You’ve seen the headlines about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, both supportive and critical. It has happened ever since the first Dietary Guidelines were introduced in 1980. Their release every five years brings about vibrant discussion. That’s because they have wide reaching impact.
The food and beverage industry, public health agencies, educational institutions and health care providers all rely on them. The Guidelines inform food and beverage product development, federal nutrition policy, and local, state and national health promotion and disease prevention initiatives.
These food and beverage recommendations for Americans ages 2 and older are intended to reflect the current nutrition science on health promotion and disease prevention. At the worksite they can serve as a foundation for awareness and education programs, behavior change initiatives, and worksite policies and environmental supports.
The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines focus on achieving healthy eating patterns. These are combinations of foods and beverages that promote health. Here are the Five Dietary Guidelines and how you can put them to work for you in improving food and nutrition at your worksite. What other ideas can you think of?
- Educate your workforce on the components of healthy eating patterns for all members of their families using My Plate.
- Share the components of a healthy eating pattern with your foodservice and catering providers to guide their menu plannin
Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount
- Educate your workforce on the concept of nutrition density (getting the most nutrition for the least amount of calories)
- Institute an incentive program for employees to shop for nutrient dense foods
Limit calories from added sugars, saturated fats and reduce sodium intake
- Offer food shopping classes to help employees make healthy, convenient food and beverage choices
- Offer food preparation and cooking classes to help employees build the skills to make quick healthful meals at home
Shift to healthier food and beverage choices
- Develop nutrition standards for meals, snacks and beverages served in all venues at the workplace
- Adopt a practice of positioning the healthful choices first in company cafeterias, meeting buffets, vending machines and other venues where food is served at the workplace
- Provide access to health promoting foods and beverages through community gardens, farmer’s markets and organization sponsored walk and shop events
- Work with local restaurants to offer beverages, meals and snacks aligned with the Dietary Guidelines
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.