All life stages accounted for in the new dietary guidelines

Grapes, tomato, lettuce, bread, cheese, meat, and red pepper.
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Years of scientific research tells us that there is a connection between food and health. Evidence shows that a healthy diet as part of an active lifestyle can reduce the risk of chronic disease. However, with nutritional advice constantly circulating the internet, how do we know what is sound advice based on scientific research? Since 1980, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans has served as the overarching tool for health professionals to help guide the eating habits of individuals and families. Published every five years, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), issue the report, based on current scientific and medical knowledge.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released this January, and for the first time ever, it provides recommendations at every life stage, including infancy, toddlerhood, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, pregnancy, lactation, and older adulthood. Specific to infancy, it recommends feeding babies breast milk for the first 6 months of life, then adding nutrient-dense complementary foods, including potentially allergenic foods and foods rich in iron and zinc. University of Illinois Extension’s website, Feeding my Baby from Cradle to Table, includes more information on feeding infants during this critical time for growth and development.

The new guidelines are not a rigid set of rules, but rather a customizable approach that reflects one’s personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations. The premise of the guidelines are to primarily consume nutrient-dense foods and beverages to meet one’s nutritional needs, which include all types of vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, protein foods, and oils. Look to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans for nutrition recommendations you can trust.


Broccoli Potato Soup (Printable PDF)

4 cups broccoli, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup evaporated skim milk

1 cup instant mashed potato flakes

Salt and pepper to taste, optional

¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Wash hands. Combine broccoli, onion and broth in large stewpot. Bring to boil; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add milk to soup. Slowly stir in potatoes. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Season with salt and pepper. If soup starts to become too thick, stir in a little more milk or water. Ladle into serving bowls. Sprinkle with 1 Tablespoon cheese over each serving.

Yield: 4 servings


Nutrition Facts (per serving): 194 calories, 5 grams fat, 310 milligrams sodium, 26 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 15 grams protein


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