Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Switzerland

Official name

The Swiss food pyramid (German: Lebensmittelpyramide).

Publication year

Switzerland published its first set of dietary guidelines in 1998. The current is the third version and was introduced in 2011.

Process and stakeholders

The current version of the Swiss food pyramid was developed by the Swiss Society for Nutrition in collaboration with the Federal Office of Public Health and experts from science and industry as well as on the basis of a public consultation. It provides an important basis for the Swiss Nutrition Policy and the National Programme on Diet and Physical Activity.

The Swiss food pyramid was then endorsed by the Federal Office of Public Health. Since January 2014 the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office is the competence centre for nutrition and responsible for all questions concerning nutrition.

Intended audience

The Swiss food pyramid is directed at the healthy adult population. Special recommendations for adolescents and the elderly are included in the guidelines. Dietary recommendations for children (5–12 years) are represented in a disk.

Food guide and other educational tools

Switzerland’s food guide is divided into six levels of daily consumption. At the base there is water and other sugar-free beverages, followed by fruits and vegetables; grains, potatoes and pulses to be eaten in abundance. In the fourth level there are animal source products and tofu, and on the fifth fats and nuts – these should be eaten in moderation. At the apex of the pyramid products that should be eaten sparingly can be found: sweetened/alcoholic drinks and sweet/salty snacks.

The food plate is used to represent an optimal distribution of foods in a meal. The nutrition disk shows the recommendations for children.


  • Consume sweets, salty snacks and alcohol in small quantities.
  • Use oils and nuts in small quantities daily, and butter/margarine sparingly.
  • Consume three portions of dairy products and also one portion of meat/fish/eggs/tofu per day. Alternate between these protein-rich foods.
  • Consume three portions of grains, potatoes and pulses per day. Grains should preferably be wholegrain.
  • Consume five portions of fruits and vegetables per day; at least three portions should be vegetables and two fruits.
  • Drink 1–2 litres of unsweetened beverages per day, preferably water.