photograph of vegetables

Healthy eating guidelines

It is important that each country develops their own healthy eating guidelines.

Why different?

Guidelines for healthy eating for children differ from country to country . This is because each country throughout the world has its own cultural traditions and the availability of foods can differ between and within countries based on factors such as climate, accessibility and affordability.

General guidelines

Most guidelines provide recommendations on the different food groups and the number and sizes of servings that should be eaten from these food groups per day. Other guidelines take a more general approach to recommendations.

Key messages from the current United Kingdom Dietary Guidelines for children from 2 years of age and for adults– ‘The EatWell Guide’ are listed below:

  • Eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables a day
  • Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates (Choose wholegrain where possible)
  • Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks and yoghurts). Choose lower-fat and lower-sugar options
  • Eat some protein rich foods such as beans, pulses, and meat (including fish) or meat alternatives (e.g. tofu)
  • Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts
  • Eat less foods high in fat, salt and sugar, and when consuming them do so in small amounts
  • Drink plenty of fluids – the Government recommends 6-8 cups/glasses a day

Guidelines for children under two

For children under two years of age, there are separate guidelines which cover the introduction of solids. These guidelines can be accessed here.

Conversation starter

  • Do the UK guidelines differ from that of your own country?
  • How do these guidelines differ from other countries?
  • Is the whole 0-5 age group represented?

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This article is from the free online course:

Preventing Childhood Obesity: an Early Start to Healthy Living

University of Wollongong