Canada’s Food Guide aims to help people make better food choices. It is a guide for our multicultural population of 30 million people and can be used for healthy people aged two and older. There is also a food guide for First Nations, Inuit and Metis. This is available in five languages.
Canada’s Food Guide divides food into four main groups:
To help you and your family meet all your nutritional requirements, try making choices from each food group as recommended.
No single food group or individual food is more important than any other, no matter what claims surround it. For example, some exotic fruits might be high in antioxidants, but they may lack the important nutrients that are found in more common foods such as milk or whole grains.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends the number of food servings and serving sizes you should eat each day. Remember that this is only a guide. A person’s activity levels and nutritional needs will affect how much food they should eat.
Activity levels and nutritional needs can vary from person to person and from day to day. For example, your child will need specific nutrients when they are going through a growth spurt. The nutrients they need may be very different from those needed by a woman who is pregnant or breastfeeding.
How to use Canada’s Food Guide
Although the principles in Canada’s Food Guide are backed by scientific evidence, bear in mind that it is a general guide. It is not an individual meal plan for you, your child or your aging parent.
You can easily adapt Canada’s Food Guide to your own preferences. For example, some people may choose to eat meat, fish and poultry regularly, but others might choose “meat free” days or follow a vegetarian or even vegan diet. These diets can be adapted with various levels of attention to detail. Some require more planning, but all can be healthy ways of eating.
You can learn more about how to adapt Canada’s Food Guide to your family’s eating routine in ‘Nutrition for your baby’, ‘Nutrition for your toddler or preschooler’ and ‘Digestive system conditions and special diets’.
Just for Kids
The Fun Food Groups game in our Just for Kids section can help your child learn about the foods they eat every day.