In January 2011, new healthy eating guidelines were released by the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS). They provide authoritative advice for Americans ages 2 and older about consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices, and being physically active to attain and maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk of chronic disease, and promote overall health.
Build a Healthy Plate
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Eat red, orange, and dark-green vegetables, such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, in main and side dishes.
- Eat fruit, vegetables, or unsalted nuts as snacks—they are nature’s original fast foods.
Switch to skim or 1% milk.
- They have the same amount of calcium and other essential nutrients as whole milk, but less fat and calories.
- Try calcium-fortified soy products as an alternative to dairy foods.
Make at least half your grains whole.
- Choose 100% whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, and pasta.
- Check the ingredients list on food packages to find whole-grain foods.
Vary your protein food choices.
- Twice a week, make seafood the protein on your plate.
- Eat beans, which are a natural
source of fiber and protein.
Keep meat and poultry portions small and lean.
Cut back on foods high in solid fats, added sugars, and salt
Choose foods and drinks with little or no added sugars.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks. There are about 10 packets of sugar in a 12-ounce can of soda.
- Select fruit for dessert. Eat sugary desserts less often.
- Choose 100% fruit juice instead of fruit-flavored drinks.
Look out for salt (sodium) in foods you buy -- it all adds up.
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals—and choose the foods with lower numbers.
- Add spices or herbs to season food without adding salt.
Eat fewer foods that are high in solid fats.
- Make major sources of saturated fats—such as cakes, cookies, ice cream, pizza, cheese, sausages, and hot dogs—occasional choices, not everyday foods.
- Select lean cuts of meats or poultry and fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.
- Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food.
Eat the right amount of calories for you
Enjoy your food, but eat less.
- Get your personal daily calorie limit at www.ChooseMyPlate
.gov and keep that number in mind when deciding what to eat.
Think before you eat…is it worth the calories?
- Avoid oversized portions.
- Use a smaller plate, bowl, and glass.
- Stop eating when you are satisfied, not full.
Cook more often at home, where you are in control of what's in your food.
- When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options.
- Check posted calorie amounts.
- Choose dishes that include vegetables, fruits, and/or whole grains.
- Order a smaller portion or share when eating out.
Write down what you eat to keep track of how much you eat. (Create a free, personal journal on this site to track your calories in and out by clicking here: My Journal)
If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so sensibly—limit to 1 drink a day for women or to 2 drinks a day for men.
This information is provided by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Learn more at http://www.choosemyplate.gov or print this handy brochure that outlines the recommendations.