Healthy eating made easy

A balanced diet and healthy eating habits are important for maintaining and improving our health. Our bodies get the energy they need as well as the most important nutrients and protective substances, which promotes wellbeing and helps strengthen the body's own immune system. Food is about more than just nutrition, though. It can mean an enjoyable evening with friends, or simply pure indulgence.

What Switzerland eats: ten fascinating facts

1. According to the Federal Statistical Office, people in Switzerland spent around 650 francs per head per month on food and alcohol in 2020.

2. People in Switzerland like snacking. Around 90% consume two or more snacks a day.

3. In 2020, meat and meat products accounted for 23% of all spending on food, while 16% went on milk, cheese and eggs, 16% on cereals such as bread, flour and pasta, 16% on vegetables and 14% on fruit.

4. Swiss people consumed an average of 300 kg of dairy products each in 2021, including 47 kg of milk, 102 kg of cheese and quark, 15 kg of yoghurt and 70 kg of butter.

5. In 2022, each man and woman in Switzerland consumed an average of 50.8 kg of meat – or the equivalent of roughly one St. Gallen sausage a day.

6. The average Swiss person has a sweet tooth. The per capita consumption of chocolate in 2022 was 11 kg.

7. Swiss people also like apples, eating more than 12 kg per capita in 2020.

8. The top three vegetables in 2020 (per capita) were carrots (8.93 kg), tomatoes (6 kg) and peppers (5.3 kg).

9. In 2023, 16% of the Swiss population ate a flexitarian diet, 14% were lactose-free, 14% low-carb, 12% vegetarian and 8% vegan.

10. In 2022, 46% of the women surveyed said healthy eating was important to them. The figure for men was 36%.

Sources: Facts 1 and 2: Schweizer Ernährungsbulletin 2021, facts 3 to 10: Statista

15 tips for healthy eating

Here are a few simple, scientifically proven tips for healthy eating.

Tip 1: Enjoy your food

The most important rule for healthy eating is that your food should taste good, so that eating it gives you pleasure. This releases important hormones and is good for your health.


Tip 2: Listen to your body

Lots of people nowadays don't recognise the feeling of being hungry and so eat out of pure habit. It helps if you learn to recognise when you are feeling hungry, and listen to this feeling. Some people don't get hungry because they snack too much between meals. It's important to eat three balanced meals a day so that your body gets all the nutrients it needs.


Tip 3: Take your time over meals and chew everything really well

If you chew thoroughly, you eat more slowly and it's easier to tell when you're full. The process of digestion starts in the mouth. Chewing food well stimulates the production of saliva, which contains enzymes that help to break down starch.


Tip 4: Eat desserts straight after your meal

A dessert is best eaten as part of a meal. Because your stomach is still full from the main course, your blood sugar level has already risen and you tend to eat less dessert. If you leave more time between courses, your blood sugar level drops and you eat more. This means you don't have a long enough fasting phase for fat burning to begin.


Tip 5: Early evening meal

Late, greasy dinners are hard for your gastrointestinal tract to deal with and can cause discomfort. There should ideally be some time between your last meal and bedtime. The evening meal should not be too high in fat.


Tip 6: A glass of water in the morning

A glass of water on an empty stomach in the morning stimulates the digestion. Adults should drink around 1.5 to 2 litres of water spread throughout the day. Keeping hydrated helps the body to transport nutrients such as vitamins to where they're needed.


Tip 7: Several small meals or fewer large ones?

People with low blood sugar are advised to eat little and often. But if your blood sugar level is too high, it's better to eat three times a day. This allows the blood sugar level to drop in between meals. People who want to lose weight also benefit from limiting themselves to three meals a day.


Tip 8: Wholegrain, plant-based food

Several studies have shown that a predominantly unprocessed and plant-based diet can have a positive effect on lifestyle diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Meat, fish, eggs and dairy products should be enjoyed in small quantities.
A purely wholegrain, plant-based diet can also improve digestion, boost energy levels and lead to better sleep and a significant improvement in physical and mental health. A purely vegan and balanced diet should be supplemented with vitamin B12. It can also be hard to get other nutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamin D and potassium from a vegan diet, and the levels of these should therefore be checked regularly. It's especially important for vegans to make sure they are getting enough protein.


Tip 9: Cut down on sugar

A healthy, balanced diet doesn't need any sugar. That's why sugar is in the top level of the Swiss food pyramid. Consuming large amounts of sugar (table sugar, raw sugar, honey, agave syrup etc.) and products that contain sugar contributes to diseases such as obesity and diabetes. So it's better to drink coffee or tea without sugar, and to reach for a piece of fresh fruit when you crave something sweet. Ginger water can help to reduce sweetness cravings.


