USDA and HHS Want You to Eat Healthier Foods

January 7, 2016 11:09 AM
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Just in time for your New Year’s resolutions, the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have released updated nutritional guidelines to get Americans to follow “healthy eating patterns.”

The 2015-2020 guidelines stress the overall variety of foods one eats rather than looking just at individual nutrients or foods. The federal agencies want people to follow healthy eating patterns across a lifetime rather than just focusing on the short term.

According to HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, “By focusing on small shifts in what we eat and drink, eating healthy becomes more manageable. The Dietary Guidelines provide science-based recommendations on food and nutrition so people can make decisions that may help keep their weight under control, and prevent chronic conditions, like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.”

The new nutritional guidelines say Americans should eat the following:

  • A variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other vegetables
  • 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), soy products, and nuts and seeds
  • Oils, including those from plants: canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower

Americans are also encouraged to cut down on consumption of sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

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About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.