Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - New Zealand

Official name

New Zealand food and nutrition guidelines.

Publication year

The Ministry of Health has published food and nutrition guidelines for different population groups since the 1990s. Most of the documents have undergone the third and fourth revisions.

Process and stakeholders

The New Zealand Ministry of Health, in collaboration with universities, develops the background papers for the guidelines, based on the latest available scientific information and considered for the New Zealand context. There are background papers for five population groups: adults, pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and toddlers (0–2 years), children and young people (2–18 years), and older people.

Health education resources are developed for use by the general public to accompany each guideline background paper.

The food and nutrition guidelines are endorsed by the Ministry of Health.

Intended audience

The background papers are for health practitioners and others involved in promoting healthy eating and/or physical activity to New Zealanders.

Health education resources are for the public.


Guideline statements for healthy adults:

  1. Maintain a healthy body weight by eating well and by daily physical activity. At least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most if not all days of the week and if possible add some vigorous exercise for extra health and fitness.
  2. Eat well by including a variety of nutritious foods from each of the four major food groups each day
    • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits.
    • Eat plenty of breads and cereals, preferably wholegrain.
    • Include milk and milk products in your diet, preferably reduced or low-fat options.
    • Include lean meat, poultry, seafood, eggs or alternatives.
  3. Prepare foods or choose pre-prepared foods, drinks and snacks:
    • with minimal added fat, especially saturated fat
    • that are low in salt; if using salt, choose iodized salt
    • with little added sugar; limit your intake of high-sugar foods.
  4. Drink plenty of liquids each day, especially water.
  5. If choosing to drink alcohol, limit your intake.
  6. Purchase, prepare, cook and store food to ensure food safety.