Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - United Kingdom

Official name

Eatwell Guide 

Publication year

The United Kingdom published its first set of dietary guidelines in 1994, and they have been regularly updated since then. The national food guide, then known as ‘The Balance of Good Health’, was launched in 1994. It was revised and named ‘The eatwell plate’ in 2007.

The most recent model, the Eatwell Guide, was published in March 2016.

Process and stakeholders

The revision of the eatwell plate to the Eatwell Guide in 2016 was led by Public Health England.

The Eatwell Guide has been accepted across government departments and by Food Standards Scotland, the Welsh Government and by the Food Standards Agency in Northern Ireland.

Intended audience

The Eatwell Guide is the key nutrition policy tool for health professionals and others working to improve dietary health. It is supported by the 8 tips for eating well. 

The guidelines are directed at the general population from the age of 2 years. Between the ages of 2 and 5 years, children should start moving towards the diet depicted in the Eatwell Guide.

Food guide

The UK’s national food guide, the Eatwell Guide, is a visual representation of how different foods contribute towards a varied and nutritious diet. It is based on 5 food groups and shows the proportion that each food group should contribute to a healthy balanced diet.


  1. Eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
  2. Base meals on potatoes, bread, rice, pasta or other starchy carbohydrates; choosing wholegrain versions where possible.
  3. Have some dairy or dairy alternatives (such as soya drinks); choosing lower fat and lower sugar options.
  4. Eat some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other proteins (including 2 portions of fish every week, one of which should be oily).
  5. Choose unsaturated oils and spreads and eat in small amounts
  6. Drink 6-8 cups/glasses of fluid a day.

If consuming foods and drinks high in fat, salt or sugar, have these less often and in small amounts.

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