Historical Information

Basic 7 food guide

U.S. Department of Agriculture
Find information on the history of dietary guidance including older editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the history of the National School Lunch program and other food assistance programs. See more history of nutrition and foods:



Agricultural Research Service Historical Timeline

USDA. Agricultural Research Service.

A summary of historical research carried out by the scientists of the USDA and the Agricultural Research Service from the 1860s to the present.


Development of the USDA Food Plans: The 1983 Family Food Plans

USDA. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Provides historical information on the development of the 1983 USDA family food plans including the Thrifty, Low-Cost, Moderate-Cost, and Liberal Food Plans, which represent nutritious diets at different costs. The Thrifty Food Plan is the basis for food stamp allotments.


Dietary Recommendations and How They Have Changed Over Time

USDA. Economic Research Service.

Published in 1999, this paper describes how USDA dietary recommendations evolved since the late 1800's to keep pace with scientific findings and changing patterns of food consumption.


FoodReview: Spotlight on the U.S. Food System

USDA. Economic Research Service.

Includes several articles on America's changing eating patterns.


Dietary Guidelines for Americans: A Historical Overview (PDF|233KB)

USDA. NAL. Food and Nutrition Information Center.

Historical compilation of the professional reviews and commentaries of the Dietary Goals for the United States and Dietary Guidelines for Americans documents published between 1977-2006 by governmental and non-governmental agencies, scientists, and educators.


Books Looking for old versions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans? Find them here.

Also find a summary table comparing the major components of the five Dietary Guidelines editions published 1980 to 2000.


Pattern for Daily Food Choices (1984 - Present)

USDA. NAL. Food and Nutrition Information Center.

Collection of food guides images, including the Food Guide Pyramid, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and American Red Cross Food Wheel.


FoodReview: Annual Spotlight on the U.S. Food System

USDA. Economic Research Service.

This issue of FoodReview is the annual spotlight on the U.S. food system, 2000, featuring articles on food consumption and spending, food markets, food assistance and nutrition, and food safety. Volume 23, Issue 3.


Nutrient Content of the U.S. Food Supply, 1909-1997 (PDF | 674 KB)

USDA. Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion.

Presents historical data on the nutrient content of the food supply in the United States. Includes data on macronutrients as well as 19 vitamins and minerals.


Student Eating School Lunch National School Lunch Program Background and Development

USDA. Food and Nutrition Service.

Provides information on the historical development of the National School Lunch Program. Also includes links to the background information for the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the National School Breakfast Program.