Health Canada Food & Nutrition

What is a Food Guide Serving?

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The Recommended Number of Food Guide Servings chart shows how much food you need from each of the four food groups every day.

Find your age and sex in this chart to see how much food you need.

A Food Guide Serving is simply a reference amount. It helps you understand how much food is recommended every day from each of the four food groups. In some cases, a Food Guide Serving may be close to what you eat, such as an apple. In other cases, such as rice or pasta, you may serve yourself more than one Food Guide Serving.

Look at the examples below to find out how much food is equal to one Food Guide Serving.

Fruits & Vegetables

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

Wheats & Grains

  • Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day.
  • Eat a variety of whole grains such as barley,
    brown rice, oats, and quinoa and wild rice.
  • Enjoy whole grain breads, oatmeal and whole wheat pasta.
  • Choose grain products that are low in fat, sugar or salt.
  • Compare the Nutrition Factstable on labels to make wise choices.
  • Enjoy the true taste of grain products. When adding sauces or spreads, use small amounts.

Milk & Dairy

  •  Drink skim, 1% or 2% milk each day.
  • Have 500 mL (2 cups) of milk everyday 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 yogurts or cheeses to make wise choices.

Meats & Alternatives

Have 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.
    * Health Canada provides advice for limiting exposure to mercury from certain types of fish
  • Select lean meat and alternatives prepared with little or
    no added fat or salt.
  • Trim the visible fat from meats. Remove the skin from 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.


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