The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are designed to help you improve your overall eating habits. Nutrition experts from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) get together to refresh them every five years.
To help you get a better understanding of what foods you should include in your diet (or eliminate), we’ve taken all of the information and created this easy-to-reference guide. The goal is to help you find ways to start simple and incorporate modest changes each day that push you closer to meeting the recommendations and developing a healthy diet pattern.
Any healthy diet begins with a healthy diet pattern. To get on track and stay on track as you get older, start by creating healthy habits, which can begin as early as infancy.
For the first time, the 2020-2025 dietary guidelines include recommendations for infants and toddlers.
Feed infants exclusively human milk. If human milk is unavailable, feed infants iron-fortified infant formula during the first year of life.
Continue to feed infants human milk, but introduce infants to nutrient-dense complementary foods from all food groups.
Once you've established a healthy dietary pattern, continue to eat nutrient-dense foods, incorporating food from all food groups.
The core elements that make up a healthy dietary pattern include:
Research shows that adhering to a healthy diet pattern can significantly cut your risk for heart disease.
As important as it is to add healthy foods to your diet, it’s just as important to limit those that may have a negative effect on your health. Here are the recommendations:
Less than 10% of calories per day starting at age 2. Avoid foods and beverages with added sugars for those younger than age 2.
Less than 10% of calories consumed per day should consist of saturated fat starting at age 2.
Less than 2,300 milligrams should be consumed per day—and even less for children younger than age 14.
Limit intake of alcoholic beverages to 2 drinks or less in a day for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women.
Healthy eating can promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease from childhood to old age. Select an option below to learn about some of the benefits you can reap by maintaining a healthy diet pattern throughout various life stages.
A healthy diet pattern at an early age has been scientifically proven to lower the risk of multiple conditions, including:
If a healthy diet pattern is established in the first two years of life, study results show children and adolescents with lower cholesterol levels and healthier weight gain.
Studies show a healthy diet favorably impacting folate status in women during pregnancy and lactation and favorable cognitive development in their children.
A healthy diet pattern throughout adulthood has been shown to lower the risk of all-cause mortality including heart disease and cancers.