Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Saudi Arabia

Official name

Dietary guidelines for Saudis: the healthy food palm (Arabic: النخلة الغذائية الصحية).

Publication year

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia published its first edition of their national dietary guidelines in 2013. The guidelines will be revised in 2021 or as needed.

Process and stakeholders

The dietary guidelines were developed by the Ministry of Health (General Directorate of Nutrition). The dietary guidelines were set through coordinated by a scientific and technical committee includes an expert group from the Ministry of Health, different ministries, medical institutes and Saudi Food and Nutrition association. This committee was created to work on specific tasks. Then, the Minister of Health endorsed the dietary guidelines.

Intended audience

The recommendations of the dietary guidelines are directed at the general population aged two years of age and older.

The main dissemination documents of the guidelines are intended as a mean of dietary educational and awareness for all Saudi official authorities or agencies .These come in the form of posters and flyers, which are intended for the health institutions, general pubic, health educators, health professionals and others related agencies and institutes working to improve dietary health.

Food guide

Saudi's food guide is represented by a palm tree. The palm was chosen as it is very important culturally and economically to the people of the Arab world. It represents the Saudi community.

The food groups are distributed and placed in the trunk and leaves of the palm according to their recommended proportions. The cereals group is represented by the biggest leaves followed by the fruit and vegetables group, and the milk and products group. The smallest leaves represent the meat and beans group, and sugars and oils group. The recommended serving sizes for each food group are specified in the trunk of the palm.

Water was included in the bottom of the palm buck and was added due to the hot desert climate of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There is an additional message on the outside of the palm about more physical activity.

Main recommendations

  • Enjoy a variety of food items from major food groups daily.
  • Choose whole grains.
  • Consume a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit the intake of foods with a high content of saturated fatty acids, cholesterol, salt and sugar.
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy bodyweight.
  • Drink water.
  • Purchase, prepare, cook and store food in ways to ensure food safety.
  • Be physically active.