Summary of recommendations on dietary patterns

It is possible to achieve a healthy diet in multiple ways and preferably, with a wide combination of foods.

It is important to consider that gradual and small changes are the most effective way to contribute to long-term dietary modifications (see Table 5).

The European guidelines on CVD prevention in clinical practice and for the management of dyslipidaemis encourage nutritional strategies based on replacing less healthy foods with healthier alternatives and ensuring that individuals are consuming a balanced diet.1,2.

Table 5 Make healthy food choices
Increase: Exchange: Limit:
image Vegetables Pulses image Refined cereals image Wholegrain cereals image Processed meat and red meat image
image Fruits and berries image Butter, Butter based- spreads image Vegetable oils, Vegetable oil based-spreads image Beverages and foods with added sugar image
image Fish and seafood image High-fat dairy image Low-fat dairy image Salt image
image Nuts and seeds   Alcohol image

Adapted from the Nordic Nutrition Recommendations 201224

Dietary recommendations should always take into account local food habits, however interest in healthy food choice from other cultures should be promoted. A balance of foods and beverages within energy needs should be promoted to prevent weight gain.

Additionally, among the wide variety of foods, foods combinations or a foods groups based approach, such as in these dietary patterns can be considered an effective ways to improve the total CVD risk profile.

REMEMBER: The key for a healthy diet is to vary and to focus on quality, quantity and frequency of food intake!