New U.S. Dietary Guidelines
Posted in Nourishment for the Body » Eat It on Wednesday, February 2, 2011

5 Easy Ways to Meet the New U.S. Dietary Guidelines

Earlier today, SELF's Eat Like Me blog told you about the new U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which are released every five years by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Here's the good news: The government wants us to eat more (of some things) -- at least eight ounces of fish a week, plus more beans and peas.

So how do we begin to cram all of this food into our diet? Mary Hartley, director of nutrition for Calorie Count, suggests these five easy ways to make sure we're meeting these new guidelines -- or at least coming close!


The Guideline: "Increase vegetable and fruit intake."

Meet it! The simplest way to make sure you're getting enough daily produce is to cover half your plate with fruits and veggies at every meal, says Hartley. Check out our Guide to Going Vegetarian for more inspiration and recipes. To make sure you're choosing the most delicious -- and therefore most satisfying -- produce items, click here to find out what's in season near you.


The Guideline: "Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry."

Meet it! Hartley suggests eating fish or shellfish as your main meal at least once a week (pick a day and make it your official seafood day!). Here's how to make the perfect piece of grilled salmon (ridiculously easy!). And we're obsessed with this spicy grilled tuna with garden salsa. Bonus: The tomatoes offer a hefty dose of vitamin C.


The Guideline: "Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds."

Meet it! Eat a vegetarian meal as your entree at least once a week. "Healthy vegetarian entrees feature beans, peas, lentils, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds," says Harley. These Spiced Lentil Tacos and this recipe for Farro and Pine Nut Tabbouleh are enough to make us consider becoming a full-time vegetarian. 


The Guideline: "Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars" and "Limit the consumption of foods that contain certain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars and sodium."

Meet it! "Adopt a general rule that sweets are for special occasions, like personal, civic or religious holidays," says Harley. "This includes candy, cakes, cookies, pies, soda, fruit drinks, ice cream or other bakery items. Having a snack attack? Try these mental tricks to fight cravings.


The Guideline: "Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids" and "Replace protein foods that are higher in solid fats with choices that are lower in solid fats and calories and/or are sources of oils.

Meet it! "Eat fatty red meats only once in a blue moon," says Hartley. That means once  month, not once a week! Here's the inside scoop on the healthiest meat substitutes. And if you absolutely can't live without a steak, make it a sirloin!
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