Dietary guidelines are put in place to help promote healthy diet and lifestyle. Different countries tend to have slightly different guidelines when it comes to eating healthy. Guidelines are usually based on staple foods in that country. Religion can also play a role in the guidelines.

In these next few blogs I am going to look at healthy eating guidelines for Ireland, Mediterranean guidelines, Asian guidelines and Nordic guidelines. Then I will compare them to see what we can take from these different guidelines to possibly improve our diets as well as making them more exciting!

First I will look at the Healthy eating Guidelines for Ireland.

In Ireland the Department of Health works in conjunction with other nutrition experts to produce ‘Healthy food for life’ resources. These are given in the form a leaflet, a food pyramid, sample daily meal plans, guidelines on portion sizes and fact sheets… (‘National Policy Priority Programmes – HSE.ie,’ 2018)

Shelf number (from bottom to top of pyramid)Type of food
1st shelfcontains Fruit & Vegetables. The recommended servings of fruit & vegetables is 5-7 portions per day.
2nd shelfStarchy foods such as wholegrains, cereals, breads, potatoes, pasta and rice.  The number of servings depends on gender, age, activity level and body type.  Males are recommended to eat more servings of carbohydrate foods than females and more active people are recommended to eat more servings than inactive people.  Age is also an important factor as elderly people are less able to burn off energy due to their metabolism slowing down and it will be stored as fat  (Ireland, 2018),
3rd shelfDairy (milk, yoghurt and cheese), 3 servings per day is recommended and 5 servings if you’re aged between 9 and 13 years because it is a time of rapid growth.  It is recommended to choose low fat, unsweetened dairy foods
4th shelfContains protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs, beans and nuts.  It is recommended to have 2 servings per day and to use healthy cooking methods (stir-fry, grill, bake, boil or steam).  It is advised to eat lean red meat or use chicken, turkey or fish as alternatives.  Fish should be eaten at least twice a week, especially oily fish, which is good source omega 3 fatty acids.
5th shelfContains fats, spreads & oils.  It is recommended to use these in very small amounts and to use healthy oils such as rapeseed, canola, sunflower and unrefined olive oil.  Also use poly-unsaturated reduced fat or light spreads.
6th shelfThe top shelf has been separated from the rest of the shelves because it contains foods high in fat, sugar and salt.  These foods are unnecessary in the diet and should be avoided. 
Image 1: Irish food Pyramid (Revised)
The food pyramid gives easy to understand healthy lifestyle advice for adults, teenagers and children aged 5 and over. 

The guidelines also give advice on how much physical activity is required to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  For adults 30 minutes a day 5 day a week is advised.  For children 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.   At least 8 cups of water is recommended per day (Ireland, 2018).

Realistically I know of very little people who actually follow these guidelines, but I think if you at least try to include 5-7 portions of fruit and vegetables per day, eat more wholegrain foods, drink enough water and eat less sugary fatty foods you’d be doing good.

Tomorrow I will be putting up information on the amazing Mediterranean diet that has so many proven health benefits, and also can be so tasty!


Ireland, H. (2018) ‘Healthy Eating Guidelines – healthyireland.ie’.

National Food Agency (2018). Available at: https://www.livsmedelsverket.se/en (Accessed: 14th October 2018).

‘National Policy Priority Programmes – HSE.ie’,  (2018).

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