Choosing Healthy Foods in Canada

Resources

 

Simplified version of this page can be downloaded as a handout.

Canada’s Food Guide

  • Eat a variety of healthy foods each day
  • Have plenty of vegetables and fruits
  • Eat protein foods
  • Choose whole grain foods
  • Make water your drink of choice

Vegetables and Fruit

  • Should be the largest part of meals
  • Need to be washed before
  • Canned vegetables and fruit can be just as healthy
  • Keep for a long time
  • Look for fruits labeled “in water” or “in fruit juice”, vegetables labeled “low sodium” or “no added salt”
  • Frozen vegetables and fruit just as healthy
  • Can help save time when preparing food

Whole Grain Foods

  • Whole grains have more vitamins, minerals and fibre
  • Whole grain breads, pastas and cereals
  • Wild or brown rice, quinoa, rolled oats

 


 

Protein Foods


Milk Products

  • Milk, yogurt, cheese, fortified soy beverage
  • Choose low fat milk products

 

Meat

  • Choose lean cuts of meat
  • Some cuts cost less money
  • Try to have fish twice a week

 

Protein foods that come from plants

  • Peas, beans, lentils, eggs, tofu, nuts and nut butter
  • Choose “low sodium” or “no salt added” canned beans and lentils
  • Choose unsalted and dry roasted or raw nuts

Healthy Oils and Fats

  • Fatty fish (salmon, anchovies, trout, sardines, char, herring)
  • Nuts and seeds (flaxseed, walnuts)
  • Vegetable oils (olive, canola, soybean, sesame)
  • Non-hydrogenated margarines
  • Avocado and olives

Less Healthy Oils and Fats

Oils and Fats high in saturated and/or trans fats:

  • Palm oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee and lard
  • Hard margarines and vegetable shortening
  • Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil

Foods high in saturated and/or trans fats:

  • Cream
  • Fatty meats (sausage, bologna, bacon)
  • Deep-fried foods
  • Bakery items (cookies, cakes, pies and pastries)

 

What about sugar?

Natural vs. Added Sugars

  • Natural sugars occur in products such as vegetables, fruit, milk and grains
  • Added sugars are sugars added in processing which provide extra calories

 

 

Food Claims and Messages

Health claims

  • Government approved
  • “a healthy diet low in saturated and trans fat may reduce the risk of heart disease”

Other messages

  • “healthy choice, all natural, heart healthy, GMO free”
  • Can be misleading
  • Use Nutrition Facts table to decide

 


Best Before Dates

– Quality

Expiry Date

– Safety


 

Choose Healthy Drinks

  • Water
  • Low fat milk (skim, 1% or 2%)
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Unsweetened fortified soy beverages

Avoid

  • Juice
  • Pop
  • Fruit drinks and punches
  • Sports drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Alcoholic drinks

Healthy Plates

 


Meal Examples


Tips to spend less

  • Price stable foods
  • Store brands
  • Bulk bins
  • Top and bottom of shelves
  • Quick sale
  • Coupons

Food Banks

  • Provides food to people who don’t have enough money
  • Food hampers are available 7 times a year
  • If you want to use the Food bank, they will need to ask you some questions before you receive food.

Health Link Dietitians 811

Can answer questions about:

  • Healthy Eating
  • Pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding or infant formula
  • Feeding your toddler or young child
  • Health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, kidney disease, celiac disease, irritable bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis, cancer, obesity, malnutrition, and long COVID
  • Eating after discharge from hospital
  • Eating after surgery
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Digestive symptoms such as heart burn, constipation, diarrhea, or vomiting
  • Nutrition supplements
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements
  • Food allergies
  • Other

Call 811, scan the QR code below or complete the online self-referral form.


Resources

Canada’s Food Guide

Healthy eating resources – Canada’ s Food Guide can be found on Government of Canada’s website.  It can also be downloaded in following languages:

Arabic, Dene, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut (Baffin), Inuktitut (Nunatsiatvut), Inuktitut (Nunavik), Italian, Korean, Michif, Ojibwe, Oji-Cree, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Traditional Chinese, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese.

Healthy Parents Healthy Children AHS online resources

For expecting parents and new parents.  Also have resources for feeding your baby, older babies and pregnancy iron and healthy eating resources and recommendations.

My Health Alberta

All up-to-date accurate health information you can find in Alberta.  You can search for nutrition topics for your needs.

AHS Nutrition Online Healthy Eating Resources

AHS nutrition website has many resources for healthy eating.

Alberta Healthy Living Program – Nutrition classes

AHS program for people with chronic condition.  They offer free workshops and classes that targets different health conditions and topics that can be helpful.  For all the virtual classes and schedules per zone, please refer to their website.

Calgary Food Bank – External

Call 403-253-2055 or visit their website.

Simplified version of this page can be downloaded as a handout. If you have any questions, please contact us.


Disclaimer: This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an “as is”, “where is” basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.  Last updated August 2023.