Brazil rocked the nutrition world and made international headlines in recent weeks when it unveiled its new dietary guidelines.
The list earned high marks from nutrition experts for focusing on food – a valuable approach because while the science sets the foundation, at the end of the day people consume food (e.g. an apple) rather than individual nutrients (e.g. fiber or saturated fat).
The newly released 10 Brazilian guidelines are as follows:
1. Prepare meals from staple and fresh foods.
2. Use oils, fats, sugar and salt in moderation.
3. Limit consumption of ready-to-consume food and drink products.
4. Eat regular meals, paying attention, and in appropriate environments.
5. Eat in company whenever possible.
6. Buy food at places that offer varieties of fresh foods. Avoid those that mainly sell products ready for consumption.
7. Develop, practice, share and enjoy your skills in food preparation and cooking.
8. Plan your time to give meals and eating proper time and space.
9. When you eat out, choose restaurants that serve freshly made dishes and meals. Avoid fast food chains.
10. Be critical of the commercial advertisement of food products.
There’s a lot that we Americans can learn from their approach: this list gives us a sensible yet specific road map for how to get the best from our food. It warns us to be critical of advertising, and to choose restaurants that will offer us freshly prepared options that won’t undermine our health. It points us in the direction of one of the most powerful tools to transform our own kitchens. And it reminds us that taste, pleasure, and sharing meals with those we cherish are as much a part of a deeply healthy, deeply nourishing eating experience as any Nutrition Facts panel.
So take a look and ask yourself: Which of these 10 guidelines am I currently practicing, and what can I put into practice to move the state of your plate closer toward health and a healthy body weight? Pick one to get started on – and you’ll quickly start nudging the needle of your own health in the right direction.