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  • Writer's pictureThe Dietitian

A Resource for Your Plate

The dietary guidelines put out by the US government come out every 5 years. The reports began in 1990. The dietary guidelines were started as a public health initiative. They were and are developed for health professionals and policymakers who implement and design nutrition programs. The guidelines provide the most up to date scientific research available. There have been some changes over the years for instance deficiencies of essential nutrients have decreased. And the guidelines have expanded their viewpoint from focusing on individual food groups and nutrients to a more broad perspective in looking at dietary patterns. But commonalities do persist: eat your fruits and vegetables, include variety from all food groups, consume adequate low fat dairy products and limit your added fats and sugars.

Key points of the new guidelines:

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables, focusing on whole fruits and varying your veggies

Make half your grains whole grains

Move to low fat and fat free milk or yogurt

Vary your protein routine

Decrease your sodium, saturated fat and added sugars.

For years the visual image of the recommendations was represented as a pyramid, then we moved to the staircase and as of current the guidelines are in the shape of a plate. Using the plate method to show what a meal should look like is a great way to have a visual guide of how to fill your plate. I have yet to find a plate in the shape of a pyramid. If you would like to view the dietary guidelines in full, I’ve put the link below

There is no one food out there that is best for you. Our diets must consist of a variety of foods from all food groups in order to provide the appropriate nutrients in the necessary amounts we need to live a healthy life. Many times this season I have focused on a key nutrient or a single food item, but please know it is the variety in the diet that provides the most benefit. Utilizing sources such as the government guidelines can help lead you to important nutrition recommendations. Of course, also visiting with your local dietitian helps too.

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