Canada Food Guide for Healthy Eating

Canada Food Guide

Summary of Guiding Principles and Recommendations

Based on the available evidence, Health Canada has translated the science on food and health into evidence-informed Guiding Principles and Recommendations for application in the Canadian context (Table 1).

The Guiding Principles and Recommendations provide a foundation for healthy eating that promotes health and reduces the risk of nutrition-related chronic disease. Health Canada recognizes that Canadians may occasionally have foods and beverages outside these recommendations; less healthy choices high in sodium, sugars, or saturated fat will be consumed at times. What matters most is what people eat on a regular basis.

Individuals with special dietary requirements may need additional guidance from a health care professional.
Table 1: Proposed Guiding Principles, Recommendations and Considerations

Guiding Principles and Recommendations

Guiding Principle 1: A variety of nutritious foods and beverages are the foundation for healthy eating.Health Canada recommends:

  • Regular intake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains and protein-rich foods, especially plant-based sources of protein
  • Inclusion of foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat, instead of foods that contain mostly saturated fat
  • Regular intake of water

Guiding Principle 2: Processed or prepared foods and beverages high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat undermine healthy eating.Health Canada recommends:

  • Limited intake of processed or prepared foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat
  • Avoidance of  processed or prepared beverages high in sugars

Guiding Principle 3: Knowledge and skills are needed to navigate the complex food environment and support healthy eating. Health Canada recommends:

  • Selecting nutritious foods when shopping or eating out
  • Planning and preparing healthy meals and snacks
  • Sharing meals with family and friends whenever possible


  • Determinants of health
  • Cultural diversity
  • Environment

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