The 2020-2025 Updates to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Breakfast table with food

The dietary guidelines provide Americans with science-based advice on what to eat and drink to promote health, reduce risk for chronic disease and meet nutrition needs. Every five years the guidelines are reevaluated to ensure that they are as updated and relevant as possible. In December of 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Health and Human Services released the new dietary guidelines for Americans.

These are some highlights from the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines.

Key Takeaways:

  • The purpose of eating a healthy diet and following these guidelines is to promote individual health and prevent disease.
  • It is important to eat healthy at every stage in life. The healthy foods you may have chose in college may not be the healthy foods you choose to eat now!
  • It is important to choose foods that are both healthy and nutritious while being affordable, delicious and complimentary to family values, traditions and preferences. These guidelines recognize that not everyone likes the same thing, and one diet plan does not fit all. Eating healthy does not look the same to everyone. Emphasize the value of finding healthy foods that you like!
  • Chose nutrient-dense foods over calorie-dense foods. Nutrient-dense foods are those that are high in vitamins and minerals and low on their calories, fat and sodium content.

Healthful diets should include MORE:

  • Fruits and vegetables of all types and colors!
    • This can include frozen, fresh or canned fruits and vegetables of every color. Some awesome options include:
      • Vegetables like spinach, broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts and cucumbers.
      • Some delicious fruits options include bananas, berries, citrus fruit, cherries, melons and mangos.
  • Whole grains are half of the daily consumption of grains.
    • Whole grain choices include quinoa, brown rice, oats, whole wheat pasta, bread and crackers. Whole grain foods include the entire grain kernel, which is high in fiber, B vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Dairy sources that are low fat, lactose-free and plant-based.
    • Suggestions include yogurt, milk and cheeses. If choosing plant-based, make sure it is fortified with vitamin D and calcium.
  • Whole and lean protein foods including lean meat such as turkey and chicken and plant-based sources such as nuts and seeds.
    • Other great choices include eggs, beans, lentils, seafood and soy products such has tofu or tempeh.
  • Healthy oils such as vegetable and nut oils.

Healthful diets should include LESS sugars, saturated fat, alcohol and sodium.

  • Added sugars should be less than 10% of daily calorie consumption.
  • Saturated fat should be less than 10% of daily calorie consumption.
  • The consumption of alcoholic beverages should be limited to two standard drinks for a man and one standard drink for a woman per day.
  • Sodium should be limited to less than 2,300 milligrams per day.


Nutrition Connections Teacher
Extension Field Specialist, Health & Well-Being
Phone: (603) 749-2529
Office: Youth and Family, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824