EXTENSION CORNER: Health can be improved at any age with a healthy diet

Cornell Cooperative Extension-Yates County

SNAP-Ed New York can help you “Make Every Bite Count” with the New Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been released, and SNAP-Ed New York – Southern Finger Lakes Region is integrating the new science and recommendations of the Guidelines into their nutrition education programming.

Though the new Guidelines share some similarities to the previous ones, the 2020 Guidelines include some firsts, including specific nutrition recommendations across the lifespan, guidance on alcohol consumption, and an emphasis on adapting eating patterns to fit cultural traditions. One notable finding: When the 20 scientists on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reviewed all of the research, they found that health can be improved at any age with a healthy diet.

“Since the Dietary Guidelines for Americans form the basis of our programs, it’s exciting to see them evolve. This most recent edition is particularly encouraging – not only because they meet our participants where they are at, but because they emphasize that small changes in how people eat really add up to big improvements in health,” said Justine Cobb, SNAP-Ed New York Project Director.

Jointly published by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) every five years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide science-based recommendations designed to foster healthy dietary patterns for Americans of all ages.

The theme of the new Guidelines is “Make Every Bite Count,” referring to the emphasis placed on nutrient-dense foods – foods and beverages that provide vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting components but have little added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. Examples of nutrient-dense foods include fruits without added sugar, vegetables without added salt, butter, or oil, low-fat dairy products like skim or 1% milk, and lean meats like fish, shellfish, or poultry without the skin. These types of foods form the core elements of a healthy eating pattern and are integral in improving health.

“SNAP-Ed New York – Southern Finger Lakes Region offers a wide variety of classes that help participants learn how to shop for, prepare, and enjoy nutrient-dense foods, all while staying within their budget,” says Olivia Dates, Senior Nutritionist, SNAP-Ed New York – Southern Finger Lakes Region.

For a schedule of classes offered by SNAP-Ed or for healthy-eating tips or recipes, visit www.snapedny.org. More information on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, including specifics for each life stage, can be found at www.dietaryguidelines.gov.

SNAP-Ed New York is a federally funded evidence-based program that helps people lead healthier lives. SNAP-Ed Nutrition Education is free to all individuals who qualify for and/or receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP-Ed teaches people using or eligible for SNAP about good nutrition, how to make their food dollars stretch further and the importance of being physically active. SNAP-Ed New York provides nutrition education lessons, materials and sponsors education events and classes in communities across New York State. Visit www.snapedny.org to find a program in your community. SNAP-Ed New York – Southern Finger Lakes region supports residents of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates counties.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide science-based recommendations designed to foster healthy dietary patterns for Americans of all ages