Healthy Eating Guidelines
2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
The Dietary Guidelines, developed by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the United States Department of Agriculture, provide science-based advice to promote health and to reduce risk for major chronic diseases through diet and physical activity.
Food groups to encourage each day
- Focus on fruits. Eat a variety of fruits—whether fresh, frozen, canned, or dried—rather than fruit juice for most of your fruit choices. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you will need 2 cups of fruit each day (for example, 1 small banana, 1 large orange, and 1/4 cup of dried apricots or peaches).
- Vary your veggies. Eat more dark green veggies, such as broccoli, kale, and other dark leafy greens; orange veggies, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and winter squash; and beans and peas, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, garbanzo beans, split peas, and lentils.
- Get your calcium-rich foods. Get 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk—or an equivalent amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese (1½ ounces of cheese equals 1 cup of milk)—every day. For kids aged 2 to 8, the recommendation is 2 cups of milk per day. If you don't or can't consume milk, choose lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
- Make half your grains whole. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day. One ounce is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or ½ cup of cooked rice or pasta. Look to see that grains such as wheat, rice, oats, or corn are referred to as "whole" in the list of ingredients.
- Go lean with protein. Choose lean meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. And vary your protein choices—with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
Choose healthful fats
Fats are high in calories but necessary in our diets. Limit saturated and trans fats which are linked to heart disease. Avoid foods containing hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats.
Choose fats that are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as:
- Olive and canola oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Peanut butter
Sodium and Potassium
Choose and prepare foods with little salt and consume potassium rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.
If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Moderate drinking means up to 1 drink a day for women and up to 2 drinks for men. Twelve ounces of regular beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1½ ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits count as a drink for purposes of explaining moderation. Remember that alcoholic beverages have calories but are low in nutritional value.
Find your balance between food and physical activity
Regular physical activity is important for your overall health and fitness. It also helps you control body weight by balancing the calories you take in as food with the calories you expend each day.
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.
- Increasing the intensity or the amount of time that you are physically active can have even greater health benefits and may be needed to control body weight. About 60 minutes a day may be needed to prevent weight gain.
- Children and teenagers should be physically active for 60 minutes every day, or most every day.
For more information about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans see http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/