Making Good Food Choices
Eating well: what is recommended?
The Institute of Medicine1 recommends that a certain percent of your daily calories come from carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
For adults the ranges are:
Carbohydrates45 to 65%Protein10 to 35%Fat20 to 35%
Health Canada's Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide shows you the amount and type of foods that are part of a healthy eating pattern! The Guide recommends four food groups: Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives and Meat and Alternatives, plus a certain amount of added fats and oils.
What amount of food should you eat?
The Food Guide recommends a number of servings from each food group. These are different by age and whether you are male of female. The serving sizes are the same for children 2 years and older.
Recommended number of Canada's Food Guide servings per day
|2-3||4-8||9-13||14-18 Years||19-50 Years||+51 Years|
|Girls & Boys||Male||Female||Male||Female||Male||Female|
|Vegetables and Fruit||4||5||6||7||8||7-8||8-10||7||7|
|Milk and Alternatives||2||2||3-4||3-4||3-4||2||2||3||3|
|Meat and Alternatives||1||1||1-2||2||3||2||3||2||3|
|19-50 Years||+51 Years|
|Vegetables and Fruit||7-8||8-10||7||7|
|Milk and Alternatives||2||2||3||3|
|Meat and Alternatives||2||3||2||3|
|Girls & Boys||Male||Female|
|Vegetables and Fruit||4||5||6||7||8|
|Milk and Alternatives||2||2||3-4||3-4||3-4|
|Meat and Alternatives||1||1||1-2||2||3|
- ½ cup or 75 grams of lean meat, cooked fish, shellfish, poultry, or
- ¾ cup cooked beans, or
- 2 eggs, or
- 2Tbsp peanut butter
Make your calories count - Choose naturally nutrient-rich foods!
Foods that offer many vitamins and minerals, such as iron, zinc, B-vitamins, without excessive calories, are nutrient-dense. Examples of naturally nutrient-rich foods are lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, lower-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, bright colour vegetables, whole grain and fibre-rich grain foods. Choose naturally-nutrient rich foods more often!
Thinking about calories? Calories are simply the amount of energy in a food.
The amount of calories you need depends on many factors such as your age, gender, weight and activity level. Aim to achieve a calorie balance over time to help manage weight. This means a balance between the calories you eat and the calories your body uses to function and be physically active.
Based on government data, about 50-60% of adult men and women are overweight or obese in Canada2. Many things contribute to keeping a healthy weight such as the amount of calories you eat, physical activity and genetics.
How about sugar? There is a concern that added sugars increase risk of weight gain. While sugar contributes to calories, it is not the only cause of eating too many calories or weight gain. Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that is broken down in the body to become energy. Sugar can be naturally occurring or added. Canada's Food Guide recommends limiting foods and drinks that are high in added sugar.
- Make your calories count - choose "nutrient rich" foods! These foods offer a good amount of nutrients, vitamins and minerals, such as protein, iron, zinc, and relatively fewer calories.
- Look for calories per serving on the Nutrition Facts table on packaged foods and beverages.
- Use Canada's Food Guide to create a balanced and nutritious way of eating.
- Be physically active each day. Recommendations vary by age. For example, children and youth ages 5-17 should have 60-minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day.
Maple Leaf offers a variety of convenient nutritious choices that are 100 calories or less per serving or portion size. Here are a few product examples:
Menu ideas: Balanced Eating Made Easy
These menu ideas balance a variety of foods and meet your % Daily Value for important nutrients and the recommended servings in Canada’s Food Guide.