With the recent release of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans comes the perfect opportunity to think about how the way we eat impacts the way we feel. The guidelines don’t talk about dieting, weight-loss or depriving ourselves of the foods we love. Rather, they emphasize the cumulative effects of eating patterns over time, and state, “Eating patterns are related to health,” that it is “not about one food or nutrient,” and that “the goal of the Dietary Guidelines is for individuals throughout all stages of the lifespan to have eating patterns that promote overall health and help prevent chronic disease.”
So how does a pattern develop? By doing the same things or making the same choices over and over again. And how can your eating pattern become healthier? By changing what you do, even just a little. When it comes to nutrition, chances are your eating pattern already includes healthy elements. You may simply need to tweak what you eat to create a healthier you.
According to the guidelines, a healthy eating pattern includes:
- A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups — dark green, red, and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
- Fruits, especially whole fruits
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
- A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
The guidelines also note that a healthy eating pattern limits:
- Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, sodium, and alcohol
There’s no time like the present to adjust your eating pattern.
It just takes a little thought to make a few new choices.
Our executive chef and staff at Village at Proprietors Green can help. Choosing a piece of fruit over a sugary snack, sampling vegetables you’ve never tried before, being mindful about the number of salty foods eaten daily, and choosing whole foods over the processed ones are a few simple suggestions. Feel good about the small changes you make over time that lead to big health benefits in the long run.