Healthy Eating Patterns
What does a “healthy eating pattern” consist of? Eating patterns represent the repeated behavior of all foods and beverages consumed. This first tier of the guidelines focuses on three key elements to healthy dietary consumption.
Practicing a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. What is even better about beginning the New Year with wholesome eating is when one actually sticks to this regimen. Developing healthy eating as a habit and practicing it for the long run has such an impact towards preventing diseases and improving overall health. Research has shown that fruits and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of many chronic diseases and may also be protective against certain types of cancers.
Focusing on variety, nutrient density, and amount. This means that the diet typically includes a variety of fruits and vegetables (dark green, red, and orange colored), whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, a variety of protein foods (meat, fish, eggs, and nuts), and healthy oils. Filling up on nutrient-dense foods, ones with little calories and a plethora of vitamins and minerals, are more beneficial to health. Consider consuming these types of foods (i.e. carrots, pineapple, or broccoli) rather than calorie-dense foods with little nutrition.
Limiting calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reducing sodium intake. Americans are well-known for their massive sugar, fat, and sodium intake. Today, the intake is becoming a growing public health concern for those in the United States. These types of foods typically consist of concentrated sweets, sodas, fried foods, and fast food. Nutrition experts and registered dietitians are recommending the following:
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
- Consume less than 2,300 milligrams per day of sodium
- If alcohol is consumed, women should have up to one drink per day while men have up to two drinks per day