Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Portugal

Official name

Food wheel guide (Portuguese: A roda dos alimentos).

Publication year

The first Food wheel guide was issued in 1977. A revised version was published in 2003.

Process and stakeholders

The revision of the guide was led by the Faculty of Food Sciences and Nutrition from the University of Porto (FCNAUP) with the support of the Portuguese Consumer’s Institute who were the main editors. The National Council for Food and Nutrition (CNAN) – a Health Ministry institution in charge of the development of Portuguese Food Policy – were advisers in the first phases of the process. The guidelines were endorsed by the Portuguese Ministry of Health.

Intended audience

Recommendations from the Food wheel guide are intended for the healthy Portuguese population in general. The recommended number of portions depends on the individual energy requirements. Children from 1-3 years old should be guided by the lower limits and active men and teenage boys by upper limits; the remaining population must be guided by the intermediate values.

Food guide

The food guide is a food wheel divided into segments representing seven food groups: fats and oils; milk and dairy products; meat, fish, seafood, and eggs; pulses; potato, cereal and cereal products; vegetables; fruits. The size of each food group segment reflects the volume the group should contribute to the total daily diet. Water is in centre of the Food wheel to highlight the importance of hydration balance.


  • Eat well, live better!
  • Eat foods from each food group every day to have a complete diet.
  • Eat more from the bigger segments and less from the smaller ones to maintain a correct balance.
  • Eat a variety of foods within each food group; vary them daily, weekly and seasonally.
  • Prefer water to beverages containing added sugar, alcohol and caffeine.
  • Alcoholic beverages are not recommended for children, adolescents, pregnant and lactating women.
  • Limit consumption of products with high sugar content to special occasions. Read food labels to identify products with the lowest amounts!
  • Limit consumption of salt to less than 5g a day. Moderate consumption of foods and food products high in salt such as cold meats, canned foods, chips and salty snacks.
  • Do moderate physical activity regularly.