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Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released new Dietary Guidelines for Americans to promote a healthier lifestyle.

 

Feel better today. Stay healthy for tomorrow.

The food and physical activity choices you make today and every day affect your health today, tomorrow, and in the future. Eating right and being physically active are not just a program or a “diet”, they are the keys to a healthy lifestyle. Developing healthy habits helps reduce the risk of many chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes and increases chances of living a longer life.

Make smart choices from every food group.

The best way to get balanced nutrition for your body is to eat a variety of nutrient-packed foods every day. Contact the RPS dietitian at nutrinfo@indiana.edu for questions concerning your individual calorie needs.

A good meal plan:

Tips for making smart choices when eating out or on the go:

Mix up your choices within each food group.

Find your balance between food and physical activity.

Exercise goes hand in hand with eating healthy. 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.

If you eat 100 more food calories a day than you burn, you’ll gain about 1 pound in a month. That’s about 10 pounds in a year.

Get the most nutrition out of your calories.

There is a right number of calories for you to eat each day. This number depends on your age, activity level, and whether you’re trying to gain, maintain, or lose weight. To find out your personal calorie level, contact the RPS dietitian at nutrinfo@indiana.edu.

You could use up the entire amount of allotted calories on a few high-calorie items like candy bars and fast food, but chances are, you’ll be hungry again later and you won’t get the full range of vitamins and minerals that your body needs to keep going and be healthy.

Choose the most nutritionally packed foods you can from each food group every day - those packed with vitamins, minerals and fibers - but lower in calories. Pick foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products more often.

For more information on the Food Guide Pyramid, visit the following website: www.mypyramid.gov

Most packaged foods have a Nutrition Facts Label. For a healthier you, use this tool to make smart food choices quickly and easily. Try these tips:

Check servings and calories. Look at the serving size and how many servings you are actually consuming. Especially on convenience items, where the serving size listed on the bag may not be what you consider a serving.

Make your calories count. Look at the calories on the label and compare them with what nutrients you are also getting to decide whether the food is worth eating. When one serving of a single food item has over 400 calories per serving, it is high in calories.

Don’t sugarcoat it. Since sugars contribute calories with few, if any, nutrients, look for foods and beverages low in added sugars. Some names for added sugars include sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup, and fructose.

Know your fats. Look for foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol to help reduce the risk of heart disease (5% DV is low, 20% DV or more is high). Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Keep total fat intake between 20-35% of calories.

Reduce sodium (salt), increase potassium. Research shows that eating less than 2,300 mg of sodium (around 1 tsp salt) per day may reduce the risk of high blood pressure. However, most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods, not from the salt shaker. Also, look for foods high in potassium, which counteracts some of sodium’s effects on blood pressure.

…use the label.

Nutrition Chart