Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Nigeria

Official name

Food-based dietary guidelines for Nigeria – a guide to healthy eating.

Publication year

Nigeria began developing its dietary guidelines in 2000 and published them in 2001.

Process and stakeholders

The guidelines were developed by the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Rural Development and Information; universities, the World Health Organization, Helen Keller International, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, and paediatric and nutrition societies.

They have been published in four languages: Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo and English.

Intended audience

The dietary guidelines apply to all healthy Nigerians and include recommendations for different population groups.

Food guide

The Nigerian food guide is a food pyramid divided into five food groups. At the bottom are bread, grains and tubers, followed by vegetables and fruits. Both groups are to be eaten at every meal. Eggs, fish, meat and dairy are on the third level, and are to be eaten in moderation. Oils and fats should be eaten sparingly according to the pyramid, with confectionery limited to rare occasions. A glass of water is placed outside of the pyramid with the advice to always drink plenty of water.


  • Total food intake should take into consideration a person’s level of physical activity.
  • Individuals who do manual work need to consume more food than those who do sedentary work.
  • Limit fat intake from animal foods.
  • The diet should contain as wide a variety of foods as possible, e.g. cereals, legumes, roots/tubers, fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meat, local cheese (wara).
  • Limit intake of salt, bouillon cubes and sugar.
  • Liberal consumption of whatever fruit is in season is encouraged.