WASHINGTON — A tax on sugary drinks and snacks is one way a government panel of nutrition experts thinks Americans can be coaxed into eating better. Some members of Congress are already pushing back on the idea, saying the panel has overstepped its bounds.

The panel’s recommendations will help determine what gets into the new version of dietary guidelines being prepared by the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments. The advice includes eating more fruits and vegetables and whole grains and limiting added sugars and fat.

However, the panel goes beyond previous versions of the dietary guidelines by suggesting a broad list of possible policy changes – a tax is just one – that could make it easier for people to follow that diet advice.

Such taxes have mostly failed to gain traction around the country, though voters in Berkeley, California, approved a special, per-ounce tax on sugary drinks in November. In New York City, former Mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to cap the size of sugary drinks sold in restaurants and other venues at 16 ounces, but legal challenges spearheaded by the beverage industry brought down the effort in the courts.

Other ideas put forth by the committee were placing nutrition labels on the front of food packages and requiring public buildings to serve healthier foods. The committee also suggested incentives for eating fruits and vegetables, though it didn’t detail how that could work.

The panel endorsed adding a line on the nutrition facts label for added sugars, which the Obama administration has already proposed. It also backed the administration’s standards for healthier school lunches.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., criticized the report shortly after it came out Thursday, saying the committee strayed from its science-based nutrition recommendations.

“This is economic, not nutrition, policy,” he said.