Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Iceland

Official name

Food-based dietary guidelines for adults and children from two years of age (Icelandic: Ráðleggingar um mataræði fyrir fullorðna og börn frá tveggja ára aldri)

Publication year

Iceland published the first version of its dietary guidelines in 2006. The revised version was published in 2014. Background documents for the FBDGs and recommended intake of nutrients were also published in 2014. 

The Nordic Nutrition Recommendations are currently being revised and expected by the end of 2022. After that the Icelandic FBDGs will be revised.

Intended audience

The dietary guidelines are directed at healthy people over 2 years of age.

Development process

The guidelines were developed by an expert group including professionals from academia and the Directorate of Health. They were endorsed by the Directorate of Health under the Ministry of Welfare. 


The Directorate of Health in Iceland is the main entity responsible for implementing the FBDGs in Iceland. There is an official implementation plan and activities are carried out mostly through promoting schools, Health promoting communities, workplaces and on demand for health staff.


The frequency of consumption of fruits, vegetables and sugar sweetened beverages, as well as the vitamin D intake is regularly monitored through an online survey among nationally sampled group of Icelanders (18 years and older).


Certain aspects have been considered, such as that there is more emphasis on consuming plant-based foods and consuming less animal-based products e.g. red meat and especially processed meat products.

It is also recommended to plan well grocery shopping and cooking, for reducing food waste.

Food guide

Iceland uses a food circle divided into six food groups: fruits and vegetables, cereals and cereal products, dairy products, animal source foods and nuts and lastly oils and visible fats. Water is at the centre of the circle and images of physical activity surround it. The circle emphasizes the importance of eating a variety of foods from the different groups and within the same group and of doing physical activity regularly.

A food plate is used to represent how foods should be distributed in a meal and served on the plate.


  • Focus on the whole diet
  • Variety of foods in reasonable quantity
  • Fruits and a lot of vegetables (5 portions a day, at least half of it should be vegetables, fruit juice not included)
  • Whole grain products, at least twice a day
  • Fish two to three times a week (desirable to have one of the fish meal fatty fish)
  • Meat in moderation (limit the consumption of red meat to 500 grams per week, especially limit the consumption of processed meat)
  • Low fat dairy products without sugar (2 portions a day)
  • Softer and healthier fats
  • Less salt
  • Less added sugar
  • Vitamin D (Vitamin D supplement, cod liver oil or vitamin –D tablets, is recommended at least during winter time