Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Panama

Official name

Dietary guidelines for Panama (Guías alimentarias para Panamá).

Dietary guidelines for children under 2 years from Panama (Guías Alimentarias para los menores de 2 años de Panamá)

Publication year

Panama published its first official dietary guidelines in 1997. A revised version was published in 2013. The guidelines for children under 2 were published in 2018.

Stakeholder involvement

The guidelines were revised by the Dietary Guidelines National Committee, composed of members from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, academics, nutrition associations and consumer groups. The Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama and the Pan American Health Organization provided technical assistance.

The guidelines for children under 2 were developed by the Department of Nutrition from the Ministry of Health with FAO's support.

Development process

The aim of the FBDGs is to orient people towards a healthy diet that contributes to an optimal state of health and well-being, as well as adequate growth, development and productive capacity

The development process took about two years, and consisted of two workshops: the first to define the methodology and prepare the analysis of the situation and the second to identify priority problems, objectives and technical recommendations. The recommendations were then adapted into messages; several drafts and an icon were designed and evaluated in the field. The results were then analyzed and the messages and the icon were finalized based on the feedback received.  


There is not official implementation plan for the FBDGs.


There is no official evaluation plan for the FBDGs.

Food guide

The food guide chosen is a food plate divided into five food groups: starches, cereals and cereal products; fruits and vegetables; meats; dairy products; and oils, fats and sugar. The size of the segments reflects the volume that each food group should contribute to the daily diet. The recommendation to drink 8 glasses of water a day is placed outside the plate.


Healthy population 2 years and older

  • Eat a variety of foods every day.
  • Use natural seasonings such as garlic, onion, coriander, parsley, spring onions, oregano and pepper.
  • Limit your intake of processed products high in sodium, such as artificial sauces and seasonings, dry soups, cans and jars.
  • Use little oil and cooking fats. Avoid fried foods.
  • Avoid sodas, iced tea and sugary drinks. Prefer natural juices without sugar.
  • Increase your daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables of different colours.
  • Drink water throughout the day and enjoy it.
  • Do physical activity (e.g. walking, dancing and/or sports) every day for at least 30 minutes.

Children under 2 years of age

  • Give the baby only breast milk for the first 6 months, is it better.
  • From 6 months on, offer a variety of food.
  • Prepare the child's food without adding sugar or salt.
  • At one year of age the child should eat all healthy foods that the family eats.
  • To prevent anaemia, offer meat, chicken, eggs, fish and beans. 
  • Feed children slowly, encourage eating without forcing.
  • Washing hands and food hygiene helps maintain the health of children.
  • Everyday have fun and play with the child.