Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Key Highlights

UPDATE: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is updated every five (5) years. Visit for the 2015-2020 update.


USDA Replaces MyPyramid with Healthy MyPlate Icon The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a replacement for its current food pyramid [MyPyramid] in support of dietary recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. The new healthy plate icon is sectioned off to show fruits and vegetables as half of the plate making the recommendation easy to understand.
Read About the Fill-Half-Your-Plate Concept

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 The government’s recommendations about what we should eat have been updated with a few key changes. Less sodium, added sugar and solid fat … and fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables.
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The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 illustrates strategies that focus on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices and being physically active to help Americans maintain their weight, reduce their risk for chronic diseases and promote overall health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 is intended for Americans ages 2 years and older, including those at increased risk of chronic disease.

The current recommendations support fruits and vegetables as foods that should be eaten most often. And for most Americans, this means more than doubling the amount of fruits and vegetables they eat daily.

3 Reasons Support Why Eating MORE Fruits & Veggies Matters …

  1. Fruits and vegetables are major contributors of a number of nutrients that are under consumed in the U.S.—vitamins A, C and K, potassium, fiber and magnesium.
  2. Fruits and vegetables are associated with reduced risk of many chronic diseases.
  3. Fruits and vegetables are relatively low in calories which can replace high calorie foods that aid in weight gain.

New in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines

    • Eating Behaviors. Eat breakfast, snack through out the day, consume fast food less often.
    • Screen Time. Be aware of the correlation between screen time (television, video games, computer, etc.) and increased body weight.
    • Plant Foods. Increase consumption of plant foods (vegetables, beans and peas, whole grains, nuts and seeds).
    • Seafood. Seafood consumption of 8 oz per week is encouraged.

Focus on Making Changes in 4 Main Areas

  1.   Balance Calories to Manage Weight

  2.   Reduce Certain Foods and Food Components …

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages—Consume water, other calorie-free beverages, along with low fat (1%) or fat-free milk and 100% juice to meet total water recommendations.

Solid Fats*—Saturated fat from solid fats should equal less than 10% of total calories per day (butter, meat fat, margarine, shortening, heavy creams).

Refined Grains—Make half your grains whole grains.

Sodium—Consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day.

Further reduce intake to 1,500 mg per day for individuals 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension (high blood pressure), diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.

  3.   Increase Certain Foods and Nutrients …

    • Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at every meal and snacking occasion.
    • Eat nutrient-dense foods and beverages most often—vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat (1%) milk and milk products, seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, nuts and seeds.

  4.   Build Healthy Eating Patterns …

    • See Our Weekly Healthy Menu Ideas
    • Visit for a healthy meal plan specific to your recommendations

Every five (5) years the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) compiles the latest developments in nutrition and physical activity research to create the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

*Get more information about solid fats.

MyPlate Replaces MyPyramid & MyPyramid for Kids
Key Nutrients in Fruits and Veggies
How Many Cups Do You Need
How Much is a Cup
Weight Management
Easy Ways to Teach the Kids

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