USDA Food Patterns

The USDA Food Patterns were developed to help individuals carry out Dietary Guidelines recommendations. They 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 (empty calories). 
Recommended amounts and limits in the USDA Food Patterns at 12 calorie levels, ranging from 1,000 calories to 3,200 calories, are shown in the "USDA Food Patterns" document, below. Patterns at 1,000, 1,200, and 1,400 calorie levels meet the nutritional needs of children ages 2 to 8 years. Patterns at 1,600 calories and above meet needs for adults and children ages 9 years and older. Individuals should follow a pattern that meets their estimated calorie needs — shown in the "Estimated Calorie Needs per Day" table, below.

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