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Archive for April 5th, 2011

With showers playing peek-a-boo and days yielding to warm sunshine, thoughts turn to fresh starts, whether a facelift for the house or seedlings in the garden. Maybe it’s time, also, to take a fresh look at diet. Dull, dreary days of winter begged for hearty soups and nourishing root vegetables. Spring’s arrival calls for light, healthy, and refreshing foods to stimulate the palette.

Think color. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010, fruits, vegetables, whole grain breads and pasta, lean meats, fish and poultry, and low-fat milk and dairy products create a rainbow of colors to form the foundation for healthful eating.

Access the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010,  released on January 31, 2011, at http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/PolicyDoc/PolicyDoc.pdf  They will be available in booklet form after April 27, 2011.   

Mandated by law and updated every five years, the current Dietary Guidelines focus on helping consumers cut calories, make informed choices, and stay physically active. Design of the Dietary Guidelines accommodates varied food preferences, cultural traditions, and customs of diverse populations.

Past guidelines focused on recommendations for healthy Americans aged two years and older. With continuing concerns about health, the current guidelines incorporate Americans aged two and older and include those at increased risk for chronic disease.

Key recommendations in the new Dietary Guidelines include:

  • Balancing Calories to Manage Weight. With two-thirds of the population obese or overweight, most Americans haven’t learned to balance caloric intake with physical activity to maintain proper weight for optimum health.
  • Foods and Food Components to Reduce. The American diet tends to include excessive amounts of salt, added sugars, saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, and refined foods that cause or exacerbate chronic diseases.
  • Foods and Nutrients to Increase. Appropriate nutrients and food selections help individuals maintain a healthy eating pattern within their caloric needs.
  • Building Healthy Eating Patterns.  This last recommendation guides consumers in meeting nutrient needs and educates the public about safe food preparation and storage to reduce incidences of foodborne illness.

To help you and your family stay healthy, follow the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. Check this blog for the next few weeks to learn more about applying the above recommendations.

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