Use our overview of the guide to help you choose the right amounts and the right types of food. Making healthy food choices is a key factor in overall health – so we’ve created this overview to help you:
- Make sure you get enough vitamins, minerals and other nutrients
- Reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer and osteoporosis
- Get on track toward overall health and vitality
The Food Groups. Canada’s Food Guide recommends the amount and types of food you should aim to eat from each of the four food groups: Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives, and Meat and Alternatives. The arcs of the rainbow represent the proportion of each food group in the healthy eating pattern. Since vegetables and fruit and grain products are the outer arcs, they should make up the greatest proportion of the food you eat each day.
Know How Much to Eat. Food Guide Servings are “reference” or typical amounts of food that can help you understand how much to eat from the four food groups. Here are some examples of these handy Food Guide Servings:
|Type of Food||Food Guide Serving|
|Fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables||½ cup (125 mL)|
|Whole wheat bread||1 slice, 35 g|
|Yogurt||¾ cup (175 g)|
|Cooked meat, poultry or fish||75 g|
The number of Food Guide Servings you need each day depends on your age and gender. For example, a 35-year-old woman should aim for seven to eight vegetables and fruit, six to seven grain products, two milk and alternatives, and two meat and alternatives. Canada’s Food Guide makes these recommendations for all Canadians age two years and over. Check the long version of Canada’s Food Guide to find out your recommended number of Food Guide Servings for each food group.
Know Which Foods to Choose. The type of food you choose within each food group is just as important as the amount. Use the following tips to make healthy choices within each food group.
Tips for Choosing Vegetables and Fruit
- Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.
- Prepare vegetables and fruit with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
- Choose vegetables and fruit more often than juice.
Tips for Choosing Grain Products
- Aim to make at least half of your grain products whole grain.
- Choose grain products that are lower in fat, sugar or salt.
Tips for Choosing Milk and Alternatives
- Drink skim, 1% or 2% milk.
- Choose lower fat milk alternatives.
Tips for Choosing Meat and Alternatives
- Eat meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often.
- Eat at least two Food Guide Servings of fish each week.
- Select lean meat and alternatives prepared with little or no added fat or salt.
Tips for Choosing Oils and Fats
- In addition to the four food groups, Canada’s Food Guide recommends that you consume a small amount – 2-3 tablespoons – of healthy fat each day. This includes oil used for cooking, salad dressings, margarine and mayonnaise.
Want to read more? Get your own copy of Canada’s Food Guide: