Guide for a Balanced Diet

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Guide for a Balanced Diet

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Here is a brief guide for making healthy food choices using Canada's Food Guide. Healthy choices from each of the food groups, in appropriate serving sizes, will help you have a balanced diet. For a personalized food and activity tracker, see the interactive website:

  • Vegetables and fruit. Eat 7 to 10 servings per day of vegetables and fruits. They contain little if any fat and lots of nutrients that help protect against heart disease. And fruits make a sweet ending to a meal. Choose dark green and orange vegetables and orange fruit often.
  • Grain products. Eat 6 to 8 servings per day of grain products. Choose whole-grain and enriched products more often, such as whole-grain breads, cold and cooked cereals and grains, pasta (without creamy sauces), hard rolls, or low-fat or fat-free crackers. Limit your intake of foods that have added fats and sugars, such as croissants, pastries, granola, commercial muffins, snack crackers, and chips.
  • Milk and alternatives. Choose low-fat or fat-free products from this food group. Most adults need 2 to 3 servings of milk and milk products a day. If you have problems digesting milk, try eating cheese or yogurt instead, since these foods are low in lactose.
  • Meat and alternatives. Most adults need just 2 to 3 servings of meat a day. A serving is 75 g (2½ oz) of cooked fish, poultry, or lean meat. For many people, cutting back on meat serving sizes has the biggest impact on their fat intake. Choose fish and lean poultry more often and red meat and fried meats less often. Meat alternatives like dried beans, tofu, and nuts are also good protein sources.

Limit fats and oils, including those used in cooking. When you do use fats, choose oils that are liquid at room temperature (unsaturated fats), such as canola oil and olive oil. Avoid hydrogenated oils (trans fat) and foods that contain them. Choose margarines that come in a soft tub or squeeze bottle.

Limit sweets and high-fat snacks. Most of these foods are high in fat and sugar and should be limited to occasional use. Choose fruit instead of sweets as often as you can.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Last Revised March 29, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.