Shift to healthy eating patterns

Tips on incorporating the 2015 Dietary Guidelines into your diet.

Happy New Year! A New Year resolution of maintaining a healthy weight is often very popular. Well, there is great news—The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is out! As indicated in the name, this document plays an important role in guiding people in the U.S. to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Michigan State University Extension offer you the following tips on adopting a healthy eating pattern.

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables

Foods from different food groups contain various nutrients, which are important to promote health. For example, many fruits provide vitamin C, potassium and dietary fiber. Vegetables from different subgroups provide different nutrients. For example, dark-green vegetables provide the most vitamin K and legumes provide the most dietary fiber. Research also shows that consuming an appropriate mix and amount of foods from various food groups is associated with positive health outcomes.

Select foods in their nutrient-dense forms

Food choices matter. Nutrient-dense foods are foods that provide high levels of nutrients while containing relatively few calories. For example, whole grain products provide more nutrients than refined grain products, including dietary fiber, iron, manganese, folate, zinc, magnesium, copper, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, selenium, riboflavin and vitamin A. Another example is food products with added sugars or salt, such as salted peanuts vs. unsalted peanuts. The USDA and MSU Extension recommend meeting your daily nutrient needs primarily through nutrient-dense foods.

Adapt a healthy eating pattern based on your preference

There is more than one healthy eating pattern for you to implement in your life, examples include the Mediterranean -Style eating pattern and Vegetarian eating pattern. Details of these two eating patterns can be found on the USDA website. Again, one size can’t fit all. Only when you find a healthy eating pattern that you feel comfortable with, will to feel easier and require less work for you to establish a healthier lifestyle.  

MSU Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating and food safety. For more health and nutrition tips, visit Michigan State University Extension.    

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