5 Steps to a Healthy Dietary Pattern

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could do away with the word diet and replace it with a healthy dietary pattern?

Rather than focusing on individual nutrients, foods, or food groups in isolation, a dietary pattern refers to what we eat and drink over time and how this affects our health.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that we follow a healthy dietary pattern at every stage of life.

Take your group, class, or individual clients through five steps to discovering a healthy dietary pattern that works for them:

  1. Use our DGA Healthy Eating Patterns poster and handout to discuss the concept of a healthy dietary pattern. Talk about how eating patterns differ from diets, especially fad diets.
  2. Show participants how to enter their age, gender, height, weight, and activity level into MyPlate Plan. This free tool gives them personalized recommendations that will form the basis of their healthy eating pattern. Bonus: MyPlate Plan is also available in Spanish!
  3. Have participants make a list of foods they like for each food group in their MyPlate Plan.
  4. Help them identify whether the foods they listed fit into a healthy eating pattern. In other words, are they nutrient-dense and lower in fat, sodium, and sugar? Our new 2020-25 Dietary Guidelines PowerPoint show is a great resource for teaching this information.
  5. For the foods and beverages that don’t fit into a healthy eating pattern, help participants identify healthier options that are more nutrient-dense and lower in fat, sodium, and sugar. Emphasize that they don’t need to make these changes all at once!

Hollis Bass, MEd, RD, LD

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updated on 07-24-2024