Criteria for healthy lunch

In Finland, more than 2 million meals are daily eaten outside home. Thus the nutritional quality of those meals is of great importance to public health.

Restaurants and caterers which want to join the system, apply for the right to use the system from Finnish Heart Association.

In order to get the right to use Heart Symbol, a restaurant must fulfill all criteria in at least one meal that includes main course and side dishes. The criteria is based on Finnish national nutritional recommendations (by National Nutrition Counsil).

Meal with Heart Symbol includes:

  • Main course
  • Other meal components

1. Criteria for main course

Type of main courseNutrition content/ 100 g, maximum

Saturated fat,
Salt (NaCl),
Alternative product
3 (5)1 (1,5)0,5-0,7Convenience food with Heart Symbol
Porridges (a310,5Convenience food with Heart Symbol
Casseroles, risotto, lasagne, salads with chicken, fish etc. (b, pizza, pie5 (7)2 (2)0,6-0,75Convenience food with Heart Symbol
Sauces with meat, fish or vegetables9 (11)3,5 (3,5)0,9Convenience food with Heart Symbol
Steaks, cutlets, meatloafs, rolls etc. with or without sauce8 (12 c)3 (3,5)0,9Convenience food with Heart Symbol

a) The grain used must have at least 6% dietary fibre.

b) There has to be at least 150g vegetables/portion in salads. All other vegetables except for potato is taken into account.

c) There can be more fat if fish is the only source of fat

Numbers in quantity are used in fish dishes

2. Side dishes for main courses

Side dishNutrition content/ 100 g
fat, gsaturated fat, gSalt (NaCl), gDietary fibre
(uncooked), g
pasta-0,70,3minimum 6
ricemixes, barley, couscous etc. -0,70,3minimum 6
wholegrain rice-0,70,3minimum 3
cooked potatono added fat-no added salt-
other kind of potato side dishes (such as mashed potato, baked potato) -0,70,3-0,5-

3. Other side dishes

Side dishNutrition content/ 100 g, maximum
fat, ghard fat (satureted + transfat)salt (NaCl), gdietary fibre, g Alternative product
breadsoft bread maximum 0,7;
dried bread maximum 1,2
minimum 6product with Heart Symbol
spreadspreferably minimum 60 (gmaximum 30 % of fatmaximum 1product with Heart Symbol
milk or buttermilkmaximum 0,5product with Heart Symbol
Vegetables(i: - Fresh saladin marinade maximum 20% of fat can be hard fatno added saltproduct with Heart Symbol
- Cooked vegetablesin marinade maximum 20% of fat can be hard fat0,3product with Heart Symbol
Salad dressingpreferably 15 or more(jmaximum 20 % of fatmaximum 1product or vegetable oil with Heart Symbol

g and j) to ensure that meal contains enough unsaturated fat.

i) fruits or berries can complement the supply of vegetables

In addition to criteria, restaurant must give customer information: healthier main dishes and meal components are marked with symbol on buffet.