Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide
Canada’s Food Guide does a good job at providing guidelines for food groups and number of servings to help you understand what a healthy balanced diet looks like. The key is to strive for a healthy balanced diet of whole, natural foods and avoid highly processed foods. Look at the big picture, and don’t worry about single nutrients such as sugar, fat and salt. Below are the highlights from Canada’s Food Guide including what to eat, what not to eat, recommended number of servings and serving sizes. Following Canada's Food Guide recommendations will ensure that you'll get your daily requirements for vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients, helping you to achieve overall good health and vitality.
Healthy eating recommendations:
- Eating plenty of vegetables and fruit. Every day, include a dark green (such as broccoli, asparagus and romaine lettuce) and an orange (such as carrots and sweet potato) vegetable.
- Making half of your grain products whole grain (such as brown and wild rice, bulgur, quinoa and oatmeal) each day.
- Serving fish twice a week (such as rainbow trout, salmon and sardines). See Health Canada's advice on limiting exposure to mercury from certain types of fish.
- Including beans, lentils and tofu (meat alternatives) more often in your diet.
- Drinking lower fat milk and milk alternatives such as fortified soy beverages. Be aware that other fortified drinks such as orange juice, rice, almond and potato do not contain the same level of protein found in milk or soy.
- Using unsaturated oils such as canola, olive, and soybean as well as non-hydrogenated margarines (Include a small amount - 30 to 45 mL/2 to 3 tbsp a day).
- Taking a Vitamin D supplement if you are over the age of 50. If you are planning on becoming pregnant, take a multivitamin that contains folic acid. Once pregnant, your supplements should also contain iron.
- Adults (18 to 64) and older adults (65+) must get at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity per week. Children need moderate to vigorous physical activity for at least 60 minutes every day.
What not to eat:
- foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar or salt such as desserts, fried snack foods, alcohol and sugar sweetened beverages
- saturated fats from fatty meats, butter, lard, shortening and hard margarines
- trans fats found in such foods as doughnuts, cookies and other baked goods.
Recommended number of servings per day:
Canada's Food Guide also outlines the number of servings we should eat from each of the four food groups and provides guidance on portion sizes. The recommended number of serving sizes is based on age and gender. Look at the chart below to find your recommended number of Food Guide servings per day. Remember that it is just the average amount that people should try to eat each day.
How big is a serving of food?
Last reviewed May 2011.
Last modified May 2011.