The USDA is coming out with new dietary guidelines, but do the national guidelines translate to the way we eat?
In America, 35% of our total calories come from fats and added sugars (ribs, bacon, and butter…). The latest guidelines say to cut fats and added sugars down to 5-15% of our total intake so we can add more plant foods. Fantastic idea! Any ideas on how to put this plan into action?
Connie Diekman M.Ed, RD, LD, FADA – one of the most brilliant dieticians I know – offers her expertise in this story:
The idea is to provide incentives to offer healthier products, she said. Ideally, companies should take “key products and gradually but deliberately reduce [for example] the sodium contents of those foods.”
“As the American palate gradually adjusts,” she said, “those food products can remain front and center in the American diet but not contribute the excessive amounts of sugar, fats, and salt. Diekman said the key will be “helping consumers change their taste palate so that the shift in food choices is achievable.”
I know Connie Diekman. I’ve worked with her, and as health practitioners go, she’s gets it! Her advice to change our palate is spot on, but until the food industry provides better opportunities for that, what can we do now? How can we be better at consuming nutritious plant foods throughout the day?
One way is to ROY G BIV your plate.
Think about the colors of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). Each time you eat, select fruits and veggies that represent every color of the rainbow. Or, if the rainbow image doesn’t work for you, think about a box of crayons.
For example, this morning for breakfast, I had a protein smoothie made with strawberries and blueberries and a piece of whole grain toast spread with avocado (red, blue, and green). During my next feed, I’ll be sure to aim for orange, yellow, indigo, or violet plants (e.g. zucchini, blackberries, eggplant, etc.). When you ROY G BIV your plate, you can be colorful and creative with your food. This is a simple strategy to make eating fun and nutritious.