The 2010 Dietary Guidelines were finally released on January 31 2011! Looks like the government is applying one of my lifelong principles….better late than never! Regardless of lateness there is some good information and dietary guidance in the new 95 page document. I’ll give you a synopsis of foods to focus on and foods to divert focus from while shopping! However if you want access to the document itself go to www.dietaryguidelines.gov.
The Dietary Guidelines encompass two overarching concepts:
o Maintain calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight. To prevent further “feeding” the obesity epidemic Americans must decrease the calories they consume and increase the calories they expend through physical activity.
o Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages. This always reminds me of the phrase over-fed and under-nourished. It is not that we do not eat enough (obviously) it is that we do not consume the foods best for our overall health and wellbeing. A healthy eating pattern limits intake of sodium, solids fats, added sugar, and refined grains, while emphasizing nutrient-dense foods and beverages. Nutrient dense foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat and fat-free milk and yogurt, seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, nuts and seeds.
Knowing your calorie needs can be useful in monitoring your intake and adjusting accordingly visit the www.Mypyramid.gov web site for an estimation of calorie needs for your age and activity level.
The dietary guidelines has chapters specific to the foods and food components we should all increase and decrease. Many times there are simple ways to include the foods we should have just by swapping them in more often for the foods we should eat less often.
Foods or food components to reduce (sodium, solid fat and added sugar, cholesterol, saturated fat, Trans fat and refined grains)
Foods to increase (vegetables [especially dark green, red and orange vegetables beans and peas], whole grains, lean protein, seafood, nuts and seeds, low fat and fat-free dairy)
Simple swaps at the store:
o Lettuce: Try Romaine or spinach instead of iceberg
o Potatoes: Try sweet potatoes in place of white potatoes
o Cheese dip: Try bean dip (Kroger brand bean dip is lower in salt and fat than many other brands) OR mix vegetarian refried beans with salsa to make your own bean dip
o Regular milk or yogurt: low fat and non-fat varieties. Don’t like the taste of fat-free? TRY: Smart balance or Simply Smart both have been formulated to taste more like 2% milk.
o Hamburger: Try lean ground beef or ground turkey
o Seafood: EAT more and replace some of your meat with fish and seafood each week.
o Bread: Try whole wheat bread. Don’t like whole wheat? Try white wheat! Even though most white wheat bread are not 100% whole wheat some is better than none.
THE BOTTOM LINE! All of us have a personal responsibility to eat better and take care of ourselves. Make a few healthy swaps today! For recipes ideas go to www.universityhealth.org/ewwk.