The new 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide advice to help people of all ages meet their dietary needs while limiting added sugars, sodium, and saturated fat.
Modest changes like healthful food choices and regular physical activity can help people manage or reduce their risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, or heart disease.
Certified health coaches and registered dietitian nutritionists can show people how to use MyPlate, which provides practical, consumer-friendly tips to follow the key recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines. MyPlate recommends visualizing your plate as nutrient-rich sections with one quarter reserved for grains, another with protein-rich foods, and the remaining half with fruits and vegetables along with a serving of low-fat or fat-free dairy.
In addition to maintaining healthy eating habits throughout life, the following tips are recommended:
Teens to 20s
Build bone density by eating and drinking calcium-rich foods and beverages such as fat-free or low-fat dairy milk or yogurt or calcium-fortified soy beverages. Non-dairy sources of calcium include fortified cereals, beans, some leafy greens, and canned salmon with bones.
20s to 30s
Reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease by eating more fiber (including whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds).
Women of childbearing age should include sources of folate (such as beans and peas and dark-green leafy vegetables) and eat foods fortified with folic acid (such as breads, cereals, and other grain products). A folic acid supplement may also be needed and should be discussed with a health care provider.
30s to 40s
Continue to eat a variety of nutritious foods, especially fruits and vegetables, whole grains and beans, peas, and lentils (for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber).
40s to 50s
Fine tune your eating habits and continue to incorporate regular physical activity. This is important as your body changes due to changing hormone levels and slowing metabolism. Also, limit foods and beverages with added sugars, salt, and saturated fat.
60s and Beyond
Continue to include a variety of protein-rich foods to maintain bone strength. Incorporate strength-building activities to maintain muscle.
Continue eating good sources of protein include seafood, lean cuts of meat, eggs, beans, tofu, and nuts.
Animal-based protein foods also provide vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 may be recommended by your health care provider as you age.