USDA's Guidelines for a Healthy Family Diet

by Lindsay Hutton

Find out more about the USDA's dietary guidelines and MyPlate icon.

Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet is essential for your child's proper growth and development, but how do you know if your child is getting the nutrients he needs? The following guidelines laid out by the USDA are recommended for everyone over 2 years of age, and can help you make make smart food choices for your family and promote overall general health.

The USDA recommends you eat foods that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent disease. In addition, they offer the following recommendations to help promote a healthy diet and lifestyle.

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less and avoiding oversized portions.
  • Fruits and vegetables should make up half of your daily food intake.
  • Half of all grains consumed should be whole grains.
  • Switch to fat free or low-fat (one percent) milk.
  • Incorporate lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts into your daily diet
  • Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, and avoid trans fats as much as possible.
  • Eat a low sodium diet(no more than 2,400 milligrams a day) by choosing foods that contain less salt.
  • Drink water instead of sugary beverages like soda.
The USDA's MyPlate is the icon used to represent each of the five food groups and is meant to make healthy eating easier by representing how much room each should take up on your plate during each meal.

Print off your own plate to hang on your fridge for easy reference. For more information about the USDA's guidelines, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.

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