Health for humans, animals & plants

The Austrian Food Pyramid

The Austrian food pyramid is varied, wholesome and colorful. With its help, a balanced diet becomes quite simple. All foods are permitted, as long as the amounts consumed are in the right proportions.

Food-based recommendations are important tools for communicating nutritional and dietary recommendations. Graphic representations, such as food pyramids, and the communication of uniform nutrition information play an essential role. Therefore, standardizing food-based nutrition recommendations is an important action under the National Action Plan on Nutrition (NAP.e).

The Supreme Sanitary Council (OSR) working group "Public Health - Nutrition" was therefore entrusted with the harmonization of food-based nutrition recommendations in Austria. Under the leadership of Univ.-Prof. Dr. Michael Kunze (Institute of Social Medicine, Medical University of Vienna), coordinated by our Center Nutrition & Prevention, an agreed version of the food pyramid was developed. This was unanimously adopted by the OSR on November 14, 2009, and presented to the public on March 5, 2010.

The food pyramid consists of six food groups and one beverage group. The further down a food is found in the food pyramid, the more of it should be consumed or the more frequently it should be part of the menu. We support you with our online tool "Food under the magnifying glass" to help you make the best food choices. Under "Cooking safely" you will find valuable tips on how to handle food safely.

The food pyramid - 7 steps to health

Fatty, sweet and salty - rare

Sweets, pastries, high-sugar and/or high-fat fast foods, snacks, snack foods and sodas are nutritionally less recommended and should therefore be consumed infrequently - no more than one serving of these sweet or fatty snacks per day. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consuming no more than 50 grams of free sugar per day (about 10 teaspoons). For more information, see WHO sugar recommendations.

Only a maximum of 5 - 6 g of salt should be consumed daily (WHO recommendation). Instead of salting, use more herbs and spices per day. Avoid highly salted foods such as cured foods, snack foods, salted nuts, ready-made sauces,...

 

With our online tool "Food under the magnifying glass" you can easily compare, among other things, the sugar, salt, fat and energy contents of different foods.

Fish, meat, sausage and eggs - weekly

Eat at least 1 - 2 portions of fish (approx. 150 g each) per week, giving preference to fatty sea fish such as mackerel, salmon, tuna and herring or domestic cold-water fish such as char. Fatty fish are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to the diet. 1 serving is equivalent to a finger-thick, palm-sized piece.

Eat a maximum of 3 servings of low-fat meat or low-fat sausages per week (300 - 450 g per week). Eat red meat (such as beef, pork, and lamb) and sausages less frequently (about 3 thin, palm-sized slices). 1 serving size as for fish.

You can consume up to 3 eggs per week.

Fats and oils - daily

Daily 1 - 2 tablespoons of vegetable oils, nuts or seeds. The following applies: quality before quantity. High-quality vegetable oils such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, but also other vegetable oils such as walnut oil, soybean oil, linseed oil, sesame oil, corn germ oil, sunflower oil, pumpkin seed oil and grape seed oil, as well as nuts and seeds, contain valuable fatty acids that are significant for fat quality and can therefore be consumed in moderate quantities (1 - 2 tablespoons) daily. They provide the body not only with important unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, but also with vitamins such as vitamin E and minerals.

Spreadable, baking and frying fats such as butter, margarine or lard and high-fat dairy products such as whipped cream, sour cream, crème fraîche contain a high proportion of saturated fatty acids and should therefore be used sparingly.

 

Milk and dairy products - daily

Consume 3 servings of milk and dairy products daily. Prefer low-fat and unsweetened varieties. One serving equals: milk (200 ml), yogurt (180 - 250 g), curd (200 g), cottage cheese (200 g), cheese (50 - 60 g). It is best to have 2 servings of "white" (e.g. yogurt, buttermilk, cottage cheese) and 1 serving of "yellow" (cheese). Both as a source of high-quality protein and calcium, as well as vitamins such as vitamin B2, B12 and A, milk and dairy products are versatile foods with high nutritional value.

 

Cereal products and potatoes - daily

Eat 4 servings of cereals, bread, pasta, rice or potatoes daily (5 servings for the athletically active and children). One serving corresponds to: 1 palm of bread/whole grain bread (approx. 50 - 70 g), pastries e.g. Weckerl, Kornweckerl, Semmel, etc. (approx. 50 - 70 g) and 1 handful of muesli or cereal flakes (approx. 50 - 60 g), 2 fists of pasta (raw approx. 65 - 80 g, cooked approx. 200 - 250 g), rice or cereals (raw approx. 50 - 60 g, cooked approx. 150 - 180 g), potatoes (cooked approx. 200 - 250 g, 3 - 4 medium sized). Prefer products made from whole grains, such as whole-grain pasta or brown rice, as they provide good sources of carbohydrates, especially high levels of fiber as well as minerals.

Vegetables, legumes and fruit - daily

Eat 5 servings of vegetables, legumes and fruit daily. Ideal are 3 servings of vegetables and/or legumes and 2 servings of fruit. One serving equals: vegetables cooked (200 - 300 g), raw vegetables (100 - 200 g), salad (75 - 100 g), legumes (raw approx. 70 - 100 g, cooked approx. 150 - 200 g), fruit (125 - 150 g), vegetable or fruit juice (200 ml).

