What makes up “food”?

  • MACROnutrients - provide calories/energy

    • Carbohydrates - our #1 source of energy; the simplest form (glucose) is our body’s preferred fuel.

      • Food sources: grains, starchy vegetables, fruit, dairy

    • Protein - building blocks for cell structure, muscles, hair, finger nails, and more!

      • Food sources: animal muscle, beans, nuts & legumes, dairy, soy, some vegetables

    • Fats (AKA Lipids) - concentrated calories; provides energy, cell structures, and more!

      • Food sources: animal fat, dairy, plant oils, nuts & seeds

  • MICROnutrients - needed for chemical functions in our bodies

    • Essential Vitamins:

      • Fat Soluble: A, D, E, K

      • Water Soluble: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, and C

    • Essential Minerals:

      • Larger amounts needed: calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride, sulfur

      • Trace amounts needed: iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, selenium, fluoride

  • Other Nutrients

    • Water - needed for digestion, temperature control, joint health, and nutrient absorption

    • Fiber - soluble & insoluble food material that helps lower cholesterol and move food through the body

      • Food sources: whole grains, vegetables, fruit

Nutrient Needs & Recommended Intakes

Macronutrients- for a general healthy diet pattern, calories should be split up:

  • 45-65% from carbohydrates

  • 10-35% from protein

  • 20-35% from fats/lipids

Micronutrients- daily recommended intake of each vitamin and mineral is age, gender, and life-stage specific. See the recommended intakes HERE.

Water - needs vary, but generally aim for about half your body weight (pounds) in ounces of water intake per day. Choose foods (fruit, broth, etc) with high water content as well!

Fiber - for adults:

  • Women: 25 grams/day

  • Men: 38 grams/day

Putting it Together in a Meal: MyPlate & Portion Sizes

USDA MyPlate

An easy way to get a variety of essential nutrients in your meal is to use the MyPlate as a template:

1. Make half your plate fruits & vegetables.

2. Make one quarter of your plate a whole grain.

3. Make one quarter of your plate a lean protein.

4. Include a low-fat dairy on the side.

5. Healthy fats/oils can should be used in moderation for flavoring and cooking agents.


Determine Your Nutrition Needs:

Click “Start” to estimate your daily calorie needs and view your MyPlate plan for food group recommendations.

Common Diets & Eating Patterns

Popular/Fad Diets (Note: the patterns below are generally attempted/used for weight loss and are not followed for an indefinite amount of time.)

  1. Paleo Diet

  2. Ketogenic (Keto) Diet

  3. Plant Paradox “Lectin-free” Diet

  4. Zone Diet

  5. Intermittent Fasting Diets

  6. Detox & Cleanses

Evidence-Based Eating Patterns (Note: these patterns below are generally meant to be followed as a long-term eating plan for disease prevention and sustained good health.)

  1. DASH Diet

  2. Mediterranean Diet

  3. Vegetarian & Vegan Eating Patterns

A note on weight loss…

…The AHA/ACC/TOS Guideline for the Management of Overweight and Obesity in Adults recommends that any diet pattern that restricts caloric intake can induce weight loss. Considerations include chronic disease, nutrient supplementation, and personal choice.

To help decide which type of diet is right for you, work with a Licensed & Registered Dietitian. They are the nutrition experts and have training in developing personalized diets, meal plans, and medical context.

The 8 Common Food Allergens

  1. Milk

  2. Eggs

  3. Peanuts

  4. Tree Nuts

  5. Wheat

  6. Soy

  7. Fish

  8. Shellfish