Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020





Have you heard?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture have released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which emphasizes the importance of a healthy eating style in reducing the risk of chronic diseases.  The Dietary Guidelines provides food-based recommendations for people ages two years and older.

How are the Dietary Guidelines used?
The guidelines form the basis for all federal nutrition policies and serve as a reference for health professionals throughout the country to help Americans make healthy food and beverage choices.

What is new in the 2015-2020 Version of the Dietary Guidelines?
The latest version of the guidelines shows the importance of focusing on the variety of what foods people eat and drink, not on individuals nutrients or individual food items.  The guidelines provide individuals with the ways to make healthy food choices that are right for them and their families and take advantage of the variety of products available while focusing on small shifts in what they eat. 

What are the five main Guidelines?
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines provides five main guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns.  Individuals will need to make shifts in their food and beverage choices to achieve a healthy pattern and realize that everyone will play a role in supporting food choices;
  1.  Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.  A healthy eating pattern includes a variety of nutritious foods from the MyPlate food groups while limiting saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and sodium.  A healthy eating pattern can take into account a person's taste preferences, traditions, culture, and budget.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount.  Food choices should focus on nutrient-dense foods across and within all MyPlate food groups in recommended amounts.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.  Visit Choose MyPlate to learn more about added sugars, which are sugars and syrups added to foods or beverages when they are processed or prepared.  The Nutrition Facts label can be used to check for saturated fats in products, which include butter, whole milk, meats not labeled as lean and coconut and palm oils.  It is also a useful tool to check for sodium in foods, especially in processed foods like pizza, pasta dishes, sauces, and soups.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.  Nutrient-dense foods are those which are a good source of essential nutrients.  When foods are good or excellent sources of multiple vitamins and minerals, they are considered to be more nutrient-dense.  By focusing on small shifts in what we eat and drink, healthy eating becomes more manageable.
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all.  Everyone has a role in helping to create and support  healthy eating patterns in a variety of settings across the country from home to school to work to communities. 
What is a healthy eating pattern?
Eating patterns are the combination of all foods and drinks that a person consumes over time.  A healthy eating pattern includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, especially whole fruits; at least half of which are whole grains; fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese and/or fortified soy beverages; a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats, and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas) and nuts, seeds and soy products and oils.

How can I plan a healthy eating pattern for myself and for my family?
Is is easy to create and maintain a healthy eating pattern especially when you make small changes from your usual eating plan.  It is important to make changes or shifts from current less healthy choices to nutrient-dense foods and beverages rather than increasing overall intake.

Use the MyPlate building blocks to help plan a healthy eating pattern for yourself and your family. .

Remember to limit foods that contain large quantities of sodium, saturated fats and added sugar.

Physical activity is included in the Dietary Guidelines!
Regular physical activity is one of the most important things individuals and families can do to improve their health.  To find ways to easily increase the amount of time you and your family can be physically active every day visit:  http://eatsmart.umd.edu/physical-activity/active-families
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
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1 comment

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This institution is an equal opportunity provider. This material was funded by USDA's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP. The University of Maryland Extension will not discriminate against any person because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry or national origin, marital status, genetic information, political affiliation, and gender identity or expression. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition assistance to people with low income. It can help you buy nutritious foods for a better diet. To find out more about Maryland’s Food Supplement Program (SNAP), contact the Maryland Department of Human Resources at 1-800-332-6347 or apply online at https://mydhrbenefits.dhr.state.md.us/.
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