Every five years the United States Department of Health and Human Services comes out with a new set of dietary guidelines that is developed through a collection of different surveys research, and studies.
The original set of guidelines can be found here.
In addition to that, over the past 25 years obesity rates have continued to rise, with 65% of females being overweight or obese, and 73% of males being overweight or obese.
However Obesity and Chronic diseases are preventable because they relate to our lifestyle; our eating habits and the amount of physical activity we do.
There are three types of eating patterns: Healthy U.S. Style Eating Pattern, Healthy Mediterranean Style Eating, and Healthy Vegetarian Eating Pattern.
Here are some tips for better eating:
Some of the ways you can increase your food choices in each food group:
- Increase your vegetable content in mixed dishes instead of using refined grains or meats
- Incorporate vegetables in most meals and snacks
- Select more whole fruits as snacks, desserts, and side dishes
- Incorporate whole fruits in salads and as part of most meals
- Select whole fruits over dried fruits to avoid added sugars
- If selecting frozen or canned fruits be sure that there is no added sugar
- Switch from refined pastas, breads, and rice to unrefined, whole grain
- Pay attention to the ingredient list; look for whole grain listed as one of the first ingredients
- Cut back on refined snacks and desserts; in other words junk foods & processed foods
- Make easy swaps: choose an English muffin vs. biscuit
- Select cheese that is low in fat
- Choose yogurt as a snack or incorporate plain yogurt or Greek yogurt as an ingredient substitute to ricotta cheese or sour cream
- Drink fat-free or low-fat milk
- Currently teen boys and adult men consume too much meat, poultry, and eggs. Should focus on decreasing overall intake
- Incorporate other forms of protein into diet: nuts, seeds, and legumes
- Select nutrient dense options of protein; lean and lower in sodium
- Use oils vs. solid fats (butter, lard, margarine)
- Choose dressings and spreads made with oil
- Consume oils within foods: avocados, nuts, and seeds
- Be mindful that coconut oil and palm oil are considered saturated fats because they are a solid at room temperature
Some ways you can decrease your food choices in each food group:
- Select no sugar added beverages (juice, soda, etc.)
- Select no sugar added frozen and canned fruit
- Replace refined desserts with whole fruit
- Read the food label, if the saturated fat has more than 10% of RDA it is too much
- Look for foods that have a higher content of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats
- Select fat-free or low-fat dairy
- Select leaner cuts of meat and poultry
- Prepare foods in polyunsaturated fats (oils as described above)
- All Americans currently consume too much sodium; on average women consume 2,980 mg per day and men 4,240 mg per day – the recommendation is 2,500 mg per day for both genders
- Look for the amount of sodium on the food label
- Cook fresh from home more often and include herbs for seasoning
- processed foods, fast foods, restaurant foods often are packed with additional salt and seasonings
- select “no salt added” frozen and canned produce
- Avoid “instant” packages: sauces, mixes, rice, pastas etc.