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How do I eat well?

Scientific support: Theresa Kössler

Good food should be fun, taste good, and suit you! This is why a good diet depends on preferences, financial means, and also your culture.

It is also important that your diet contains enough key nutrients. However, strict rules, an austere way of life, and even going hungry means you won’t enjoy a healthy diet and may fall back into old behavior patterns. A varied selection of foods and healthy moderation are essential for eating well.

Nutrient-rich foods with a lot of fiber, such as vegetables, fruit, pulses, nuts, seeds, and wholegrain products form the basis of the diet. Low-fat milk, meat products, and fish are also part of a healthy varied diet, although in smaller amounts.

A healthy, balanced diet can help improve performance, well-being, and overall contentment. Furthermore, a conscious diet can help prevent a range of diseases, for example, high blood pressure, calcification of the blood vessels, heart attack, or type 2 diabetes.

The German Nutrition Society explains how to implement a balanced and wholesome diet in their 10 guidelines. Find out more in the following gallery.

Enjoy food diversity

Make use of the diversity of foods and eat versatile. Choose mainly plantbased foods.

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.

Favour wholegrain foods

The wholegrain varieties of cereal products like bread, pasta, rice and flour are the best choice for your health.

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 grams per week.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Mindful eating and enjoying

Take a break while you eat and allow plenty of time for eating.

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.

The 5-a-day formula – how it works

5-a-day is the foundation for a healthy diet that applies to almost everyone. A complicated diet plan is often not needed for a change in diet.

People who eat five portions of fruit and vegetables every day at mealtimes and as a snack are supplying their body with essential nutrients. This keeps the body fit and helps protect against many lifestyle-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Studies show that many people still do not manage to eat the required amount of fruit and vegetables every day.

Good to know:

It is a simple formula: 3 x vegetables + 2 x fruit = 5 x per day

How much is a portion?

The size of one portion of fruit or vegetables can be easily measured using your hand. One portion of fruit or vegetables fits into your hand, e.g., an apple or red pepper. Small fruits or diced vegetables should fill your two palms.

How can I manage to eat more fruit and vegetables?

One way is to eat fruit and vegetables with every meal and as a snack in between. Or, if possible, eat all five portions during one meal, for example, grilled vegetables for the meal and fruit salad as dessert. This can be decided by each person individually.

One portion of fruit or vegetables can be replaced by one glass of juice or a smoothie. One small handful of unsalted nuts or dried fruits can also count as a portion of fruit.

Ideally, buy seasonal and regional fruit and vegetables. This is good for your bank balance and for the environment.  Deep-frozen vegetables without additives can also be used.


Bundesministerium für Gesundheit: Ratgeber zur Prävention und Gesundheitsförderung. 9. aktualisierte Auflage. 2016
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung: Vollwertig essen und trinken nach den 10 Regeln der DGE. (Letzter Abruf: 25.01.2021)
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ernährung: Gemüse und Obst in der Prävention ausgewählter chronischer Krankheiten. 2012 (Letzter Abruf: 25.01.2021)
World Health Organisation: Fact Sheet – Healthy Diet. (Letzter Abruf: 25.01.2021)
5 am Tag e.V.: (Letzter Abruf: 25.01.2021)
As of: 25.01.2021