Make Every Bite Count! New Dietary Guidelines Are Out

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Dietary Guidelines

With 2020 behind us and 2021 just starting, it is a good time to take a look at the newest Dietary Guidelines, released at the end of December. The USDA is taking a new approach with its guidelines this time. Its framework purposely provides recommendations by food groups and subgroups—not specific foods and beverages so that people can “make it their own” by selecting healthy foods, beverages, meals, and snacks specific to their needs and preferences.

There are 4 overarching Guidelines in the 2020-2025 edition:

  • Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.
  • Customize and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations.
  • Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and stay within calorie limits.
  • Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages.

There are 3 Key Dietary Principles that can help people achieve the Dietary Guidelines. To help improve Americans’ eating patterns, the Dietary Guidelines suggests:

  • Meet nutritional needs primarily from foods and beverages.
  • Choose a variety of options from each food group.
  • Pay attention to portion size.

These Dietary Guidelines are about the pattern of eating, not just healthy choices here and there. The Dietary Guidelines focuses on the combination of foods and beverages that make up an individual’s whole diet over time, and not just single foods or eating occasions in isolation. Research shows that the ongoing pattern of an individual’s eating habits has the greatest impact on their health.

There are many newly created support tools and apps at the MyPlate site. The site has support for recipes and a site for  MyPlate Kitchen, with videos and other resources. There is more focus on support of the guidelines across various ages, cultures, and ways of eating so that more people are able to follow them.

So take some time to look through the new Dietary Guidelines and see what is new and improved for 2021.