Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are released every five years to reflect the goals of nutrition and health for Americans.

The most recent guidelines were released in 2020. These guidelines reflect the vital steps required to piece together a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle. Rather than focusing on individual nutrient intake and specific recommendations for carbohydrates, fat and protein, these guidelines promote a holistic approach to achieving long-lasting dietary changes. This toolkit will provide information, tips and strategies to help you implement these guidelines successfully.

Along with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, there is another handy tool to help you make smart nutritional choices at every meal. You may remember the Food Pyramid, introduced in 1991, which displayed each food group with the recommended daily servings. This Food Pyramid was replaced in 2011 with a tool called “MyPlate”. Consider using this helpful resource to ensure that you and your family are consuming the recommended mix of food and beverages from the five food groups: Fruits, Vegetables, Grains, Proteins, and Dairy.

The Guidelines

Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.

Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume foods low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.

Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.