Tip 10: Go easy on the salt

Salt encourages the body to retain water, which can be bad for your blood pressure. It's better to use fresh herbs to season food. Most industrially processed food contains large quantities of salt.


Tip 11: Avoid distractions while eating

When eating, you should focus on your plate. Turn off the TV and put your smartphone down. If you are distracted, your body doesn't register what it is eating or when it is full. So you tend to eat more. A meal at a table with friends and family is a pleasure and a real treat.

Tip 12: Gentle preparation

Cook vegetables at low temperatures using as little water as possible so that they retain more of their nutrients.

Tip 13: Drink plenty

You should drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day, or two to three litres when it's hot. Water is preferable to any sugary drink.

Tip 14: Enjoy variety

The more colourful and the greater the variety on the plate, the better. Your diet should be as colourful as a rainbow with fruit and vegetables of every hue: red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. There are also white and brown varieties of fruit and vegetables.

Tip 15: Use healthy fats

Not all fats are the same, and not all fats are bad. Studies suggest that rapeseed or olive oil should be used for cold recipes. HOLL rapeseed oil can be used for frying. Coconut oil or ghee can be heated to very high temperatures without producing harmful compounds. Olive oil contains antioxidants and has an anti-inflammatory effect. Rapeseed oil and flaxseed oil should not be heated because they contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. If they are heated to too high a temperature, they form unhealthy trans fats. Trans-fatty acids can increase the level of LDL cholesterol in the blood, and can cause inflammation in the body in the long term.

Healthy alternatives

There shouldn't be any absolute no-nos in your diet, because eating should be enjoyable. The list below contains tasty and healthy alternatives to make sure you don't miss out on the joys of eating.


Food Healthy alternative
Sweets and chocolate Dried fruit and unsalted nuts, dark chocolate
Sunflower oil, butter Rapeseed or flaxseed oil (only if it doesn't need to be heated)
Shop-bought muesli Homemade muesli mix with oats, lightly toasted nuts, dried fruit, seeds and, if you must, sweetened with a little honey
Refined flour products Wholemeal products
Tinned fruit Fresh fruit
Salt Herbs
Salami Vegetarian spreads, dried meat
Crisps Pretzel sticks, homemade popcorn
Lemonade and juices Water with berries or a lemon wedge, tea
Beer, wine, cocktails Alcohol-free beer, fruit juice spritzer
Hot chocolate, Ovaltine Raw cacao
Chips Baked potatoes
Shop-bought sauces Homemade sauces with fresh herbs and less salt
Quark creme Low-fat quark
Crème fraîche Blanc battu
Meatloaf, bologna sausage Dried meat
Fruit yoghurt Natural yoghurt

SWICA can support you with exclusive services

Up to 900 francs* for preventive services each year
Nutrition plays an important role in your health and wellbeing. That's why SWICA supports its supplementary insurance customers with up to 900 francs* per year (*find out more) with a variety of offers in the area of nutrition such as nutrition advice, nutrition apps, TCM, diet and nutrition programmes with SWICA-recognised advisors or service providers. By the way, supplementary insurance is a valuable add-on to your basic insurance in every case, and you can purchase a plan from SWICA at any time, regardless of which insurer currently provides your basic insurance.

To supplementary insurance cover

Free nutrition advice from santé24 for SWICA customers

Would you like to eat more healthily and consciously, perhaps lose a few pounds, or do you have any general questions regarding nutrition? SWICA's customers can access free nutritional advice from specialists at the santé24 telemedicine service. Call santé24 to make an appointment.

santé24 - your Swiss telemedicine service
Phone +41 44 404 86 86

View the entire range of santé24 services

santé24: Registration for a telephone consultation

SWICA – Because health is everything

Being active pays off. SWICA – unlike many other health insurance companies – supports your personal commitment through a wide range of activities and offers relating to health promotion and preventive healthcare. Whether you're looking for nutritional advice, yoga, tai chi, fitness classes, swimming lessons, breathing exercises, personal training, mindfulness training, tennis or one of the other available options, you enjoy attractive contributions of up to 1'300 francs* per year from the COMPLETA FORTE, COMPLETA PRAEVENTA and OPTIMA supplementary insurance plans (*see detailed information).

Incidentally, supplementary insurance always provides valuable additional benefits above and beyond those available under basic insurance. It can be taken out with SWICA at any time, regardless of which insurer currently provides your basic insurance.


Personal consultation

Would you like more information or a personal consultation? SWICA Client Services would be happy to assist. Call us on 0800 80 90 80 or send us a message using the contact form below.

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