According to US Dietary Guidelines (2005), Americans not only eat too much, they also fail to meet recommended intakes for a number of nutrients. So if you want to maintain a healthy weight and avoid vitamin and mineral deficiency, choose meals and snacks that are high in nutrients but low to moderate in energy content.
Based on our current eating habits, our daily diet is typically insufficient in a range of micronutrients including: calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A (as carotenoids), C, and E. As far as children’s dietary habits go, typically they don’t eat enough calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E. At the same time, we eat consume too many calories and too much saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and salt.
The Dietary Guidelines give the following recommendations to maintain a healthy nutritional intake.
1. Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups while choosing foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.
2. Follow a balanced eating pattern, such as the USDA Food Guide or the DASH Eating Plan.
3. Alternatively, follow a nutritionist-designed diet plan.
4. Otherwise check out the Food Guide Pyramid. This is an outline of what to eat each day, and it calls for a variety of food and nutrients. Fruits and vegetables provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances that are associated with good health.
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