Food Groups Plate

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been around for the past 41 years. The first publication was released in 1980 with revisions made every 5 years. The goal of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is to provide the public with science-based dietary guidance. The Guidelines provide advice on what to eat and drink to promote health, reduce risk of chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs.

The Guidelines are developed jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture(USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services(HHS).  In 1985 an advisory committee was established to seek outside scientific expert advice. Today, this committee continues to provide the public with the most up to date information. Each Advisory Committee is tasked with reviewing the science on nutrition and health, receiving and reviewing public comments, and preparing scientific reports to advise the Federal Government. These scientific reports are used by the USDA and HHS as they develop and revise The Guidelines for each 5 year cycle.

In December 2020, the 9th Edition of the Dietary Guidelines was released. The Dietary Guidelines have built upon previous editions and evolved as scientific knowledge has grown. The focus of the new guidelines is “Make Every Bite Count with the Dietary Guidelines.” “The Guidelines also explicitly emphasize that a healthy dietary pattern is not a rigid prescription. Rather, the Guidelines are a customizable framework of core elements within which individuals make tailored and affordable choices that meet their personal, cultural, and traditional preferences.” The Guidelines are broken into 6 chapters and developed for all stages of the lifespan. The 6 chapters include Nutrition and Health Across the Lifespan: The Guidelines and Key Recommendations, Infants and Toddlers, Children and Adolescents, Adults, Women who are pregnant or Lactating, and Older Adults.

The first chapter, Nutrition and Health Across the Lifespan, is broken down into 4 guidelines. The following are the guidelines:

Guideline 1: Follow a Healthy Dietary Pattern at Every Life Stage

Guideline 2: Customize and Enjoy Food and Beverage Choices to Reflect Personal Preferences, Cultural Traditions, and Budgetary Considerations

Guideline 3: Focus on Meeting Food Group Needs with Nutrient-Dense Foods and Beverages and Stay Within Calorie Limits

Guideline 4: Limit Foods and Beverages High in Added Sugars, Saturated Fat, and Sodium, and Limit Alcoholic Beverages.

The Dietary Guidelines have become the cornerstone of Federal food and nutrition guidance. The Guidelines encourage all Americans to start and maintain a healthy eating routine. Take a look at the full 2020-2025 guidelines at With the focus of disease prevention and health promotion, it is important for Americans to incorporate modest food and beverage changes each day that align with the Dietary Guidelines. Any steps taken towards reaching these guidelines will go unwasted in improving the health of Americans.


History of the Dietary Guidelines, 2025_StartSimple_withMyPlate_English_color.pdf

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. 9th Edition. December 2020. Available at