What is a Healthy Eating Pattern?

A healthy-eating pattern includes all the foods and beverages we consume. All foods and beverages work together to create a healthy eating puzzle to meet nutritional needs. A healthy eating pattern be adapted in many ways to fit your lifestyle.

Following a healthy-eating pattern can help you meet the dietary recommendations. By meeting the recommendations, you set yourself up to achieve and maintain optimal health. Healthy eating patterns also help support a healthy body weight and can help prevent and reduce certain diseases throughout your lifetime. What does a healthy eating pattern look like?

To meet dietary recommendations, it is key to focus on variety, nutrient density, and quantity. Nutrient dense foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fat-free or low fat-dairy products.

A healthy eating pattern should include:

  • A variety of vegetables- from each of the 5 groups (dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other)
  • Fruit- preferably whole fruit, such as fresh, frozen, or dried
  • Grains- at least 50% of which is whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal, whole wheat pasta, and popcorn
  • Fat-free or low- fat dairy- such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified non-dairy soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods- including seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, and soy
  • Healthy oils- such as olive, canola, peanut, sesame, or vegetable oil

A healthy eating plan should also limit:

  • Saturated and trans fats- no more than 10% of daily calories from saturated fat, and avoid trans-fat consumption
  • Added sugar- no more than 10% of daily calories from addes sugars
  • Sodium- less than 2300 milligrams of sodium per day

Examples of Healthy Eating Patterns

A healthy eating pattern can be adapted and formed to meet personal preference. Below you will find three examples of different eating patterns.

Healthy U.S.-Style Pattern

Includes typical foods and beverages Americans consume, but in a nutrient-dense form

Healthy Mediterranean-Style Pattern

Includes typical foods and recipes of Mediterranean-style cooking

Healthy Vegetarian Eating Pattern

Eliminates all meat, poultry, and seafood products

All of these patterns provide a well-balanced healthy eating style and allow you to meet dietary guidelines. Remember, eating patterns can be adaptable to meet your needs and lifestyle!

wine and cheese

Resources:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/
mm6426a1.htm

U.S. Dietary Guidelines
http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/
guidelines/

Mayo Clinic
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/dietary-guidelines/art-20045584