The latest recommendations from the US government for healthy eating can be found in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines are updated every five years with the goal of providing nutrition information and recommendations to American consumers and to assist in health policies.
With the ongoing obesity crisis, the Dietary Guidelines recognize that there are various ways to achieve a healthy diet and lifestyle. Importantly, the evidence shows that small steps count and it’s important to focus on our overall diet rather than specific nutrients! So what can each one of us do to achieve a more healthy diet and lifestyle?
Healthy lifestyles and patterns are important throughout life. Therefore, it is important to consider the foods and beverages you consume and your physical activity throughout life. Most Americans have room for improvement and it’s never too late to start those small changes which can make an impact on our health.
Rather than focusing on specific nutrients, it’s important to know that there are a variety of ways to eat healthy. Particular attention to incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods into your diet and avoiding overconsumption should help you reach your goals.
One of the specific recommendations in the guidelines is to limit added sugars. This recommendation is easy to achieve as there are a wide variety of foods and beverages that are naturally sweet or are sweetened with low- and reduced- calorie sweeteners. Adding fruit to recipes can also be an easy way to add sweet taste and fiber, a nutrient which is lacking in many of our diets. Some recipes may also help you reduce the amount of saturated fat you are consuming. Here are some easy recipes to consider. The diet or light versions of foods and drinks can be an easy and great tasting way to reduce sugars while enjoying some of your favorite foods and beverages.
Improving your diet and adding some fun physical activity each day can help you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle. Start by setting reasonable and realistic goals that include small steps you can start taking immediately. If you need help with ideas, check out our Healthy Weight Tool Kit.
For more about the Guidelines, see Healthy Eating Update: 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans from Neva Cochran, MS, RDN, LD