non-communicable diseases like diabetes and hypertension.  

Take the time to explain to children the different food groups. Share with them the benefits of the foods that belongs to each group. This gives them a solid foundation to lead a healthy and fulfilled life.

Staples - Go Foods!

Staples provide us with energy to do all our work and to play! They are rich in carbohydrates, fibre, sodium, potassium and other vitamins and minerals. Examples:

(a)    Whole Grains: Bread (from whole grain or enriched flour), wheat flour, corn (maize), cornmeal, dried cereals, pasta, brown rice, porridges.

(b)   Starchy fruits, roots, tubers/ground provision: banana, plantain, breadfruit, eddoes, dasheen, cassava, yam, potato  

Recommended Serving Size (for kids):  4 or less servings per day

Vegetables- Glow Foods!

Vegetables help keep our eyes sparkling, our hair shiny and our skin glowing. They provide us with the fibre we need for digestion. They are rich in vitamins like Vitamin A and E, and minerals like magnesium potassium and calcium. Vegetables are a great way to eliminate fat and strengthen the body’s defences.


Vegetables: carrot, patchoi, dasheen leaves/ callaloo, lettuce, pumpkin, peppers, squash, eggplant and string beans

Recommended Serving Size (for kids):  2 servings per day

Fruits - Glow Foods!

Fruits also help keep our eyes sparkling, our hair shiny and our skin glowing. They are a delicious way to add a variety of vitamins and minerals to the body. They have a natural sweetness that kids will enjoy whilst benefiting from vitamins like vitamin C, A and E and, minerals like potassium and iron – which help build up the immune system.  


Fruits: oranges, grapefruits, plums, melon, papaya, apple, pommecythere, tamarind, guava, west indian cherry, sugar apple/sweet sop

Recommended Serving Size:  2 servings per day

Legumes- Grow Foods!

Legumes provide us with energy and help us build strong bones, muscles and tissue. They are a rich source of proteins, healthy fibres, B-group vitamins, iron folate, potassium and magnesium.


(a)    Dried peas and beans: kidney beans, lentils, pigeon peas, black-eyed peas and chick peas

(b)     Nuts: peanuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios and brazil nuts

(c)    Seeds: sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds and flax seed or linseed

Recommended Serving Size (for kids):  1 serving per day

Foods from Animals- Grow Foods!

Food from animals helps us build strong bones, teeth and tissue. They are rich in minerals like proteins, calcium, iron and sodium and they are a great source for vitamins A, B, D and E  


Food from Animals: chicken, fish, milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, liver

Recommended Serving Size:  3 servings per day

Fats and Oils - Go Foods

Fats and oils also provide us with energy to do all our work and to play. The key to healthy fats is in the preparation, sources and moderation. Therefore, there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats.  

Unhealthy fats are those that increase your risk of developing diseases of the heart and becoming overweight – the intake of these should be limited. Healthy fats help in the absorption of certain vitamins. They even include Omega 3 and 6, which has many health benefits including improving heart health and lowering the risk of heart disease.


(a)    Healthy fats: found in olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocado, olives, oily fish (e.g. trout, tuna, salmon and sardines), seeds and grains.

(b)    Unhealthy fats: found in in red meats, butter, processed meats, whole milk products, fast foods, coconut oil and palm oil. (You should therefore limit intake with these foods)

Recommended Serving Size (for kids):  1 serving  per day

 All food groups are important and have their own health benefits. Having a varied diet with food from all the food groups is the best way to get the nutrients needed for your body to thrive. So, when you are planning meals for kids, be sure to have a wide selection of these food groups in the correct portions.

TIP: Challenge kids the next time you go to the grocery store by letting them identify foods that belong to a certain food group.


Below you can download exercises to do with kids to help them learn more about healthy eating. They can be printed or used in your favourite art or drawing app.


Fruit and vegetable challenge
Snacking smart
Where does food go?
What can a label tell you?
Explorer's Card

Snacking smart
What can a label tell you?