Food Delta

Healthy Eating Pyramid. Project Delta.

In the Canary Islands, the “Food Delta” pyramid was presented in 1998, and introduced modified concepts that have marked the trend in successive proposals, including the use of traffic light colour coding for the classification of foods according to the recommended frequency of consumption. The Food Delta served as a base in 2005 for the development of what was to become known as “Project Delta”, which was defined by a group of proposals, activities, and teaching aids aimed at the promotion of healthy eating and physical activity in a wider health education context.

In DELTA, foods in the green area, at the base of the pyramid, are basic foods, for daily consumption. Those in yellow or amber area, in the middle of the pyramid, are complementary foods for weekly consumption. Finally, those foods in the red area are superfluous and for occasional consumption only.

The DELTA pyramid also included characters incorporated into a pictogram, which represented healthy situations to reinforce the educational message.

As a healthy recommendation, whichever pyramid you choose to use as a guide to what to eat and how often to eat it, it is important to bear in mind the following:

The foods to be eaten daily are at the base of the pyramid: Potatoes, Cereals and their derivatives, Vegetables, Fruit, Milk and its derivatives, and Olive Oil.
The foods to be eaten as alternatives several times a week are those in the middle of the pyramid: Legumes, Dried Fruit and Nuts, Fish, Eggs, and Lean Meat.
Foods that should only be eaten occasionally are those at the apex of the pyramid: Fatty Meats, Cakes and Pastries, Sugar and Soft Drinks.

As can be seen, the pyramid does not exclude the fats and sugary foods that are so appetizing to children, but it is important that these foods are eaten only occasionally and in small quantities.

At this stage of life, soft drinks, fruit-flavoured drinks, sweets, biscuits and crisps should only be eaten very occasionally, and always in small quantities.

It is also very important to drink enough water every day to ensure the correct functioning of metabolic processes. The total amount of water to be drunk daily is approximately three litres, of which about half is to be obtained from food, and the rest (1.5 litres) is provided by drinking water. In stressful situations, such as fever, abnormal loss of liquid from the body (sickness and diarrhoea), physical exercise or over-concentrated solutes in food (thick and concentrated purées), it is necessary to increase the amount of water drunk.

Based on the premise that: “Children have the right to be educated from an early age about the principles of nutrition, food, cooking methods and the effect that their food choices will have on their wellbeing and the environment”, it is important to have available relevant information to permit correct food choices to be made.

A healthy, balanced diet must be supplemented with the practice of regular, moderate, physical exercise, of at least 60 minutes a day.


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