As we continue our pandemic journey, it is important to remember our overall health and that of our healthcare heroes. We are working long hours and at the end of the day are too tired to prepare a healthy meal or even pack a lunch for the next day! It is much easier to rely on prepared foods, fast foods, “comfort foods” and maybe a cocktail to “unwind”.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released new dietary guidelines. The new guidelines omitted certain recommendations that would have reduced allowances for added sugars and alcohol intake. Although the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans “carried forward the committee’s emphasis on limiting these dietary components, they did not include changes to quantitative recommendations”.
The guidelines encourage Americans to “Make Every Bite Count” through four overarching suggestions:
- Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage
- Customize nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect preferences, cultural traditions and budgets
- Focus on meeting dietary needs from five food groups:
- Fortified soy alternatives and proteins; stay within calorie limits
- Limit foods and beverages that are higher in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium and limit alcoholic beverages
With the introduction of vaccines to assist in fighting this pandemic, the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter as is our future! Maybe it is time to focus on something other than COVID-19 and begin a healthy lifestyle journey! The USDA has launched a new “MyPlate” website to help consumers incorporate dietary guidance. Stay the course, stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!