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Move More and Eat Smarter: USDA Guidelines 2005


Updated June 07, 2014

Eat a Healthy Diet
Wendy Bumgardner ©

To battle unhealthy weight gain over time, the USDA released new Dietary Guidelines for Americans in January, 2005. The message is clear: Move more and eat a balanced nutrient-dense diet.

Physical Activity

Get Moving!: Engage in regular physical activity and reduce sedentary activities to promote health, psychological well-being, and a healthy body weight.

30 Minutes of Moderate Exercise a Day: To reduce the risk of chronic disease in adulthood engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, above usual activity, at work or home on most days of the week.
Adding 2000 More Steps to Your Day

For Weight Loss: 60 Minutes of Exercise a Day: To help manage body weight and prevent gradual, unhealthy body weight gain in adulthood: Engage in approximately 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week.
Walking Off Weight

To Sustain Weight Loss in Adulthood: Participate in at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity while not exceeding caloric intake requirements. Some people may need to consult with a healthcare provider before participating in this level of activity. while not exceeding caloric intake requirements.
Walking Workouts

More Exercise for Most People: For most people, greater health benefits can be obtained by engaging in physical activity of more vigorous intensity or longer duration.

A Variety of Exercise: Achieve physical fitness by including cardiovascular conditioning, stretching exercises for flexibility, and resistance exercises or calisthenics for muscle strength and endurance.

Adequate Nutrients Within Calorie Needs

Nutrient Dense Foods: Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups while choosing foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.

Balance Your Diet: Meet recommended intakes within energy needs by adopting a balanced eating pattern, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Guide or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan.

Weight Management

Food Groups to Encourage

  • Fruits and Vegetable Guidelines: Consume a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables while staying within energy needs. Two cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day are recommended for a reference 2,000-calorie intake, with higher or lower amounts depending on the calorie level.
  • Vary Your Fruits and Vegetables: Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. In particular, select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.
  • Whole Grains: Consume 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains.
  • Milk and Milk Products: Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.
    Diets and Portions


  • Saturated Fats and Cholesterol: Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids and less than 300 mg/day of cholesterol, and keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible.
    Deciphering the Fats
  • Total Fats: Keep total fat intake between 20 to 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
  • Choose Lean: When selecting and preparing meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products, make choices that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free.
  • Choice Your Oils and Fats: Limit intake of fats and oils high in saturated fats and/or trans fatty acids, and choose products low in such fats and oils.


  • Fiber: Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains often.
    Fiber in Your Diet
  • Limit the Sweets: Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners, such as amounts suggested by the USDA Food Guide and the DASH Eating Plan.
  • Prevent Cavities: Reduce the incidence of dental caries by practicing good oral hygiene and consuming sugar- and starch-containing foods and beverages less frequently. Taking Care of Your Teeth

Next: Sodium and Potassium, Alcohol, Food Safety

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