It’s a great time to learn more about starting a healthy eating pattern! Every five years, new Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) are developed. These guidelines are based upon the most recent nutrition science. Following the DGA can help you stay well and prevent chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease, that affect about half of American adults.

Put your best fork forward

2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommendations

                                                                        · Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan

                                                                        · Focus on variety, nutrient density and portion

                                                                        · Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake

                                                                        · Shift to healthier food and beverage choices

                                                                        · Support healthy eating patterns for all

Puzzle Plate

Several of the guidelines focus on healthy eating patterns. Understanding the meaning of “healthy eating pattern” is important – it includes all aspects of your diet like which foods and drinks, in what combination, how much, and how often. Eating patterns are very personal, and are based on each individual’s preferences and culture.

A healthy eating pattern includes:

                                                                                      ·  A variety of colorful vegetables

                                                                                      ·  Fruits, including mostly whole fruits

                                                                                      ·  Grains, at least half of your grain intake should be whole grain

                                                                                      · Low-fat or fat-free dairy or fortified soy beverage

                                                                                      · A variety of protein foods, including lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, seafood, and                                                                                                  soy foods

                                                                                      · Healthy oils

A healthy eating pattern also limits unhealthy fats, added sugar, and sodium. ChooseMyPlate is a great illustration for a healthy eating pattern.

Choose My Plate

Even small changes to an eating pattern, or “shifts,” can help you improve your health. Here are some recommendations:

                                                                            · Use more vegetables in mixed dishes, like casseroles and stews

                                                                            · Eat seafood twice a week in place of meat, poultry, or eggs

                                                                            · Use vegetable oil, instead of butter or lard

                                                                            · Drink beverages without added sugar, like water

                                                                            · Find lower sodium foods by comparing the Nutrition Facts label of like items

High calorie snacks versus Nutrient-dense snacks


To learn more about healthy eating patterns and easy food and drink shifts, check out: