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EVERY DAY HEALTHY EATING

Healthy eating habits aren't about following a strict diet plan. It's about making healthy food and drink choices as a part of what you do every day. This will help you to be the healthiest you can be.

An unhealthy diet comes with several issues, including greater risks for cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, osteoporosis, obesity and type 2 diabetes. Healthy eating can greatly reduce your risks for chronic disease.

Health Condition Specific Information

Choose from one of the health conditions below to see how lifestyle choices can impact your risk of developing that health condition.

Does HEALTHY EATING really help?

  • Adopting a diet high in vegetables and fruits may reduce the risk of mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus and stomach cancers.6
  • Eating an additional serving of vegetables or fruits each day can lower the risk of heart disease by 4%.7
  • Eating two additional pieces of fruit each day can lower the risk of stroke by 32%, and eating 2 additional servings of vegetables every day can lower the risk by 11%.7 
  • Maintaining a high fibre intake can lower the risk of heart disease by 14%, and changing the type and amount of dietary fat eaten can lower the risk by 16%.8,9
  • Eating a healthy diet and limiting the intake of high calorie foods and sugary drinks are linked to healthy body weights. This can reduce the number of people with type 2 diabetes linked to overweight and obesity.10

Reducing sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day lowers the risk of heart attacks and strokes by 30%, preventing 23,500 cases of cardiovascular events each year in Canada.11

A FULL DAY OF EATING HEALTHY

With a little planning, it is very possible to eat the recommended 7-10 vegetables and fruit servings in a day for adults:

  • Breakfast: Raisins in cereal
  • Mid-Morning: A banana
  • Lunch: A sandwich packed with lettuce and tomatoes, along with a piece of fruit
  • Mid-Afternoon: Raw veggies and dip
  • Dinner: Stir-fry with vegetables

MAKE YOUR PLATE HEALTHY!

Whether sitting down for a family meal or packing a lunch, putting a healthy meal together is easier than you may think.

Select an item on the plate and learn how to create a balanced meal.

7-10 SERVINGS OF VEGETABLES & Fruit
2-3 SERVINGS OF MEAT & ALTERNATIVES

Choose lean cuts of meat and don’t forget to include fish. For meat alternatives, choose foods like split peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, lentils or tofu in place of meat.

2-3 Tablespoons (Tbsp) of Oils & Fats

When preparing meals, replace shortening, lard or hard margarines with healthy oils and fats such as canola, olive and soybean.

9-12 cups of fluids

Drink milk or a fortified soy beverage during meals, and drink water throughout the day between meals.

2 SERVINGS OF MILK & ALTERNATIVES

Drink milk (skim, 1% or 2% milk) or unsweetened fortified soy beverage each day. Choose milk alternatives such as cheese and yogurt that are lower in fat, sugars and sodium.

6-8 SERVINGS OF GRAIN PRODUCTS

Eat a variety of whole grains such as barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa and wild rice.

*Serving size based on recommended number of food guide servings per day for females and males 19-50.

CANADA’S FOOD GUIDE

Everything we eat and drink matters and will affect our health in the future. Health Canada has set guidelines to help Canadians eat a diet that helps them to be their healthiest, which helps reduce their risk of chronic diseases. The guide covers what to choose, how much to eat and how to prepare the foods. It also groups foods by the different nutrients they provide, and the types and amounts of foods that are needed for healthy living.

Download your copy of Canada's Food Guide.

LEARNING A BETTER WAY TO EAT

  • Eat vegetables and/or fruits at every meal.
  • Choose fresh fruits and vegetables as snacks.
  • Eat foods high in fibre like whole grains, vegetables, and fruit.
  • Drink water and avoid sugary drinks such as pop. Here are some tips for choosing healthy drinks.
  • Downsize portions to manage a healthy weight.
  • Eat lean meats, poultry, fish and meat alternatives such as tofu and pulses (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas).
  • Limit processed meats.
  • Include small amounts of healthy fats such as vegetable oils, avocados and nuts; avoid trans fats.
  • Eat fewer processed and packaged foods, which often contain too much sodium, fat and/or sugar.
  • Eat out less. A healthy meal can take less than 30 minutes to prepare.
  • Slow down and enjoy your meal. Eat with others and turn off distractions like phones or a TV if they are present.

Cost is something you may think about when you spend money on food. A good way to cut down on your food bill is to eat out less often.

  • If you are looking for information on how to make healthy food choices in the grocery store while considering cost, see the Tips to Spend Less Money on Food (this resource is not intended for individuals and households who are unable to afford or access a basic healthy diet).

TRENDS AND FADS

When it comes to eating healthy, there aren’t any shortcuts. For all the talk of celebrity diets and "superfoods", it’s more important to stick to the fundamentals of eating healthy. Most fad diets take things to an extreme, don't actually work and may be harmful in the long run. Experts already agree that no one food will suddenly change your health. Eating healthy is a lifelong habit, which may take some time to develop. Take it one small change at a time and make it part of your everyday life.