MARCH 2016 ;e Costco Connection 67
By Kristen Mathieson
EVERY FIVE YEARS, the U.S. Department
of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department
of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly
publish dietary guidelines for people ages 2
years and older, based on current evidence-based research to promote optimal health.
The 2015–2020 dietary guidelines,
released in January, recommend that we eat a
wide variety of nutrient-dense foods—with
fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy
products, poultry without skin, fish, legumes,
non-tropical vegetable oils and nuts given as
healthy choices. While the guidelines suggest
choices from all food groups as part of a
healthy diet, they recommend limiting excess
or added saturated fats, sugars and sodium to
help reduce the risk of chronic disease.
The guidelines also highlight the connection between diet and physical activity in promoting health, and recommend that all
Americans should aim to meet the age-spe-cific Physical Activity Guidelines (
paguidelines) published by HHS in 2008.
The new dietary guidelines fit perfectly
with the theme of this year’s National
Nutrition Month: “Savor the Flavor of Eating
Right.” National Nutrition Month was created
in 1973 by the Academy of Nutrition and
Dietetics and is celebrated annually in March.
Its purpose is to inspire people to make more
informed food choices and to develop beneficial physical activity habits.
Here are some tips to feed your body
right every month.
Fat: friend or foe? Fat is no longer considered the dietary enemy it once was thought
to be. Research suggests that the connection
between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels is limited, as family history and
other risk factors play a larger role in spiking
While the new dietary guidelines may
give a green light to eating eggs and lean
meats, the American Heart Association continues to recommend consuming a diet lower
in the saturated fats found in many animal
proteins and limiting egg yolks to four per
week. Increase your intake of healthier unsaturated fats by adding a salmon dish to your
dinner routine or tossing 1 ounce of nuts into
your morning oatmeal.
Color your plate. Fill your plate with
fruits and vegetables that incorporate all colors of the rainbow. Eating a wide variety of
colorful produce will provide your body with
more of the vitamins, minerals and phyto-chemicals your body needs. Plant-based diets
are also typically lower in calories and saturated fat, higher in fiber and better for your
body and for the planet.
Hold the salt. The new guidelines recommend that everybody 14 and older should
eat a diet lower in salt (less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day); the recommendations for children under the age of 14 vary.
Since most Americans consume far more than
the suggested limit, sodium intake from food
and beverages should be decreased as much as
possible to reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Rethink your drink. Sugar-sweetened
beverages offer excess calories and zero nutritional value. Go for water, seltzer, 100 percent
juices and unsweetened beverages.
The good news is that coffee does have
health benefits, but try to limit it to no more
than two to three cups per day, as excess caf-
feine and additives like cream or sugar can
offset any benefits.
What it all boils down to. At the end of
the day, should you follow the government’s
guidelines on nutrition? In this case, the new
dietary guidelines, which recommend avoiding excess sugars, salt and saturated fats to
promote optimal health, are right on target.
It is important to remember that food
nourishes not only the body, but also the
mind. Research shows that sitting down and
engaging in mealtimes with family and
friends promotes healthier food choices and
improves emotional well-being.
Planning regular exercise with a partner
also plays a role in positive physical and psychological health. Try making a home-cooked
meal or taking a walk after dinner with your
loved ones to make the leap toward a healthier and happier you. C
Kristen Mathieson is a registered dietitian at
New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
National Nutrition Month starts here
The Costco Connection
You’ll find a wide variety of foods in all food
groups to meet your nutritional needs at your
local Costco warehouse.
Savor the flavor
for your health