Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide - First Nations, Inuit and Métis

From: Health Canada

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Organization: Health Canada

Published: 2007-04-11

Table of Contents

Eating Well Every Day

Canada's Food Guide describes healthy eating for Canadians two years of age or older. Choosing the amount and type of food recommended in Canada's Food Guide will help:

  • children and teens grow and thrive
  • meet your needs for vitamins, minerals and other nutrients
  • lower your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and osteoporosis (weak and brittle bones).

How to use Canada's Food Guide

The Food Guide shows how many servings to choose from each food group every day and how much food makes a serving.

  1. Find your age and sex group in the chart below.
  2. Follow down the column to the number of servings you need for each of the four food groups every day.
  3. Look at the examples of the amount of food that counts as one serving. For instance, 125 mL (½ cup) of carrots is one serving in the Vegetables and Fruit food group.
Recommended Number of
Food Guide Servings per day
Children Children Teens and Adults
2-3 years old 4-13 years old (Females) (Males)
Vegetables and Fruit
Fresh, frozen and canned
4 5-6 7-8 7-10
Grain Products 3 4-6 6-7 7-8
Milk and Alternatives 2 2-4 Teens
(19-50 years)
(19-50 years)
Meat and Alternatives 1 1-2 2 3

What is one Food Guide Serving?

Look at the examples below.

Vegetables and Fruit

Fresh, frozen and canned.

Dark green and orange vegetables
125 mL (½ cup)

Vegetables and Fruit

Fresh, frozen and canned.

Dark green and orange vegetables
125 mL (½ cup)

Other vegetables
125 mL (½ cup)

Leafy vegetables and wild plants
cooked 125 mL (½ cup)
raw 250 mL (1 cup)

125 mL (½ cup)

1 fruit or 125 mL (½ cup)

100% Juice
125 mL (½ cup)

Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day. Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt. Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.

Grain Products

1 slice (35g)

35g (2" x 2" x 1")

Cold Cereal
30g (see food package)

Hot Cereal
175 mL (3/4 cup)

Cooked Pasta
125 mL (½ cup)

Cooked Rice
White, brown, wild
125 mL (½ cup)

Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day. Choose grain products that are lower in fat, sugar or salt.

Milk and Alternatives

Powdered milk, mixed
250 mL (1 cup)

Fortified soy beverage
250 mL (1 cup)

Canned milk
125 mL (½ cup)

175 g (3/4 cup)

50g (1 ½ oz.)

Drink 500 mL (2 cups) of skim, 1% or 2% milk each day. Select lower fat milk alternatives. Drink fortified soy beverages if you do not drink milk.

Meat and Alternatives

Traditional meats and wild game
75g cooked (2 ½ oz)/125mL (½ cup)

Fish and shellfish
75g cooked (2 ½ oz)/125 mL (½ cup)

Lean meat and poultry
75g cooked (2 ½ oz)/125mL (½ cup)

2 eggs

Beans - cooked
175 mL (3/4 cup)

Peanut Butter
30 mL (2 Tbsp)

Have meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often. Eat at least two Food Guide Servings of fish each week.* Select lean meat and alternatives prepared with little or no added fat or salt.

* Health Canada provides advice for limiting exposure to mercury from certain types of fish. Refer to for the latest information. Consult local, provincial or territorial governments for information about eating locally caught fish.

When cooking or adding fat to food:

  • Most of the time, use vegetable oils with unsaturated fats. These include canola, olive and soybean oils.
  • Aim for a small amount (2 to 3 tablespoons or about 30-45mL) each day. This amount includes oil used for cooking, salad dressings, margarine and mayonnaise.
  • Traditional fats that are liquid at room temperature, such as seal and whale oil, or ooligan grease, also contain unsaturated fats. They can be used as all or part of the 2-3 tablespoons of unsaturated fats recommended per day.
  • Choose soft margarines that are low in saturated and trans fats.
  • Limit butter, hard margarine, lard, shortening and bacon fat.

Respect your body... Your choices matter

Following Canada's Food Guide and limiting foods and drinks which contain a lot of calories, fat, sugar or salt are important ways to respect your body. Examples of foods and drinks to limit are:

  • pop
  • fruit flavoured drinks
  • sweet drinks made from crystals
  • sports and energy drinks
  • candy and chocolate
  • cakes, pastries, doughnuts and muffins
  • granola bars and cookies
  • ice cream and frozen desserts
  • potato chips
  • nachos and other salty snacks
  • french fries
  • alcohol

People who do not eat or drink milk products must plan carefully to make sure they get enough nutrients.

The traditional foods pictured here are examples of how people got, and continue to get, nutrients found in milk products. Since traditional foods are not eaten as much as in the past, people may not get these nutrients in the amounts needed for health.

Wild plants, seaweed
Bannock (made with baking powder)
Fish with bones, shellfish, nuts, beans

People who do not eat or drink milk products need more individual advice from a health care provider.

Women of childbearing age

All women who could become pregnant, and pregnant and breastfeeding women, need a multivitamin with folic acid every day. Pregnant women should make sure that their multivitamin also contains iron. A health care provider can help you find the multivitamin that is right for you.

When pregnant and breastfeeding, women need to eat a little more. They should include an extra 2 to 3 Food Guide Servings from any of the food groups each day.

For example:

  • have dry meat or fish and a small piece of bannock for a snack, or
  • have an extra slice of toast at breakfast and an extra piece of cheese at lunch.

Women and men over the age of 50

The need for vitamin D increases after the age of 50.

In addition to following Canada's Food Guide, men and women over the age of 50 should take a daily vitamin D supplement of 10 µg (400 IU).

For strong body, mind and spirit, be active every day.

This guide is based on Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide.

For more information, interactive tools or additional copies visit Canada's Food Guide at:

or contact:

Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada
Public Enquiries Contact Centre
10 Wellington Street
Gatineau QC  K1A 0H4

Phone (toll-free): 1-800-567-9604
Fax: 1-866-817-3977
TTY (toll-free): 1-866-553-0554

Également disponible en français sous le titre : Bien manger avec le Guide alimentaire canadien - Premières Nations, Inuit et Métis

This publication can be made available on request on diskette, large print, audio-cassette and braille.

This publication has been archived and is no longer available. For more information visit Canada’s food guide at

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