What Type and Amount of Fat Do I Need?

Include a small amount - 30 to 45 mL (2 to 3 Tbsp) - of unsaturated fat each day to get the fat you need. This amount includes oil used for cooking, salad dressings, margarine and mayonnaise.

Unsaturated vegetable oils include:

  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Flaxseed
  • Olive
  • Peanut
  • Soybean
  • Sunflower

Limit butter, hard margarine, lard and shortening.

Here's what 30 mL (2 Tbsp) of unsaturated fat looks like in a sample day of eating:

  • 5 mL (1 tsp) of soft non-hydrogenated margarine on your toast or bread
  • 5 mL (1 tsp) of canola oil in your pan to make scrambled eggs


  • 15 mL (1 Tbsp) of vinegar and oil type salad dressing (e.g. Balsamic, Italian, raspberry vinaigrette) on your salad.


  • 5 mL (1 tsp) of canola or olive oil used to cook your stir-fry.

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Choose soft margarines that are low in saturated and trans fats.

When buying margarine, use the Nutrition Facts table to compare how much saturated and trans fats it contains. Choose a non-hydrogenated margarine with two grams or less of saturated and trans fat combined, for the amount of margarine listed in the Nutrition Facts table.

Non-hydrogenated margarine

Nutrition Facts
Per 2 tsp (10 g)
Amount Daily Value
Calories 70
Fat 8 g 12 %
Saturated 1 g
+ Trans 0 g
5 %
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 65 mg 3 %
Carbohydrate 0 g 0 %
Fibre 0 g 0 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 0 g
Vitamin A 10 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 0 %   Iron 0 %

Prepare foods with small amounts of unsaturated fats and use less fat when cooking

  • Use small amounts of vegetable oils for stir-frying or sautéing - a teaspoon is usually enough.
  • Heat oil before frying to prevent the food from soaking up the oil.
  • Fill a spray bottle with vegetable oil to spray your pans instead of greasing.
  • Substitute soft margarine for hard margarine, butter or lard in baking.
  • Make your own salad dressing with canola or olive oil. Add balsamic, rice wine or other vinegars. Flavour with lemon juice, dry or Dijon mustard, garlic and herbs.
  • Keep oils in a cool dark cupboard or in the refrigerator to prevent them from going rancid.

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