The USDA just released a document outlining new eating guidelines for Americans. But just what do these guidelines mean and how can we incorporate them in our everyday eating habits?
We break it down for you and provide recipes that will help you eat healthier in 2011.
Lowering your sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (about 1 teaspoon) is one of the key recommendations. For people who already have hypertension, diabetes, and other illnesses, this number drops to less than 1500 mg a day.
Only babies and children under 2 should be drinking whole milk. Everyone else should switch to low-fat or fat-free milk products.
Increase seafood consumption (both the amount and the variety should be increased) and reduce consumption of other animal products.
At least half the grains you consume should be whole grains. Do this by replacing refined grains with whole grains.
Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids. This means that we need to cut down consumption of animal products, dairy, eggs and also of processed foods (trans fats hide under the guise of hydrogenated oil in processed foods). We need to replace these with good fats like monounsaturated fatty acids (found in walnuts, pistachios, avocadoes and olive oil) and polyunsaturated fatty acids (found in salmon, fish oil, safflower oil etc).
Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol comes from animal and dairy products but not from fruits and vegetables. So basically this means less meat and more plants!
Read nutrition labels to look for added sugars. Beware! Added sugars often "hide" behind less common monikers. Look for these varieties in your ingredient list: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, sucrose, and syrup.
Use oils to replace solid fats like butter, tallow, shortening and margarine.
Nearly everyone can stand to increase their fruit intake. The USDA recommends about four 1/2-cup servings of fruit a day.
Increase your intake of vegetables including leafy greens, peas, and other brightly colored veggies.
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