Goodbye and thank you, food pyramid, Israel is moving forward to the nutritional rainbow diet for healthy nutrition. After extensive development efforts as part of the national program Efsharibari, the Nutrition Department in the Ministry of Health presents Israel's new national nutritional guidelines in a graphic representation – the nutritional rainbow diet for healthy nutrition. Now we all have a clearer mental image of the new nutritional recommendations that are more extensive, more up-to-date and also simpler and more applicable.
The nutritional rainbow diet for healthy nutrition is divided according to the recommended consumption frequency of the main food groups
The green rainbow – it is recommended to drink a lot of water (preferably tap water), diversify and integrate the following foods in several meals each day: vegetables, fruits and whole grains. These are whole foods which contribute a variety of nutritional values, and it is important to diversify their colors and the manner of eating them several times a day.
The yellow rainbow – foods that should be consumed at least once a day, from each of the three following groups:
- Legumes such as lentils, beans, chickpeas, broad beans, peas
- Fat-rich vegetable sources such as olive oil, tahini, nuts, avocado
- Non-Sweetened dairy products and their substitutes
Each of these groups contribute to health greatly. It is recommended to consume them at least once a day.
The orange rainbow – foods that should be consumed several times a week: includes animal-based products that should be consumed, with variations, throughout the week, rather than every day. Like the other foods on this rainbow, it is recommended that you buy them raw and cook them at home.
The pink rainbow – raw beef: the recommendation is that you do not consume more than 300 grams of beef in home cooked meals (this recommendation does not include cured and highly-processed beef products such as pre-cooked sausages, hot dogs, kebabs and hamburgers).
Separate from the rainbow and underneath it – foods which are best to avoid or greatly reduce their consumption: these are mostly ultra-processed foods (candy, snacks, sweetened beverages, sausages, processed beef products, and more) that include ingredients you will rarely see in the home kitchen, such as extraction of food components, as well as industrial additives, such as flavor and color or texture enhancers. These are usually packed, ready to eat immediately or after minimal preparation (adding boiling water, microwave heating, etc.).
The nutritional benefits of the colors of the nutritional rainbow
The green rainbow: provides whole foods that contain various nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fibers.
The yellow rainbow: provides whole foods from the legumes, fats and dairy groups. Legumes provide protein, fibers and various vitamins and minerals. Olive oil has high nutritious qualities, the various nuts are a good source of healthy fats, proteins and fiber. Milk and dairy products (as well as substitutes thereof) add protein and calcium to the menu.
The orange rainbow: includes animal-based foods consumed at a frequency of several times a week that provide protein and iron.
The pink rainbow: includes animal-based foods consumed at a low frequency that provide protein and iron.
The main principles of the nutritional rainbow diet for healthy nutrition
The new nutritional rainbow visually expresses the national nutritional recommendations so that it will be easier and more tangible to compose a menu that is healthy, nutritious, sustainable, social and at a universally-accessible cost.
- A menu rich with a variety of plant-based foods (vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains).
- Preference of homemade food and of cooking using methods that preserve the natural nutritional components in foods (such as steaming and sautéing).
- Preference of seasoning using herbs over using salt and sugar.
- Reducing consumption of ultra-processed foods – foods that have undergone several industrial processing processes, and usually contain many food additives. For example: processed meat, salty and sugary snacks, soft drinks, cereal and a further long list of foods.
The impact of the nutritional rainbow diet: health, society, environment and economy
- Health value: the national nutrition recommendations were formulated based on the Mediterranean diet recommendations. This diet was scientifically proven as a health contributor and as a risk reducer of chronic diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, cancer and more.
- Environmental value: a diet based on the nutritional rainbow has lower negative environmental impact: this diet includes less animal-based foods, ultra-processed foods, and less packaging and waste. In addition, the recommended diet includes more fresh foods, mostly plant-based, local and seasonal, in quantities suited for each household, in order to prevent food waste and its disposal – all of these reduce the ecological footprint and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that affect global warming.
- Economic value: maintaining the national nutrition recommendations will lead to a reduction in financial expenditure in the short and long term. When you reduce the purchase of ultra-processed food and sugary drinks, and place an emphasis on the purchase of local, seasonal and raw food for home cooking, you save expenses, especially when you buy and cook food in the amount suitable for each household in order to prevent food waste. For example, tap water is cheaper than sugary drinks, and legumes are cheaper than pre-prepared food and meat. In addition, a diet that prevents diseases reduces the economic, family and national expenses on health.
- Social value: the nutritional rainbow encourages home cooking, shared preparation of the food and sitting down for a family meal, which contributes to a sense of belonging, preservation of tradition, independence and security. In addition, joint eating around the table has been found as contributing to reduction in violence among children and adolescents, and to a healthier meal composition. Likewise, healthier eating among the entire population will decrease social and health gaps, and will increase social mobility and assist in increasing nutritional security.
- Active lifestyle: physical activity has many advantages at all ages. It reduces risks of chronic diseases, improves the mood and concentration, and contributes to bone strengthening and reduces risk of falls. It is recommended to perform moderate aerobic activity, for at least half an hour a day, and add strength training to strengthen your muscles, at least twice a week.
You should know
- The new national nutritional recommendations are aimed to help all of us better understand how we can eat healthier throughout the day. They are flexible, easy to understand and implement, and represented in a graphic form as a rainbow, selected after an in-depth and joint deliberations by experts from the fields of nutrition, health promotion, communications, social marketing and design.
- These nutritional recommendations are aimed at the general population. Those suffering from conditions that carry certain dietary restrictions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, renal disease, liver diseases and others, as well as those who have taken upon themselves certain dietary restrictions (vegetarianism, veganism and more) that require nutritional adjustments should consult a nutritionist and receive personal guidance.