What does 2,300 milligrams of sodium look like? Lots of us were left wondering about this and other points released this week in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. As Sam explained last June when the initial guidelines were released, the Dietary Guidelines are revised every five years and contain the government’s recommendations for healthful eating. There is already criticism and praise for the new advice, with debate over whether they go far enough or are plenty adequate in guiding our eating choices. Not to mention the controversy of industry involvement.
Either way, the advice isn’t really new. It contains information many of us know, and know fairly well. This country readily absorbs diet books, nutrition websites and all sorts of factoids and tidbits about what’s “good” or “bad” to eat, when, and in what amount. The heart of these recommendations lies in what we’re planning to do with the information. How do we apply what we know? How do the Guidelines turn into action steps? Whether we’re heeding the advice of the new Guidelines, or setting out to make other personal changes, consider these elements:
- Start right where you are. If you’re planning to make changes to your eating pattern, think of your changes on a continuum. Redefine what healthy eating means to you. Healthy eating could be regular, consistent meals eaten at a table. It could mean eating out less frequently, consuming more whole grains, or incorporating meatless meals. Striving to include more vegetables? Consider frozen. Concerned about reducing sodium intake? Pick 2- 3 higher sodium products to consume less often.
- Set small, attainable goals and write them down. Harness the power of being concrete and having the written word in front of you. If it’s important to you, record it. Find the small steps between now and the future rather than feeling overwhelmed that change will never happen. We wrote down our healthy eating goals. Perhaps some of our goals will inspire you!
- Stop feeling guilty. Relax, please. As a culture, we become so consumed with needing to do things the right way, rather than focusing on our journey and enjoying the learning process. Avoid depriving yourself, continue to include foods you truly enjoy, and find the pleasure in preparing and eating food.
Do you have any opinions on the new Guidelines? Do they impact what your shopping or eating choices?