Food-based dietary guidelines

Food-based dietary guidelines - Canada

Official name

Canada's food guide 

Publication year

Canada's first food guide, the Official Food Rules, was first published in July 1942. Since 1942, the food guide has been revised many times, most recently in 2019. 

Process and stakeholders

Health Canada undertook a revision process ensuring the new Canada’s food guide was built on a solid foundation of evidence.

The food and health evidence that forms the foundation of the Food Guide  is described in the Evidence Review for Dietary Guidance 2015 and the Food, Nutrients and Health: Interim Evidence Update 2018.

In addition, input from public consultations, experts,and the public was considered  in ensuring the new food guide’s  relevance and usefulness to Canadians .

More details about the revision process can be found at:

Intended audience

Canada’s food guide provides dietary guidance for members of the Canadian population two years of age and older.  

Food guide

Canada's food guide was developed using a digital-first approach and is delivered through a mobile-friendly web application

Messages (Healthy eating recommendations)

Healthy eating is more than the foods you eat. It is also about where, when, why and how you eat

  • Be mindful of your eating habits
    • Take time to eat
    • Notice when you are hungry and when you are full
  • Cook more often
    • Plan what you eat
    • Involve others in planning and preparing meals
  • Enjoy your food
    • Culture and food traditions can be a part of healthy eating
  • Eat meals with others

Make it a habit to eat a variety of healthy foods each day

  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and protein foods. Choose protein foods that come from plants more often.
    • Choose foods with healthy fats instead of saturated fat
  • Limit highly processed foods. If you choose these foods, eat them less often and in small amounts.
    • Prepare meals and snacks using ingredients that have little to no added sodium, sugars or saturated fat
    • Choose healthier menu options when eating out
  • Make water your drink of choice
    • Replace sugary drinks with water
  • Use food labels
  • Be aware that food marketing can influence your choices

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