Brazil's latest food-based dietary guidelines (2014) take a novel approach to nutrition recommendations and are unlike any other official the importance of making natural and minimally processed foods the building blocks of a healthy diet, while limiting the use of processed foods and avoiding ultra-processed foods altogether-or as much as possible. They also recommend ways of eating, cooking and even shopping that lead to healthier diets.guidelines currently used in the Region of the Americas. Rather than focus on different food groups, they emphasize the importance of making natural and minimally processed foods the building blocks of a healthy diet, while limiting the use of processed foods and avoiding ultra-processed foods altogether-or as much as possible. They also recommend ways of eating, cooking and even shopping that lead to healthier diets.
The full guidelines may be downloaded in English, Spanish or Portuguese. For quick reference, the guideline's "10 steps to healthy diets" are reproduced below.
Dietary guidelines for the Brazilian population ( pdf English ) ( pdf Portuguese ) ( pdf Spanish )
10 steps to healthy eating
1. Make natural or minimally processed foods the basis of your diet
Natural or minimally processed foods, in great variety, and mainly of plant origin, are the basis for diets that are nutritionally balanced, delicious, culturally appropriate, and supportive of socially and environmentally sustainable food systems. Variety means foods of all types - cereals, legumes, roots, tubers, vegetables, fruits, nuts, milk, eggs, meat - and diversity within each type - such as beans and lentils, rice and corn, potato and cassava, tomatoes and squash, orange and banana, chicken and fish.
2. Use oils, fats, salt, and sugar in small amounts when seasoning and cooking natural or minimally processed foods and to create culinary preparations.
As long as they are used in moderation in dishes and meals based on natural or minimally processed foods, oils, fats, salt, and sugar contribute to diverse and delicious diets without making them nutritionally unbalanced.
3. Limit consumption of processed foods
The ingredients and methods used in the manufacture of processed foods - such as vegetables in brine, fruits in syrup, cheeses and breads - unfavorably alter the nutritional composition of the foods from which they are derived. In small amounts, processed foods can be used as ingredients in dishes and meals based on natural or minimally processed foods.
4. Avoid consumption of ultra-processed foods
Because of their ingredients, ultra-processed foods such as salty fatty packaged snacks, soft drinks, sweetened breakfast cereals, and instant noodles, are nutritionally unbalanced. As a result of their formulation and presentation, they tend to be consumed in excess, and displace natural or minimally processed foods. Their means of production, distribution, marketing, and consumption damage culture, social life, and the environment.
5. Eat regularly and carefully in appropriate environments and, whenever possible, in company
Make your daily meals at regular times. Avoid snacking between meals. Eat slowly and enjoy what you are eating, without engaging in another activity. Eat in clean, comfortable and quiet places, where there is no pressure to consume unlimited amounts of food. Whenever possible, eat in company, with family, friends, or colleagues: this increases the enjoyment of food and encourages eating regularly, attentively, and in appropriate environments. Share household activities that precede or succeed the consumption of meals.
6. Shop in places that offer a variety of natural or minimally processed foods
Shop in supermarkets and municipal and farmers markets, or buy directly from producers or other places, that sell varieties of natural or minimally processed foods. Prefer vegetables and fruits that are locally grown in season. Whenever possible, buy organic and agro-ecological based foods, preferably directly from the producers.
7. Develop, exercise and share cooking skills
If you have cooking skills, develop them and share them, especially with boys and girls. If you do not have these skills - men as well as women - acquire them. Learn from and talk with people who know how to cook. Ask family, friends, and colleagues for recipes, read books, check the internet, and eventually take courses. Start cooking!
8. Plan your time to make food and eating important in your life
Plan the food shopping, organize your domestic stores, and decide on meals in advance. Share with family members the responsibility for all activities related to meals. Make the preparation and eating of meals privileged times of conviviality and pleasure. Assess how you live so as to give proper time for food and eating.
9. Out of home, prefer places that serve freshly made meals
Eat in places that serve fresh meals at good prices. Self-service restaurants and canteens that serve food buffet-style charged by weight are good choices. Avoid fast food chains.
10. Be wary of food advertising and marketing
The purpose of advertising is to increase product sales, and not to inform or educate people. Be critical and teach children to be critical of all forms of food advertising and marketing.