Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Cyprus

Official name

National nutrition and exercise guidelines (Greek: εθνικές οδηγίες διατροφής και άσκησης).

Publication year

The Cypriot dietary guidelines were published in 2007.

Process and stakeholders

The guidelines were developed by a multi-sectoral group headed by the Ministry of Health and involving the Ministry of Education, consumer and nutrition associations and non-governmental organizations.
The guidelines are endorsed by the Ministries of Health and Education.

Intended audience

Cyprus has two sets of guidelines, one directed at the general population and another at children aged 6–12 years.

Food guide

Cyprus uses a food pyramid divided into nine levels: cereals, vegetables and fruits fill the first and second levels, respectively. These are followed by olive oil, dairy products, fish and seafood, and lean meats (excluding red meat). On the last three levels are legumes and olives, products high in sugar and fat, and red meat.


  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Do regular exercise such as walking, swimming, cycling or jogging, most days of the week or daily, 30–45 minutes, continuously or intermittently.
  • Increase your physical activity through everyday activities such as using stairs, cycling, walking and gardening.
  • Choose a form of exercise that is enjoyable and a way of life for you, your family and your friends.
  • Consume a traditional Mediterranean diet with lots of legumes, fish, olive oil, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables. Eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Use oil (4.2 tablespoons per day) on a daily basis, in salads and in cooking. Prefer olive oil.
  • Increase your intake of fibre and complex carbohydrates by using whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit with the peel on.
  • Avoid food supplies from sources of questionable origin. Keep food at the correct temperature, for example those that must be frozen below 5 ºC and cooked at higher temperature of 60 ºC.
  • Include the correct ratio of fats in your diet.
  • Reduce the consumption of sugar, preferring appropriate beverages and foods with reduced or no sugar.
  • Limit the intake of salt (< 5 g daily). Do not add extra salt to your food, and salt cellars should be removed from the table.
  • Drink 6–8 glasses of water a day.
  • If you drink alcohol, do not exceed one drink for women and two for men per day. Prefer red wine, as it is rich in antioxidants.
  • Pay attention to cooking methods – preferably bake, steam or boil; and only add small amounts of fat.
  • Pay attention to calcium intake in your daily diet. Skimmed milk is recommended (i.e. containing 0–1% fat) or low fat (< 2% fat), which is rich in calcium.
  • Always read the labels of packaged foods (date, methods of preparation and preservation, other special instructions/indications).
  • Limit your intake of highly processed foods because they contribute significantly to the consumption of calories, fat and salt in our diet.
  • Breakfast is the most important part of our daily diet. Lunch should be the main meal and the evening meal should be very light.
  • Eat foods with the correct micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). Brightly coloured vegetables and fruits (such as spinach, carrots, peaches, blackberries, etc.) are preferable because they contain higher levels of micronutrients than others such as potatoes.