RAPID CITY, S.D. — The updated dietary guidelines break down a healthy eating pattern at every stage of life; new this time around are guidance for babies and toddlers and a section for pregnant and lactating women.
Introduce healthy food choices to children at a young age, lead by example, and try to make meal time a positive experience.
Most Americans still do not follow the dietary guidelines, and obesity is increasing in children and adults.
Kayla Wede, a Dietitian at Monument Health, says, “41% of children ages two – 18 are obese and 74% of adults are obese; that number is continuing to grow and what these guidelines are doing is helping make sure that we can put an end to that, because we know the heath risks being obese can have later in life.”
A half of your plate should be vegetables and some fruit, a quarter should be a lean protein, which could be beans or nuts, and a quarter should be whole grains.
If that’s not the case, pick one small change to work on. Changing our relationship with food can be a hard transition. Wede suggests taking small steps.
She adds, “Starting with that one bite and making ever bite count is kind of what they are going for with that; you know whether that’s adding a vegetable to your mac and cheese and a protein to your mac and cheese too – that’s a good start. And so just figuring out where you are at and those little choices you can make that really will add up in the long run.”
Read food labels for added sugar as it can be hidden in foods like granola or yogurt. Also limit saturated fats, sodium,and alcohol. Save sweet treats for special occasions not a daily occurrence. Try to keep sugar intake down. Watch juices as they may contain a lot of sugar. Try to get juice that is 100% fruit juice with no added sugar. Be aware that a serving size is four to six ounces.
Wede says, “The new guidelines coming out with no sugar sweetened beverages…to treats or cookies and cakes and things like that.”
The 3 takeaways for the new guidelines are get your daily nutrition from food, choose a variety of options from each food group, and pay attention to portion size.
The guidelines are meant to be adaptable to personal preferences and budgetary considerations. Wede adds that frozen or canned fruits and veggies are a good choice to save on money – just watch for high sodium and wash produce before eating.
The guidelines are updated every five years.
It is also recommended to cut back on processed foods.