SIGN ME UP: Start the new year right with food guide

Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, according to the Canada Food Guide. - Jupiterimages
Vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, according to the Canada Food Guide.
— image credit: Jupiterimages

Almost everyone makes New Year’s resolutions at some point in their lives. Many Canadians at the start of each year resolve to eat better and become more physically active.

If these are among your goals for 2013, learning more about Canada’s Food Guide will help you and your family on your way to achieving your New Year’s resolution goals.

According to Health Canada, Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide provides recommendations on how many servings of each food group you should eat each day, including Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives, and Meat and Alternatives. The Food Guide also encourages people to limit foods and beverages that are high in calories, fat, sugar or salt.

By following the recommendations in Canada’s Food Guide, you will get the vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need. You may also reduce your risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and osteoporosis, as well as contribute to your overall health and vitality.

To eat well, start by following these easy tips for each of the four food groups:




• Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.

• Choose dark green vegetables such as broccoli, romaine lettuce and spinach.

• Go for orange vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes and winter squash.

• Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.

• Enjoy vegetables steamed, baked or stir-fried, instead of deep fried.

• Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.




• Make at least half of your grain products whole grain.

• Eat a variety of whole grains, such as barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa and wild rice.

• Enjoy whole grain breads, oatmeal and whole wheat pasta.

• Choose grain products that are low in fat, sugar and salt.

• Compare the Nutrition Facts table on labels to make wise choices.

• Enjoy the true taste of grain products. When adding sauces or spreads, use small amounts.




• Drink 500 ml (2 cups) of skim, 1% or 2% milk every day for adequate vitamin D.

• Drink fortified soy beverages if you do not drink milk.

• Select lower-fat milk alternatives.

• Compare the  Nutrition Facts table on yogurt or cheese labels to make wise choices.




• Eat meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often.

• Eat at least two Food Guide Servings of fish each week.

• Choose fish such as char, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and trout.

• Select lean meat and alternatives prepared with little or no added fat or salt.

• Trim the visible fat from meats. Remove the skin on poultry.

• Use cooking methods such as roasting, baking or poaching that require little or no added fat.

• If you eat luncheon meats, sausages or prepackaged meats, choose those lower in salt (sodium) and fat.

A diet low in saturated fat and trans fat can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. For good health, include a small amount of unsaturated fat each day such as canola, olive or soybean oil, margarine or mayonnaise.

If you’re thirsty, make water your beverage of choice. It’s a great calorie-free way to quench your thirst. Limit your intake of soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit drinks and punches, sweetened hot and cold beverages as well as alcohol. These beverages can be high in calories and low in nutrients.


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