Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Guatemala

Official name

Dietary guidelines for Guatemala. Recommendations for healthy eating (Spanish: Guías alimentarias para Guatemala. Recomendaciones para una alimentación saludable).

Dietary guidelines for Guatemalan children under two years of age (Spanish: Guías alimentarias para la población guatemalteca menor de dos años).

Publication year

The first set of food-based dietary guidelines for the population over the age of 2 was published in 1996. A revised version was published in 2012.

The dietary guidelines for children under 2 years of age were published in 2003.

Process and stakeholders

The Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance led the revision of the dietary guidelines through the National Dietary Guidelines Committee (comprised of representatives from ministries, the Secretariat of Food and Nutritional Security, universities, consumer groups, the national nutrition association, non-governmental organizations and the food industry).

The country received support and technical assistance from the FAO, the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama, the Pan American Health Organization, UNICEF and the US Agency for International Development.

The guidelines are endorsed by the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance.

Intended audience

Guatemala has two sets of guidelines, one directed at the general public (aged 2 years and over) and another one for children under the age of 2 years.

Food guide

Guatemala´s food guide is a clay pot, known as ‘the family pot’. The bottom of the pot is made of cereals, whole grains and tubers, followed by vegetables and fruits. In the next level there are animal-source foods, dairy products and incaparina. Fats (including avocado and seeds) and sugars can be found at the top. Crowning the pot there are images of physical activity and water.


  • Eat a variety of foods every day, as shown in the family pot, because it is healthier and less expensive.
  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits every day, because they contain many vitamins.
  • Eat beans and tortillas every day: eat two tablespoons of beans per tortilla, because they provide more nutrients and fill you up more.
  • Eat eggs, cheese, milk or incaparina three times a week or more, because they are important for children’s growth and your family’s health.
  • Eat a piece of meat, chicken, liver or fish at least twice a week to avoid anaemia and malnutrition.
  • Eat seeds and nuts such as cashew nuts, peanuts, beans and sesame seeds because they complement your diet.
  • Eat less margarine, cream, butter, chips and cold meats to take care of your heart and spend less money.
  • Prepare foods with little salt to prevent disease.
  • Exercise or take a fast walk for half an hour or more every day, because it is good for your health.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol because it damages your health.