Healthy Eating Patterns for retirement

From the USDA/USDHHS Guidelines : “A healthy eating pattern focuses on nutrient-dense foods—vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, lean meats and poultry, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds that are prepared without added solid fats, sugars, starches, and sodium. Combined into an eating pattern, these foods can provide the full range of essential nutrients and fiber, without excessive calories. The oils contained in seafood, nuts and seeds, and vegetable oils added to foods also contribute essential nutrients.”
USDA Food Patterns
“The USDA Food Patterns identify daily amounts of foods, in nutrient-dense forms, to eat from five major food groups and their subgroups. The patterns also include an allowance for oils and limits on the maximum number of calories that should be consumed from solid fats and added sugars. The food patterns were developed to meet nutrient needs, as identified by the Dietary Reference Intakes and the Dietary Guidelines, while not exceeding calorie requirements. Though they have not been specifically tested for health benefits, they are similar to the DASH research diet and consistent with most of the measures of adherence to Mediterranean-type eating patterns.”
“The USDA Food Patterns emphasize selection of most foods in nutrient-dense forms—that is, with little or no solid fats and added sugars. A maximum limit for calories from solid fats and added sugars in each pattern allows for some foods that have a higher level of solid fat, or a small amount of added solid fat or added sugars. If choices that are not nutrient dense are routinely eaten, total calories will be over-consumed due to increased calories from solid fats and added sugars. If all food and beverage choices were in forms typically consumed rather than nutrient-dense forms, intake from the food groups and oils in the 2,000-calorie pattern would actually be about 2,400 calories, or 400 calories above the target calorie level.”
“The USDA Food Patterns recommend selecting a variety of foods within each food group. This allows for personal choice, and helps to ensure that the foods and beverages selected by individuals over time provide a mix of nutrients that will meet their needs. Recommended weekly intake amounts are specified for the five vegetable subgroups (dark-green, red and orange, beans and peas, starchy, and other vegetables). In the protein foods group, 8 or more ounces per week of seafood is recommended (less in patterns for young children), and in the grain group, selecting at least half of all grains as whole grains is recommended. In the fruit and dairy groups, there are no quantitative recommendations for making selections within the group. However, selecting more fruit rather than juice, and more fat-free or low-fat vitamin D-fortified milk or yogurt than cheese is encouraged. ”

Vegetarian Adaptations of the USDA food Patterns
“The USDA Food Patterns allow for additional flexibility in choices through their adaptations for vegetarians—a vegan pattern that contains only plant foods and a lacto-ovo vegetarian pattern that includes milk and milk products and eggs. The adaptations include changes in the protein foods group and, in the vegan adaptation, in the dairy group.”
“The vegan dairy group includes calcium-fortified beverages and foods commonly used as substitutes for milk and milk products. These vegetarian variations represent healthy eating patterns, but rely on fortified foods for some nutrients. In the vegan patterns especially, fortified foods provide much of the calcium and vitamin B12, and either fortified foods or supplements should be selected to provide adequate intake of these nutrients.”
DASH Eating Plan(Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)
“The DASH Eating Plan was developed based on findings from the DASH research studies. It limits saturated fatty acids and cholesterol and focuses on increasing intake of foods rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, protein, and fiber. The DASH Eating Plan also is very consistent with Dietary Guidelines recommendations and with most measures of adherence to Mediterranean-type eating patterns. It is rich in fruits, vegetables, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, whole grains, fish, poultry, seeds, and nuts. It contains less sodium, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages, fats, and red meats than the typical American diet.”
Mediterranean-style eating patterns
“A large number of cultures and agricultural patterns exist in countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, so the “Mediterranean diet” is not one eating pattern. No single set of criteria exists for what constitutes a traditional Mediterranean eating pattern. However, in general terms, it can be described as an eating pattern that emphasizes vegetables, fruits and nuts, olive oil, and grains (often whole grains) and fish. Only small amounts of meats and full-fat milk and milk products are usually included. It has a high mono-unsaturated to saturated fatty acid intake ratio and often includes wine with meals. In most studies, individuals with a higher Mediterranean diet score have reduced cardiovascular disease risk factors, reduced incidence of cardiovascular disease, and a lower rate of total mortality.”


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Full USDA/USDHHS guidelines can be found here.