Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Lebanon

Official name

The Food-Based Dietary Guideline Manual for Promoting Healthy Eating in the Lebanese Adult Population

Publication year

The guidelines for the Lebanese adult population were launched in 2013. 

Process and stakeholders

The manual was developed as part of a research grant received from the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research and adopted by both the Council and the Ministry of Public Health.

Intended audience

The manual has been adopted by the Ministry of Public Health for its dissemination to policy makers, health-care providers, nutritionists, and dietitians in Lebanon. Scientific and official institutions look upon this manual as a vital foundation for supporting the national nutrition strategy in Lebanon.

The guidelines aim at promoting general health, improving dietary behaviour, and reducing the risk of chronic non-communicable diseases among Lebanese adults. They are meant to be used in various settings, such as in hospitals, private clinics, homes, and universities, as well as in health-related businesses.

Food guide

The Lebanese Cedar Food Guide provides a graphic illustration of the food groups and the recommended intakes from each for Lebanese adults, to ensure a varied and balanced diet providing 2,000 calories. It also provides a graphic illustration of the recommendations on safe water consumption and engagement in physical activity for improving general health.

  • The crown/foliage of the cedar is divided into 6 food groups, in the following order from top to bottom, with the respective serving sizes and associated messages:
    • Top: solid fats, oils, sugar and salt (Limit Consumption)
    • Middle: low-fat milk and dairy (3 servings per day); lean meats, eggs, legumes and unsalted nuts and seeds (5-6.5 servings per day); fruit (2 servings per day) and vegetables (2-3 servings per day)
    • Bottom: cereals (at least 6 servings per day with at least half of the servings being whole grain)
  • The trunk of the cedar features a glass of water denoting consumption of safe water (around 8-12 cups per day).
  • A photo of a young man and woman engaged in a form of exercise (jogging) represents the recommendations for physical activity (at least 30 minutes 5 days a week).

The recommended intakes from each of the five food groups and the serving equivalents for each group are adapted from recommendations of the United Sates Department of Agriculture (USDA MyPlate, 2011).


  • Enjoy and maintain a healthy body weight
  • Be physically active every day
  • Eat a variety of nutritious foods every day for a balanced diet
  • Eat cereals, especially whole grains, as the basis of daily meals
  • Enjoy more fruit and vegetables daily
  • Consume legume-based dishes regularly and enjoy some unsalted nuts and seeds
  • Consume low-fat milk and dairy products every day
  • Consume at least two servings of fish, including fatty fish, every week
  • Consume lean red meat and poultry
  • Limit intake of sugar, especially added sugar from sweetened foods and beverages
  • Limit intake of solid fats and replace with vegetable oils
  • Limit intake of table-salt and high-salt foods
  • Drink plenty of safe water every day
  • Eat safe food