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S e a r c h f o r i n f o:
Healthy Eating: An Ounce of Prevention...
Healthy eating can make you feel, look and perform better.
Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating is designed to
help you choose foods that will give you the energy and
nutrients you need to be healthy. Here are some tips to
help you use the food guide to develop your own healthy
1. Choose a variety of foods
- Choose at least one food from each of the four food
groups—Grain products, Vegetables and fruits, Milk
products and Meats and alternates—at every meal.
- Plan your meals around the lower fat food groups,
Grain Products and Vegetables and Fruits.
2. Eat regular meals and snacks throughout the day
- Most people feel and work best when they eat three
meals and one to three snacks each day.
- Eat breakfast everyday. Choose foods you like.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be toast or cereal!
- Use the serving sizes in the food guide to help you
eat the right amount of food for you.
3. Drink more water
- Drink at least six to eight glasses of fluid each day
from water, juice and milk.
- Your body needs water and other fluids to help
digest food, cool the body and move nutrients and
wastes through the body.
4. Eat less fat
- Choose lean meats, poultry and fish (not more than
100–300 gm total per day) and lower fat milk
products such as 1% or skim milk and yogurt. Eat
cheese in small amounts. If you want a lower fat
cheese, choose cheese with less than 20% milk fat.
- Spread it thin. A little margarine, butter, oil, salad
dressings, cream cheese and fat spreads goes a
- Cook with very little or no added fat. Bake, broil,
barbeque and boil food instead of frying.
- When you eat higher fat foods such as pastries,
deep fried foods, gravies, sauces and cream, have
- Order lower fat foods in restaurants. Ask to have
foods prepared with no added fat. Most restaurants
will be happy to do this for you.
5. Eat more fibre
- Your body takes longer to digest high fibre foods.
When you eat more fibre, you will feel full for longer.
- You need about 25 to 35 grams of fibre each day.
For more information on adding fibre to your diet,
see the fact sheets on fibre which are available
from your public health centre.
- Eat whole grain breads, cereals, legumes (beans,
peas and lentils), vegetables and fruits at each
meal and for snacks.
- Eat a high fibre cereal every day. Eat it on its own or
add it to another favorite cereal.
- Add a scoop of raisins, a banana, or strawberries
to your cereal.
- Use bran or wheat germ in hamburger patties,
coating mixes and baking and add it to cereal.
- Gradually increase the amount of fibre you eat and
include it often in your meals to lessen gas and
- Fibre holds fluid to keep stools soft. Drink at least
six to eight cups of fluid (water, juice or milk) each
6. Eat less sugar, alcohol and caffeine
- Eat or drink less pop, sugar filled drinks, white or
brown sugar, honey, syrup, chocolate, candy, cakes
and cookies. These foods have very few nutrients.
- If you drink alcohol, limit the amount you drink to no
more than two drinks per day (one drink = one can
of beer, 45 ml spirits, or 150 ml of wine). Alcohol
can increase your appetite and contains a lot of
calories. Limit caffeine to the amount found in four
small cups of coffee. Remember that cola soft
drinks and tea also contain caffeine.
7. Eat less salt
- Everyone should cut back on the amount of salt
they eat. Most people only need the amount of
sodium found in 1/25 of a teaspoon of salt but
many of us eat one to three teaspoons of salt every
- Cook with very little salt and use none at the table.
Use herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of salt.
- Eat less processed and packaged foods such as
lunch meats, soups, snack foods, salted crackers,
pickles, ketchup, soya sauce and salad dressings.
- Eat less fast food. These foods often contain a lot
of salt and fat.
8. Maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle
- Eat the amount of food that you need to stay at a
healthy weight. A healthy weight will lower your risk
of health problems such as heart disease, high
blood pressure and diabetes.
- Use the Body Mass Index (BMI) to know if you are at
a healthy weight. Remember, healthy bodies come
in all shapes and sizes.
- For more information, see the BMI fact sheet
available from your public health centre.
- Make physical activity part of your life every day.
Exercise helps to strengthen your heart, lungs and
muscles. Being active will also help you maintain
your weight and give you energy. Don’t know where
to start? Try walking. It’s easy and doesn’t require
anything other than a good pair of shoes.
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