Nick and Diana now realize that they were right about making changes to their lifestyle. They did some research and now have a much better idea of the types and amounts of foods they should be choosing every meal and have already started increasing their daily physical activity. But they haven’t been cooking a lot in recent years and aren’t so sure about how to put healthy meals together. Where can they find ideas?
Still not exactly sure what to eat? To get you started, here are resources with some sample menus, many of which provide about 2,000 calories a day. Of course, the exact calorie count can vary, depending on preparation and ingredients. Nevertheless, these should give you an idea of how to plan meals around the Dietary Guidelines suggestions.
You can also find an interactive, online menu planner at http://hp2010.nhlbihin.net/menuplanner/menu.cgi . Sample menus and exchange lists for 1,200 -and 1,600-calorie menus are available at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/sampmenu.htm . This website offers examples of traditional American cuisine, Asian-American cuisine, southern cuisine, Mexican-American cuisine, and lacto-ovo vegetarian cuisine.
You can also get personalized menu planning help based on the Dietary Guidelines at www.choosemyplate.gov —your own Daily Food Plan. At this website, you’ll also find a lot more information about the food groups and how to follow the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. We’ve included four of their 2,000-calorie sample menus in Appendix 2 .
Economical and tasty recipes that follow the Dietary Guidelines and include nutrition facts label information are available online in English and Spanish at http://recipefinder.nal.usda.gov .
Sample menus and some recipes for the DASH eating plan are available from NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Your Guide to Lowering Your Blood Pressure with DASH  is available online, or see For More Information  to learn how to contact NHLBI.
There are a number of other websites with recipes for healthy dishes, including nutrition information, at: