One Great Plate
While enjoying food is a universal experience, the food guides that represent each country’s cuisine are uniquely individual. Each guide displays nutritional advice and current eating guidelines in an aesthetic, informative graphic. Here are 10 exceptional food guides from across the globe!
Belize- Food Basket
This Central American ‘shopping basket’ sorts foods into seven unequally sized sections that correspond to the country’s dietary guidelines. Across the handle of the basket are images of people engaged in various forms of physical activity. The basket serves as a reminder that ‘shopping smart’ and ‘exercising regularly’ are two components of a healthy lifestyle.1
Benin-Traditional African House
Benin’s nutritional guidelines form the façade of a traditional thatched-roofed African house. The illustration specifies five food groups with the most significant—grains & tubers—being located at the house’s base. Water is depicted in the home’s entryway to serve as a symbol of Beninese hospitality.2
China- Pagoda for Chinese Residents
The Chinese Food Guide Pagoda proportionally depicts 5 unique food groupings: (1) whole grains, tubers, & legumes, (2) fruits & vegetables, (3) lean meats, fish & eggs, (4) soybeans, nuts, & dairy, and (5) salts & oils. Citizens are to reference the recommended daily consumption standards, listed to the right of the illustration (by weight), when deciding which foods to consume. This is because the graphic was designed to take group elements singly, versus holistically.3
Fiji’s pineapple-shaped food guide could aptly double as a healthy lifestyle guide. The South Pacific Island nation urges its residents to eat mindfully—as nutrition is central to wellness. The guide emphasizes other nutrition-specific health messages, including: drinking responsibly, avoiding smoking, breastfeeding for six months, and growing your own food.4
Finland—Finnish Food Triangle
Photographed images of whole foods are exhibited on a chalkboard display to showcase the vibrancy of Finnish fare. The pyramid proposes that plant and seafood-based cookery is affordable, eco-friendly, and nutritious, especially when compared to conventional animal-based diets.5
France- National Health Nutrition Program
As opposed to one universal food guide, the National Health Nutrition Program of France provides 25 food-based portraits that represent different patterns of eating. Each pattern specifies a distinct life situation or behavior, such as: “I do not cook”, “I want to eat, protect my health, and enjoy it”, or “I struggle to make ends meet”. Recognizing that nutrition is not ‘one-size-fits-all’, the program provides more detailed nutrition advice under each heading, which have been tailored to unambiguous audiences.6
Japan- Spinning Top
The Spinning Top of Japan inverts the traditional pyramid layout by placing the food groups of most importance at the top (versus at the base) of its structure. Water flows through the top’s core to illustrate its universal significance. A running silhouette is pictured to highlight that eating patterns should be adapted based upon one’s physical activity level.7
Netherlands- Wheel of Five
The Netherland’s Wheel of Five neatly objectifies 5 subdivisions of the Dutch diet. Interestingly, the graphic includes ‘beverages’ as a significant ‘slice of the pie’ in order to encourage citizens to drink coffee and tea with meals in addition to water.8
Qatar- Qatar Dietary Guidelines
Qatar’s shell-shaped plate represents six food groups while purposefully omitting products that are high in fats, sugars, and sodium—as these foods should be entirely expunged from the diet. Water is represented in the guide as a reminder to select sustainable, ecological options.9
United States- MyPlate
In 2011, the United States introduced MyPlate as a consumer-based, customizable food guide, which serves as a reminder for healthy eating at each meal. MyPlate reminds Americans to fill half of their plate with fruits and vegetables and to regularly consume appropriate amounts of grains, protein, and dairy foods. More specific nutrition guidelines are included in the USDA’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).10
Miller SG. 6 Distinctive Food Guides from Around the World. LiveScience. Published May 19, 2016. Accessed July 3, 2018.
Shreeves R. What food pyramids look like around the world. MNN - Mother Nature Network. Published October 17, 2017. Accessed July 3, 2018.
1. Belize. fao.org. Accessed July 3, 2018.
2. Benin. fao.org. Accessed July 3, 2018.
3. China. fao.org. Accessed July 3, 2018.
4. Fiji. fao.org. Accessed July 3, 2018.
5. Finland. fao.org. Accessed July 5, 2018.
6. France. fao.org. Accessed July 5, 2018.
7, Japan. fao.org. Accessed July 5, 2018.
8. Netherlands. fao.org. Accessed July 3, 2018.
9. Qatar. fao.org. Accessed July 5, 2018.
10. A Brief History of USDA Food Guides. Choose MyPlate. Published May 11, 2017. Accessed July 5, 2018.
Photo credit: Pixabay, CC0 Creative Commons