Building healthy eating patterns
To address the challenge of putting all of the report’s recommendations together into a healthy eating pattern, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 endorses three established eating patterns: the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, the Mediterranean diet, and a vegetarian diet, all of which are reviewed in detail. They’re based on common elements such as generous amounts of vegetables and fruits, an emphasis on whole grains, moderate amounts of protein, and limited amounts of solid fats and added sugars.
Unfortunately, as the report states, “the average American eating pattern currently bears little resemblance to these dietary recommendations.” To see sample menus that show how the report’s recommendations can be put into practice in a meal plan, visit www.choosemyplate.gov and click on “Print Materials.” Don’t forget that a healthy eating pattern also means following food safety recommendations to avoid food-borne illnesses.
The final section of Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 is a call to action for all Americans to take part in the movement to create a healthy country. For many Americans, the environment we inhabit makes it difficult to choose healthy foods and engage in physical activity. This environment won’t change unless individuals, community organizations, health professionals, small and large businesses, educators and academics, and policymakers work together to change it.
What can you do? Start by preparing healthy meals and snacks for yourself and your family. Support access to healthy foods in your community by shopping at a local farmer’s market or joining a community-supported agriculture buying group (also known as a CSA). Support programs in schools, or elsewhere in your community, that stress good nutrition and physical activity beginning in childhood. Have a look at the Web sites www.letsmove.gov and www.physicalactivityplan.org to see how to get involved in these national efforts promoting healthier living. And share Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 with others as you use it to help you achieve your diabetes and lifestyle goals.