Foodary explains nutrition benefits for food items. But I always emphasize that managing dietary patterns effectively means considering food intake in total. Because too much emphasis on individual foods can lead to unbalanced eating patterns. That lack of balance might be due to people:
- Identifying foods they feel they should avoid.
- Focusing on foods they feel will help them.
In both cases, we see malnutrition from missing out on some essential nutrients. So the correct approach is to start with dietary patterns that cover all important nutrients. Then we might improve that on an individual basis. By choosing the best foods to include. Without getting rid of foods that provide essential nutrients.
We use dietary patterns to plan daily meals. Also, for analyzing how what we eat matches professional recommendations. When planning meals, it can be difficult to consider every individual food we eat in a week. So planning around food groups allows us to see the big picture. Then, within each food group, we can select the best foods that match individual needs and tastes. Also, we can use the same food groups to compare individual consumption with recommended eating patterns.
Recommended Eating Patterns
My starting point for recommended eating patterns is Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Because it sets a standard that is widely recognized. Though, many individuals might already have recommendations from their doctors. In which case, they can follow the principles here. But with reference to their own eating pattern rather than the guideline dietary patterns.
I do not use the DGA guidelines to say “this is how you should eat”. Instead, I say, “if you don’t have eating pattern recommendations from your own health professionals, DGA Dietary Patterns are a good starting point.” With the understanding that you can:
- Compare your current eating patterns with a recognized standard.
- Identify strengths and weaknesses at food group level.
- Make food choices that will help your health and wellbeing.
After that, you can discuss potential improvements with your doctor, or other health professional. So I’m definitely not telling you what to eat. But I am helping you identify areas of concern. Then you have good information when you consult professionals to advise you on changes to your personal eating pattern.
Dietary Pattern Food Groups
DGA includes dietary patterns for a range of ages, activity levels, and eating styles. Each dietary pattern consists of food groups:
- Protein Foods
Also, each dietary pattern has an allowance to complete your energy requirements. Which can be foods that are not included in any group. Or for bigger portions of foods that you like.
Your Dietary Pattern Food Groups
First, you should take time to familiarize yourself with all the food groups listed above. Noting that most of them have subgroups that you also need to understand. Then, choose the dietary pattern that most suits you from the Dietary Pattern Food Group Index.
Leave Dietary Pattern Food Groups to read Foods for Disease and Wellbeing.
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