Eliza-Infographic-1-17-16-mksHave you been keeping up with all the buzz about the newly released 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans?

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The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (8th edition) are developed every five years. They are geared towards American consumers, healthcare professionals and institutions and are intended to serve as the guide for designing a healthy diet.

The guidelines strive to be based on the most conclusive evidence-based science and comprehensive findings. A large panel of nutrition science experts form the Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee (DGAC) who review the research and make recommendations in a very inclusive report. Unfortunately this time around, some major points and advice from the DGAC were ignored and overlooked, and did not make it into the 2015 guidelines.

The nuts and bolts of the dietary guidelines have not changed dramatically from the past versions. Let’s break down the basics, the guidelines state:

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Monique’s Translation: A healthy pattern is going to be one that is nutrient-dense (lots of nutrients versus calories, energy-dense, which may be converted or stored as fat easier) most of the time meeting your individual needs.

What it means for you and your family’s plate: Be sure to include

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, 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
  • Oils (like safflower, non-GMO canola, and olive oil)

2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.

Monique’s Translation: Refer to translation #1!

3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.

Monique’s Translation: Choose to make soda, sweet tea, juice, chips, cookies, desserts, processed foods, convenient and fast-foods more of a treat and no longer a daily staple or a part of every meal. Remember these foods have less nutrients that are beneficial and more ingredients that are less than helpful and could be harmful to your health.

4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.

Monique’s Translation: See translation #3

5. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.

Monique’s Translation: It is everyone’s responsibility to support an environment where healthy food is accessible, affordable, to educate on cooking skills, health concerns related to inadequate nutrition and ways to support one anothers’ health. It is food manufacturers, restaurants, schools, hospitals, healthcare professionals, governing bodies, organizations, recreational facilities, towns, cities, states, farmers, stores, social venues, churches, and each and every individual.