What are the Key Elements of Healthy Eating Patterns?
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What are the Key Elements of Healthy Eating Patterns?

What are the Key Elements of Healthy Eating Patterns?

This is a common question. The good news is eating healthier is not complicated or expensive! Below are 5 high level guidelines with more details to follow.

#1 Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.

All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

#2 Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount.

#3 Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.

#4 Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.

To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.

#5 Support healthy eating patterns for all.

Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices.

Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.


Small incremental changes lead to sustainable lifestyle change. Don’t attempt to tackle all 5 guidelines at once. Say sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) is your weakness. Stopping cold turkey is setting yourself up for failure and misery. Say you drink 4 per day, reduce to 2 per day. Assess how you feel after a week. Some even experience weight loss with just a simple change as this. Gradually reduce to 1 per day. As the eating pattern improves and motivation, energy levels, and discipline increases, the desire for SSB will lessen.  Remember the body can adapt to anything, our MIND is a different story…..