Eating a Balanced Diet
What is a "Healthy Diet"?
According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the Departments of Health and Human Services, a healthy diet emphasizes:
- Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
- Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and
- Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
"These new Dietary Guidelines represent our best science-based advice to help Americans live healthier and longer lives," said former Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "The report gives action steps to reach achievable goals in weight control, stronger muscles and bones, and balanced nutrition to help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Promoting good dietary habits is key to reducing the growing problems of obesity and physical inactivity, and to gaining the health benefits that come from a nutritionally balanced diet."
Some of the Recommendations Include:
- Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages among the basic food groups while choosing foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.
- Select fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains often.
- Consume 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains.
- When selecting and preparing meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products, make choices that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free.
- Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners.
- Limit intake of fats and oils high in saturated and/or trans fatty acids, and choose products low in such fats and oils.
Source: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005.