Food-based dietary guidelines – Australia

In February 2013, the National Health and Medical Research Council published new Australian dietary recommendations. The fourth edition of Australia’s dietary guidelines (first edition 1982; second edition 1992; third edition 2003) is now available. A new revision is planned for 2021.

Infant feeding guidelines were first published in 1996. They were revised in 2003 and then again in 2012.

Process and stakeholders

A committee from the National Health and Medical Research Council, experts in nutrition, public and consumer health, and industry and industry representatives led the review of the Australian Dietary Guidelines. The Commonwealth Department of Health was also a partner in this revision and provided funding.

A similar process was followed in the development of infant feeding guidelines. These guidelines are based on the best scientific evidence available. Background dietary modeling and a systematic review of the literature were used to inform both sets of guidelines.

It is the responsibility of the Department of Health to continue implementing these guidelines.


The Australian Dietary Guidelines are designed for healthy adults over the age of 2 years. The document contains specific information for sub-groups of the population, such as pregnant women or children. It also includes information on older adults and pregnant women who have different nutritional needs.

These guidelines for infant feeding are intended for children younger than two years old and include advice on breastfeeding, support from mothers and parents, and the introduction of solids. This document covers common and relevant health concerns about infant feeding.

Food Guide

Australia has a guide for healthy eating that visually shows on a plate how much of each food group is recommended to be consumed every day. Food groups on the plate include cereals, vegetables, legumes, fruits, lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, and seeds, as well as reduced-fat dairy products or alternatives. The plate also includes advice on drinking lots of water and using oil in small quantities. Alcohol and highly processed food (high in sodium, sugar, and fat) should only be consumed occasionally and in small amounts.


Five core recommendations are included in the guidelines to help people determine what types of food they should eat and how much.

  • For a healthy weight to be achieved and maintained, you should choose foods and beverages that are nutritious and meet your energy requirements.
  • Every day, enjoy a variety of healthy foods from these five food groups:
    • Vegetables of all colors and types, as well as legumes/beans
    • fruit
    • Grains (cereals) are foods that contain a high amount of cereal fiber and are usually whole grains. Examples include breads, cereals, and rice.
    • Lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, nuts/seeds, and legumes/beans are also included.
    • Milk, yogurt, and cheese, or their alternatives (reduced-fat dairy is not recommended for children younger than two years old).

    Drink plenty of water.

  • Limit your intake of alcohol, salt, sugar, and foods high in saturated fat.
  • Encourage, support, and promote breastfeeding.
  • Prepare and store your food safely.

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