Topic 4 Healthy Eating Guide For Spain

The Spanish Society for Community Nutrition designed a new dietary guide for Hispanic people in 2016. There are 2 pyramids in this guide. One of them is the healthy eating pyramid, while the other is the liquid pyramid.

  • The icon at the bottom left of the healthy eating pyramid suggests being active and doing daily physical activity. The next symbol refers to mindful eating and emotional balance, which is a determinant of adequate nutrition. 3rd Icon from the left, on the other hand, recommends paying attention to energy balance in order to keep body weight in a healthy range. The fourth icon suggests healthy cooking techniques. In the last symbol, a recommendation is made about the amount of liquid that should be consumed.
  • At the second and third levels of the pyramid (which includes foods specific to the Mediterranean diet) it highlights potatoes, chestnuts and fresh legumes (peas, beans) along with whole grain foods (flours for making bread, pasta and different products). In the third step, all kinds of fruits (three servings a day), vegetables (three servings a day) and aromatic herbs were included. Extra virgin olive oil is also available at this level.
  • In the fourth step, consumption of low-fat dairy products (fresh cheeses, natural yoghurt, milk without added sugar) (2-3 servings per day) and white meat, eggs, legumes, nuts and fish is recommended.
  • Fifth step includes red meat, sausage, etc. products. It is recommended to reduce the consumption of foods in this section, to consume them in lower amounts and to pay attention to higher quality products.
  • At the top of the pyramid, there are foods that should be consumed in very low amounts. These are confectionery, sweets, industrial pastries.
  • The symbol in the upper left corner of the picture is; gives a warning message regarding the consumption of pharmacological supplements, dietary and nutritional supplements, nutraceuticals and the like. A four-colored plus sign reminds healthcare professionals (doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and dietitians-nutritionists) to always consult and seek advice on consumption, dose, duration, potential interactions, and changes in food intake.
  • Consumption of alcoholic beverages is a controversial issue. Guidelines do not recommend alcohol consumption for health.
  • The Liquid Pyramid provides recommendations for healthy hydration in the context of a healthy diet.  This pyramid was designed considering the water intake levels, sources and contribution of beverage consumption to energy and nutrient intake in different population groups as well as the contribution of water intake. The basic advice is water that is safe and tasty to drink, and encourages tap water consumption wherever possible. Recommendations for other beverages take into account their contribution to energy and nutrient intake and water intake in light of consumption practices in the population.
According to the guide, which food should we consume and how much?


  • We should consume three or more pieces of seasonal fruits a day, whole, chopped or crushed (to facilitate consumption) It is important that at least one of them is an antioxidant-rich fruits like citrus, kiwi, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, etc.

Vegetables and greens

  • It is recommended to consume at least 300 g (2 servings) per day, but it is desirable to consume about 400 g of vegetables (well-sterilized) per day, giving priority to seasonal varieties.
  • It is preferable that at least one of the portions is consumed raw, for example, in a salad, and the other is cooked according to meal preparation recommendations to minimize nutrient loss.

Milk and dairy products

  • We should consume 2 to 3 servings of milk per day, depending on our age and physiological condition. In the adult population, low-fat milk consumption is recommended because of its low energy content, saturated fatty acids, and cholesterol. This is especially recommended in cases of being overweight, obesity, and cardiovascular problems.
  • A school-aged child who drinks half a liter or equivalent of milk per day gets half of the protein they need and more than 80% of the calcium and vitamin B2. With the same amount, an adult meets 30% of their daily protein needs and 100% calcium.

Meat and sausage

  • Consumption of 3 portions of meat per week is acceptable, prioritizing lean meats and pasture or free-range poultry. A piece of meat with a net weight of 100 to 125 g is acceptable.
  • Sausages, red meats, and processed meats should be eaten occasionally because they contain large amounts of saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and other elements that can negatively affect our health and significantly impact greenhouse gases.

Fish and shellfish

  • Fish consumption is important at any age. It is preferable to consume white fish and, to a lesser extent, small bluefish during pregnancy and early childhood periods.
  • As a general recommendation, consuming 3 to 4 portions of fish per week would be appropriate.


  • Consumption of 3 to 5 eggs per week is an excellent nutritional alternative to meat and fish, with which it shares dietary qualities.


  • It is recommended to consume at least 2 to 4 portions (60-80 g/raw, 150-200 g/cooked) dried legumes per week, preferably with green leafy vegetables.


  • The most important grains in our diet are wheat, corn, rice, oats, and rye.
  • Whole foods or foods made with whole-grain flours (pasta, rice, bread, flours) are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other plant-based elements compared to refined ones. Prioritize all varieties in your consumption
  • The recommended amount of consumption depends on the level of physical activity, and they are substantial amounts of bran preparations (rice, pasta, bread, porridge, etc.) and 4 to 6 portions of cereals and derivatives per day.


  • The fat content of almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts is primarily unsaturated, which helps control blood triglyceride and cholesterol levels. For example, walnuts are rich in linolenic acid, which has a very positive effect on the heart and other functions of the body.
  • The recommended amount of local varieties for raw nuts that do not contain salt or sugar is 3 to 7 portions per week for adults with no contraindications.


  • Unrefined oils of vegetable origin, especially extra virgin olive oil, are a much healthier option, so they should be preferred to oils of animal origin.
  • It is essential to avoid excessive consumption of kinds of margarine and other spreads rich in processed fats. It is especially recommended to consume extra virgin olive oil, rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, for both cooking and dressing.
  • Unsaturated fats (unsaturated vegetable oils, fish, extra virgin olive oil, nuts) can lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and prevent cardiovascular disease.

Sugary foods and sugary drinks

  • The WHO guideline recommends that daily energy intake from free sugars does not exceed 10% contribution.
  • Therefore, it is recommended that we moderate our intake of food products rich in free sugars, with occasional consumption of this entire group of sugary products that can be substituted with the sugar-free equivalents.


  • Since all chemical reactions in our body occur in an aqueous environment, water is essential for the continuation of life. In addition, a sufficient amount of water helps to prevent constipation and normalize intestinal transit. The recommended consumption is from one liter to two liters per day, depending on age and personal situation.

Fermented Alcoholic Beverages: Wine and beer

  • Wine and beer should be consumed only by adults and always in moderation, without encouraging bad consumption habits or consumption by abstainers.
  • Adult males should not exceed two units (1 unit = 1 glass of wine or one bottle of beer) of consumption per day, slightly less for adult females (1-1.5 units).
  • However, consumption of these beverages may increase the risk of certain diseases and accidents, and they should not be consumed during pregnancy, lactation, childhood, and adolescence.