Rule of thumb: one clenched fist equals one serving of fruit, vegetables or legumes. Eat vegetables partially raw and consider the seasonal and regional supply when choosing vegetables and fruits. As low-calorie and low-fat foods, they contain good sources of carbohydrates, especially fiber, and many important ingredients such as vitamins, minerals and trace elements as well as secondary plant compounds.

Soft drinks - daily

Drink at least 1.5 liters of fluid daily, preferably low-energy beverages in the form of water, mineral water, unsweetened fruit or herbal teas, or diluted fruit and vegetable juices. There is nothing wrong with moderate daily consumption of coffee, black tea (up to 3 - 4 cups) and other caffeinated beverages.

 

The food pyramid for pregnant women

Proper nutrition is particularly important during pregnancy: on the one hand, the baby must be provided with the energy and nutrients it needs for growth and development. On the other hand, the mother's undersupply must also be prevented.

The right choice of foods for optimal nutrient intake is therefore of particular importance. In order to inform pregnant and breastfeeding women about the current nutritional recommendations, the working group "Infants, Breastfeeding and Pregnant Women" (AG KISS) of the National Nutrition Commission together with the program "Eating right from the start!" (REVAN) developed the "Austrian Nutrition Pyramid for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Women".

Pregnant women have an increased energy requirement, but still do not need to eat for two! During pregnancy, there is an increased energy requirement of 250 kcal/day from the second third of pregnancy (13th - 27th week of pregnancy). In the third trimester (from the 28th week of pregnancy), a further increase in energy intake of 250 kcal to a total of 500 kcal is recommended. Foods with a high nutrient density, such as vegetables and (whole-grain) cereals, are particularly recommended. The additional energy requirement is covered from the 13th week of pregnancy (SSW) by an extra portion of fruit or vegetables, an extra portion of cereals or potatoes. Likewise, from the 13th week of pregnancy, there is an increased need for protein, which can be additionally covered by an extra portion of milk or milk products daily or one portion of fish, lean meat or egg per week. From the 28th week, the energy requirement increases again, which can be covered by an extra portion of vegetable oil (or also by nuts or seeds).

The need for vitamins (vitamins of the B group - vitamins B1, B2, B6, B12, folate, niacin - and the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E) and minerals (iron, zinc, iodine, phosphorus and magnesium) increases more than the energy requirement during pregnancy and breastfeeding. An adequate supply of folic acid and other nutrients is also essential for the child's optimal growth. Additional intake of supplements should be discussed with the doctor.

Tips for pregnant women

Pregnant women should avoid the following foods during pregnancy

  • Alcohol and nicotine
  • Caffeinated beverages (< 2 - 3 cups of coffee OR < 4 cups of green/black tea per day).
  • No raw or undercooked meats (e.g., carpaccio, beef tartare, medium steak)
  • No raw meat products (e.g. salami, Landjäger, Kantwurst, Mettwurst, raw ham, Selchfleisch, bacon)
  • No raw milk (if not, boil it first) and no raw milk products - look for the label "made with raw milk".
  • Remove the rind from cheese before consumption; no lubricated or soft cheese
  • Pay special attention to the hygiene of sliced, supermarket packaged sausage and cheese and pre-marinated meats
  • No raw or undercooked eggs (e.g., breakfast egg, fried egg) and no foods containing raw eggs, such as homemade tiramisu
  • No raw/semi-raw fish or raw seafood (e.g., sushi, oysters)
  • No smoked/pickled fish (e.g., smoked salmon, graved salmon)
  • Thoroughly wash vegetables, lettuce, herbs and fruit - Do not use pre-cut, packaged salads
  • No unheated/raw sprouts and sprouting seeds and no unheated frozen berries
  • Open pickled foods, pre-made sandwiches, open salads and freshly squeezed juices in grocery stores, restaurants and community food services should rather be avoided during pregnancy for precautionary reasons
  • Tuna, swordfish, halibut, pike, butterfish, snapper, shark, marlin, swordfish, king mackerel, tilefish, and butter/snake mackerel should be avoided for safety reasons due to possible heavy metal contamination.

Hygiene rules

  • Wash hands regularly and thoroughly before and after preparing food, after contact with animals and after visiting the toilet.
  • Wash fruits, vegetables and salads thoroughly
  • Use clean towels, possibly disposable towels to dry hands
  • Replace sponge towels regularly
  • Prepare meat, raw eggs and raw vegetables on different work surfaces that are as smooth as possible
  • Careful cleaning of kitchen and work surfaces
  • To avoid cross-contamination in the refrigerator, store raw foods separately from ready-to-eat foods
  • Clean refrigerators regularly
  • Do not interrupt the cold chain and check refrigerator or freezer temperatures regularly
  • Do not consume food after the use-by or best-before date has passed

Further information

Further information on nutrition during pregnancy and breastfeeding as well as during complementary feeding and infancy can be found here, as well as under "Richtig Essen von Anfang an!" and under "The Austrian food pyramid for pregnant women and nursingmothers".

Last updated: 01.03.2022

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