Heathy eating, drinking and activity guidelines

What and how much you eat and drink, and being physically active are important for good health.

Guideline statements for New Zealand adults

Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods every day

  • plenty of vegetables and fruit
  • grain foods, mostly whole grain and those naturally high in fibre
  • some milk and milk products, mostly low and reduced fat
  • some legumes, nuts, seeds, fish and other seafood, eggs, poultry (eg, chicken) and/or red meat with the fat removed.

Choose and/or prepare foods and drinks

  • with unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats
  • that are low in salt (sodium); if using salt, choose iodised salt
  • with little or no added sugar
  • that are mostly ‘whole’ and lessprocessed
  • make plain water your first choice over other drinks
  • low-fat milk is also a good drink
  • if you drink alcohol, keep your intake low. Stop drinking alcohol if you could be pregnant, are pregnant or are trying to get pregnant
  • buy or gather, prepare, cook and store food in ways that keep it safe to eat.


  • sit less, move more! Break up long periods of sitting.
  • do at least 2 ½ hours of moderate or 1 ¼ hours of vigorous physical activity spread throughout the week.
  • for extra health benefits, aim for 5 hours of moderate or 2 ½ hours of vigorous physical activity spread throughout the week.
  • do muscle strengthening activities on at least 2 days each week.
  • doing some physical activity is better than doing none.

Body weight statement

Making good choices about what you eat and drink and being physically active are also important to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Being a healthy weight:

  • helps you to stay active and well
  • reduces your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

If you are struggling to maintain a healthy weight, see your doctor and/or your community health care provider.

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