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By Katie Serbinski, MS, RD
There’s more to food than just taste. Or so that’s what I’ve learned in my six years of studying nutrition science. Food provides our bodies with the nutrients it needs to function, just like fuel to a car. But what foods constitute as healthy? How can you maintain a healthy diet without compromising taste and without having to follow the latest fad diet (or skipping dessert)? That’s where the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans come in. The guidelines have clear implications for federal nutrition policy, influencing everything from the national school lunch program to the advice you get at the doctor’s office.
Much of the dietary advice in the new guidelines remains unchanged such as eating more fruits and vegetables, keeping your splurges sensible, and embracing balance, variety, and moderation. But every five years, a new set of guidelines sheds more light on nutrition science details and updates what we know about eating right. The 2015 Guidelines encourage individuals and families to eat more of these foods:
They also advise us moderate caffeine and alcohol intake, limit sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and limit foods high in sodium. While many of these dietary recommendations remain the same, here are the three major changes:
When looking at my own family’s eating habits, I find that there’s greater value in making small changes in our diet and lifestyle. For instance, I love making spaghetti sauce and adding in chopped mushrooms and carrots. We generally keep it to one sweet item per day and don’t have sugar sweetened beverages, except for special occasions. I also try to serve more unsaturated fats, especially those found in vegetable oils, fish and nuts. That being said, I certainly won’t be keeping a score sheet on whether or not my family eats perfectly. I want my family to enjoy meals together (and an occasional floret of broccoli, too)!
Katie Serbinski, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and Mom of two boys under two. She’s the founder of Mom to Mom Nutrition, a healthy food and lifestyle blog where she shares her “me time” with other health-minded parents. On her blog, you’ll find simple, family-friendly recipes, tips for new parents, and realistic nutrition advice. Connect with Katie through email Katie@MomToMomNutrition.com or Twitter @MomNutrition.
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