Nutrition Philosophy

To achieve our cause to elevate the health of California children and parents, we embrace a nutrition approach that encourages individuals to eat moderate portions of a wide variety of foods. The materials and communications that we produce are based on the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans as well as these beliefs:

  1. Eat a diet based on diversity and inclusion. All foods can be part of healthful eating when managed for variety, moderation and proportionality. We do not support labeling individual foods as "good" or "bad." We recognize that favorite foods, regardless of fat or calorie content, can be part of a balanced diet when using the above principles. An eating pattern that is inclusive and diverse helps to reap long-term positive health benefits.
  2. Be positive about diet and food choices. Choose foods based on what is included in them rather than what is excluded. Rather than counting calories, make every calorie count. Eat foods with a high ratio of key nutrients to calories (low-fat and fat-free milk and dairy, whole grains, colorful fruits and vegetables, lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans and nuts). By evaluating what is eaten over time, all foods can fit in moderation.
  3. Enjoy eating with others. Challenge the palate with new and interesting flavors. Take time to savor food and plan meals to help diversify and balance the diet. We believe that sharing family meals on a regular basis improves the diet and health of children and adolescents. Enjoyable family meals are an important aspect of people's lives since they build and sustain cultural and family traditions.
  4. Customize and individualize. We value individual choice and recognize that there are multiple factors influencing food decisions, including taste, cultural and family traditions, cost, convenience, nutritional value, safety, sustainability or local production. We recognize that, on an individual basis, food choices must be customized to realistically meet varied needs and preferences.

We believe that 30 to 60 minutes of daily physical activity, along with a nutritious diet, enhances one's overall health and well-being. Physically active individuals are more able to maintain their body weight and enjoy more flexibility in food choices.

We believe that parents and families are the most important influence in children's lives and that they have primary responsibility for establishing positive attitudes toward food and developing healthy eating habits.

Food Group Chart