Last week, we recapped the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The new edition is very similar to older versions. The most significant change is a new limit on added sugar to less than 10% of calories. We’ve encouraged people to cut back for years, but are happy to finally see an official recommendation. Although the Dietary Guidelines have been describing healthy eating patterns for Americans since the 1980s, we still are having a tough time meeting them.
- Less than 1 in 10 Americans eat enough fruits and veggies.
- Few people are getting enough low-fat or fat-free dairy.
- Most people eat too much saturated fat and not enough oils.
- Less than half of Americans are eating enough grains and most of their grains are not whole grains.
- Most people eat too much sodium (salt) and added sugars.
The authors of the new Dietary Guidelines looked at these trends and decided to include “shifts” to help people better meet the recommendations. These shifts to more nutrient-dense foods from each food group include:
- Choose vegetables in place of higher calorie snacks
- Change the proportion of vegetables to high fat meats or refined grains in recipes.
- Make vegetables or salads a side dish in most meals and snacks.
- Eat whole fruit instead of fruit juice (even 100% juice!) and fruity desserts.
- Choose fruits in place of higher calorie snacks.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit instead of sugary desserts made with refined grains.
- Choose whole grain versions of your favorite bread, pasta, crackers or snacks.
- Cut back on grain-based desserts (cake, cookies, etc.). Try fruit instead.
- Make more nutrient-dense snack choices – like switching to whole grain popcorn instead of chips.
- Move to low-fat (1%) and fat-free (skim) milk and yogurt.
- Choose milk and yogurt as your dairy options instead of cheese to limit saturated fat and sodium.
- Adding fruit to plain yogurt for sweetness can help you cut back on added sugar.
- Vary your protein choices by choosing plant-based proteins (beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds) in place of animal protein a few meals a week.
- Be sure to get two servings of seafood each week.
- Cut back on processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, lunch meats, etc.) to reduce sodium.
- Switch to the best fats for cooking in place of butter or shortening to reduce saturated fat.
- Choose lean meats, nuts, or seafood to reduce saturated fat.
- Read Nutrition Facts labels and ingredient lists to avoid trans fat.
MyPlate has started a fun hashtag to help encourage more people to make these shifts, what they’re calling #MyPlateMyWins. The tips and resources they’ve developed can help you make small, realistic changes that over time help you reach a healthy eating pattern. My Wins are choices that you and your family make to eat more like MyPlate in ways that fit your unique tastes and lifestyle. Because everything you eat and drink matters. The right mix can help you be healthier now and into the future.
Find your MyWins and share them with us! Use the #MyPlateMyWins on social media or share in the comments. You can also share your story here and have your tips featured on the MyPlate website!