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Dietary Guidelines

Happy New Year! If eating healthy is one of your New Year resolutions, then use the New 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help you get started and to become more mindful about what you eat.

What are the Dietary Guidelines?

Every 5 years a new edition is jointly published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal is to make evidence based recommendations with clear guidance for individuals to enhance eating and physical activity patterns. It has evolved to allow Americans to choose foods that provide a healthy and enjoyable diet.

How to get started?

  1. Start with small changes. You’re more then likely to stay on track throughout the year. It becomes more manageable to incorporate changes over the course of the week, daily, or even a meal.
  2. Follow an eating pattern that accounts for nutrient dense foods across all food groups. Guidelines suggest it will help maintain a healthy body weight, help prevent nutrient deficiencies, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. When preparing meals, include:
    • Variety of colorful vegetables that include dark greens, red and orange, legumes, starchy, and others
    • Fruits, especially whole fruits
    • Whole- grains
    • Fat free or low fat dairy foods and beverages
    • Variety of protein foods that icludes seafood, lean meats, poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy products
    • Don’t forget about oils. Try canola, corn, olive, peanut, soybean, and sunflower oils when preparing foods. Oils are also found in avocado, nuts, and seafood.
  3. Remember to limit:
    • Added sugar to less than 10% of total calories per day
    • Saturated fat to less than 10% of calories per day
    • Sodium to less than 2300 milligrams (mg) day
    • Alcohol (if consumed)- one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men
    • Consume little dietary cholesterol as possible while following a healthy eating pattern
  1. Do not forget to combine healthy eating with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans that state “adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity and should perform muscle-strengthening exercises on 2 or more days each week.”

What do I like about the new 2015 Dietary Guidelines?

1) It has shifted its focus away from consuming individual nutrients to a practical way we eat. That is “foods and beverages in combination.” It suggests “an eating pattern may be more predictive of overall health status and disease risk than individual foods or nutrients.”

2) The guidelines also acknowledge the Mediterranean-Style and Vegetarian-Style Eating Patterns. One style does not fit all and it’s important to consider personal preference and cultural backgrounds. The eating patterns can all be used as an adaptive framework that can fit together a healthy diet in many different ways.

3) There is no longer a 300-milligram (mg) per day limit on cholesterol. Many factors affect blood cholesterol such as physical activity, body weight, and intake of saturated and trans fat, and heredity. Eggs are a whole food source of nutrition and are now being seen in a new light.

Remember to think of a “diet” as a way to nourish your body and eat more of what’s good for you.

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