It’s no secret I’m a fan of the Dietary Guidelines outlined by the USDA. So, I was excited when the most recent recommendations for the next 5 years was released today. (see the press release here)
Why I love the Dietary Guidelines!
In 2007 I created a nutrition plate that reflected balanced eating. It showed a plate where half your meal would be fruits and veggies, 1/4 proteins, and 1/4 grains. My first plate looked like this:
As luck would have it, in 2011 the USDA updated the pyramid as the icon to show the dietary guidelines, to a plate, now known as Choose My Plate.
As it turned out, this change was great for my business of selling the nutrition plate! I made some modifications to the plate in order to reflect the new icon, choose myplate. So, I manufactured two new plates. One for kids, and one for adults. (you can see them both in my shop here)
Since 2011, I’ve not only sold hundreds of thousands of plates, but I’ve heard from so many people that balancing nutrition to include all the food groups has helped them reach their health goals better than anything else they’ve tried.
The Dietary Guidelines are nutrition recommendations based on science that can promote health and may reduce chronic disease.
What’s new in the Dietary Guidelines for 2020
While it doesn’t look like the guidelines changed too much, there are some key elements I wanted to share.
- A new tagline: Make Every Bite Count, Start Simple, and Small Changes Matter! I do believe these messages are vital to hear for people who feel overwhelmed with making changes in their health.
- There is a lot of emphasis on whole foods, which I love! Each food group recommendation includes choosing nutrient dense whole foods and gives examples for each.
- The guidelines specifically mention choosing nutritious foods, WHILE staying within calorie limits. In my personal weight loss journey, I can say, that eating excess calories, even with healthy food, leads to weight gain.
- One criticism I hear about the dietary guidelines is from people who believe the guidelines are making us sicker and fatter. What these critics fail to realize is that most people aren’t following the guidelines at all. In Figure 1-6 of the executive summary, it shows that we are overeating on refined grains and protein and undereating on fruits and veggies. (I guess I need to share more veggie recipes here!)
- Another difference in the USDA Dietary guidelines is that they expanded on the recommendation to limit added sugars and alcohol.
The big takeaway for me is that there is scientific evidence showing that eating nutrient dense whole foods from all the food groups. There is not a reason to eliminate a food group to meet your health needs.
I’m even more committed to sharing this message of balanced meals and portion control. These two principals are simple and effective.
For more Choose MyPlate resources, check out