10 guidelines of the German Nutrition Society (DGE) for a wholesome diet
1. Enjoy food diversity
Make use of the diversity of foods and eat versatile. Choose mainly plant-based foods.
No single food can supply all nutrients. The more varied you eat, the lower is the risk of a unbalanced diet.
2. Vegetables and fruit – take ‘5 a day
Enjoy at least 3 portions of vegetables and 2 portions of fruit each day. This could also include legumes such as lentils, chickpeas and beans as well as (unsalted) nuts.
Vegetables and fruit supply you with a plenty of nutrients, dietary fibre and phytochemicals and also contribute to satiation. Vegetables and fruits lower the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.
3. Favour whole-grain foods
The whole-grain varieties of cereal products like bread, pasta, rice and flour are the best choice for your health.
Whole-grain foods will keep you satiated longer and contain more nutrients than white flour products. Whole-grain dietary fibres reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, colon cancer and cardiovascular diseases.
4. Complete the choice with animal-based foods
Consume milk and dairy products such as yoghurt and cheese daily, fish once to twice a week. If you eat meat, you should not consume more than 300 to 600 g per week.
Milk and dairy products are a good source of high quality protein, vitamin B2 and calcium. Saltwater fish supplies you with iodine, and fatty fish provides important omega-3 fatty acids. Meat contains available iron as well as selenium and zinc. However, meat and particularly sausage also contain unfavourable substances.
5. Choose health-promoting fats
Prefer vegetable oils like rapeseed oil and margarines produced therefrom. Avoid hidden fats. Fat is often „invisibly“ present in processed foods like sausage, pastry, sweets, fast food and convenience products.
Like all fats, vegetable oils provide many calories. However, they also provide essential fatty acids and vitamin E.
6. Reduce sugar and salt intake
Sugar-sweetened foods and beverages are not recommendable and should be avoided whenever possible. Sugar should only be consumed in small amounts.
Limit the consumption of salt and reduce the proportion of high-salt foods. Be creative in flavouring with herbs and spices.
Sugar-sweetened foods and beverages are usually low in nutrients and contain unnecessary calories. In addition, sugar increases the risk of caries. Too much salt in your food can increase your blood pressure. Salt intake should not exceed 6 g per day. Choose iodised and fluoridated salt.
7. Water is the best choice
Drink about 1.5 litres per day. Water or other calorie-free beverages, such as unsweetened tea, are the best choice. Sugar-sweetened and alcoholic beverages are not recommendable.
Your body needs fluid in the form of water. Sugar-sweetened beverages provide unnecessary calories and very little important nutrients. Their consumption can promote the development of overweight and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Alcoholic beverages are also rich in calories. Furthermore, alcohol promotes the development of cancer and is also associated with other health risks.
8. Prepare carefully cooked dishes
Cook food as long as necessary but as short as possible, using little amount of water and fat. Avoid burning the food during roasting, grilling, baking and frying.
A careful preparation will preserve the natural taste and conserve the nutrients. Burnt parts contain harmful substances.
9. Mindful eating and enjoying
Take a break while you eat and allow plenty of time for eating.
Eating slowly and consciously promotes enjoyment and the sense of satiation
10. Watch your weight and stay active
Combine a wholesome diet with plenty of physical activity. It is not only regular exercise which is helpful, but also an active daily life which includes frequent walking and cycling.
Moderate physical activity of 30 to 60 minutes per day will promote your health and help you to control your weight.