What percentage of milk do you prefer

Food pyramid

How do you eat healthily? Diversity is in - but the right one! And the portions should also be right. The food pyramid helps to easily implement the recommendations of the German-speaking nutrition societies in everyday life.

Short version:

  • Level 1: non-alcoholic drinks (at least 1.5 liters)
  • Level 2: vegetables and fruits (5 servings per day)
  • Level 3: Whole Grains and Potatoes (4 servings per day)
  • Level 4: Milk and dairy products (3 servings per day) and vegetable oils (1-2 tbsp per day)
  • Level 5: fish, meat and eggs (1-2 servings per day)
  • Level 6 and 7: animal fats, sweets and fatty snacks (max. 1 serving per day)

The food pyramid simply explained

On the nutrition pyramid, the modules with the food groups shown on them form an overview of the optimal proportions: One module corresponds to a daily portion up to and including level four. This includes:

  • soft drinks
  • fruit and vegetables
  • Cereals and potatoes as well
  • Dairy products and vegetable oils.

From the fourth level onwards, there is one weekly portion per module. These include:

  • Fish, meat, sausage and eggs as well
  • Sweets and fat nibbles

Level 1 of the food pyramid

Soft drinks

They form the basis of a balanced diet: there should be at least 1.5 liters of liquid a day. Best in the form of:

  • Mineral water
  • tap water
  • unsweetened herbal and fruit tea
  • highly diluted juices (one part juice, two to three parts water)

Because of their high energy content, undiluted fruit juices belong in the "fruit and vegetables" category. The same applies to milk drinks that are specially categorized. Coffee and black tea contribute to hydration in moderate amounts (up to four cups per day). The same applies here: unsweetened is the best option.

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Level 2 of the food pyramid

vegetables and fruit

Fruit and vegetables are popular five times a day. Three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit are ideal. One portion roughly corresponds to a clenched fist, which is why the optimal portion size varies widely for children and adults.

One serving equals:

  • 200-300 g cooked vegetables
  • 100-200 g raw vegetables
  • 75-100 g of lettuce
  • 150-200 g cooked legumes
  • a piece of fruit (apple, pear, orange, ...)
  • two to three small fruits (mandarins, plums, apricots, ...)
  • a handful of fruit (berries, currants, cherries, grapes, ...)
  • a plate of vegetable soup or
  • 200 ml of pure 100% vegetable or fruit juice
  • half a hand of dried fruit

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Frozen vegetables and canned vegetables also belong to this group. The rule here is: the more varied and seasonal, the better!

Highly sugared canned fruit and sugared fruit juices, on the other hand, belong to the "sweets" category.

Level 3 of the food pyramid

Whole grain and potatoes

Four servings of cereals, bread, pasta, rice - preferably the whole grain version - or potatoes should be consumed daily.

One serving equals:

  • a slice (50-70 g) of bread
  • a pastry (roll, roll, ...)
  • five tablespoons (50-60 g) of cereal or cereal flakes
  • 200-250 g of cooked pasta
  • 150-180 g cooked rice
  • three to four medium-sized potatoes (cooked approx. 200-250 g)

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Sugared cornflakes, breakfast cereals and all heavily sweetened muesli mixes and muesli bars, on the other hand, belong to the "sweets" category. High-fat potato products such as French fries, chips and potato pancakes are classified in the "fats and oils" category due to their high fat content.

Level 4a of the food pyramid

milk and milkproducts

Three servings of milk, yogurt, kefir, buttermilk and cheese cover the daily calcium requirement. If possible, prefer the reduced-fat variant - this has fewer calories, but contains the same amount of calcium.

One serving equals:

  • a cup (180-250 g) of yogurt
  • a glass (200 ml) of milk
  • a cup (180-250 g) of yogurt
  • 200 g of cottage cheese
  • two to three thin slices (50-60 g) of cheese
  • 200 g curd cheese

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Butter, crème frâiche and whipped cream are also dairy products. Because of their high fat content, however, they are counted among the fats and oils. Use these products sparingly.

Level 4b of the food pyramid

Vegetable oils

Above all, quality over quantity applies here: The following high-quality vegetable oils contain important monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids:

  • Walnut oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • linseed oil
  • sesame oil
  • Pumpkin seed oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Nuts and seeds

One to two tablespoons a day are sufficient. Heat-stable oils from rapeseed and sunflower seeds are suitable for stewing and frying.

+++ More on the topic: Oils & Nuts +++

Level 5 of the food pyramid

Fish, meat and eggs

Fish provides valuable protein and, if it is a sea or cold water fish such as:

One to two servings of 150 g each should therefore be on the menu per week. We recommend a maximum of three portions of meat per week (a total of around 300-450 g in seven days). Red meat, such as beef, pork or lamb, should only be consumed infrequently. Prefer the lean sausage and meat products and prepare the products with low fat content. It can also be three eggs per week. Don't forget to include the eggs incorporated into finished products.

+++ More on the topic: Fish, Meat & Eggs +++

Levels 6 and 7 of the food pyramid

Animal fats, sweets and fatty snacks

They are at the top of the pyramid and should only be consumed infrequently (no more than one serving per day). These include:

  • Sweets
  • Pastries
  • high-sugar and / or high-fat fast food products
  • Snacks
  • Nibbles
  • high-energy sodas

Spreadable, baking and frying fats such as butter, margarine or lard and high-fat dairy products such as whipped cream and crème fraîche should also be used sparingly.

+++ More on the topic: balanced nutrition +++

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Mag. Rer. nat. Ulrike Keller (2014), Helga Quirgst MSc (2014)
Editorial editing:
Tanja Unterberger, Bakk. phil. (2020)

Updated on:

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