Obama’s new dietary guidelines may be a step in the right direction, emphasizing increased fruit and vegetable consumption, and protein sources with a low ecological footprint. Sorry to those of you craving red meat and sugars-this administration is publicly stating that you should avoid these items!
The new guidelines stress healthy eating patterns, and the following key recommendations:
The USDA has a long history of creating changing dietary recommendations based on public trends and scientific knowledge. Emphasizing a low red-meat diet is a push back against big industrial agriculture.
Here are my tips to a healthy eating pattern:
- Cook from scratch: Avoid processed foods to avoid consuming additives and unnecessary fats, sugars, and salts and empower yourself to create your own food! There is nothing more satisfying than the art of creating something new and delicious in the kitchen. If it comes out bad, it’s a lesson learned! Experiment with new cuisines, foods, and dishes to bring excitement into your cooking. Cooking does not always need to take a long time or be a lot of effort. Try oven roasting your food for quick, easy meals.
- Eat with the seasons: Not only does eating with the seasons support your local farmers, but it contributes to your health. Local, fresh, ingredients are often picked when ripe and reduce the carbon impact of your food (ie it travels less to get to your plate). When eating with the seasons, you are economically supporting regional farmers, while consuming food that may have higher nutrient density and even tastes better! Have you ever eaten a mealy, flavorless tomato in December, and wondered why it was so gross? It’s because it traveled thousands of miles to get to you, was harvested too early, and was most likely mass produced to be able to withstand economies of scale and be exported to the US. By eating with the seasons, you learn to appreciate your food, the weather, and your environment. I can’t wait until August, when all of the tomatoes are in season and I can gorge on them until I no longer want to see a tomato, ever again…(or at least until the next tomato season).
- Eat your colors: What does the USDA mean when they say to consume a healthy eating pattern? They mean add variety to your diet (really, variety is the spice of life)! By eating a variety of foods, you can ensure that your body is receiving most nutrients it needs. When you look at your plate, are the colors, bright, vibrant, and reflecting that of a rainbow? It’s no joke, eat variety and “your colors” and you’ll be on the right track to get all of the nutrients your body needs.