Resources for health professionals and policy makers

Applying Canada's Dietary Guidelines

Advice on nutrition for different life stages

Canada’s Dietary Guidelines recommend regular intake of the nutritious foods that are commonly found in patterns of eating linked with beneficial effects on health. 

Consuming a variety of nutritious foods every day is important to help meet the many nutrient needs of people 2 years of age and older.

Among these nutritious foods, certain types are particularly important to include regularly to help meet the need for specific nutrients. One way of helping to meet nutrient needs across different life stages is to encourage the consumption of:

  • dark green vegetables every day
  • orange vegetables a few times a week
    • encourage adult males and individuals who are breastfeeding to consume them most days of the week
  • a variety of whole grains, whole grain foods and whole wheat foods every day
  • a variety of protein foods including
    • legumes or tofu every day
    • nuts or seeds every day
  • foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat every day
    • encourage these foods throughout the day for young children
  • food sources of calcium every day
    • encourage children, adolescents, adult females and older adults to choose a variety of food sources of calcium, including those that have a high calcium content
  • a daily dietary source of vitamin D
    • encourage people between 2 and 50 years of age to incorporate foods that contain vitamin D into their daily diet or to take a daily supplement containing vitamin D
    • advise adults 51 years of age and older to take a daily supplement containing 400 IU (10 mcg) of vitamin D

All adults and adolescents who could become pregnant and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding should be advised to take a daily multivitamin with folic acid. During pregnancy, ensure that the multivitamin also contains iron. Multivitamins may also contain vitamin D and thus provide a daily dietary source of vitamin D.

Nutritious food choices can be customized to help meet the circumstances of different individuals or populations. For example, the type of foods selected and how they are prepared can vary to consider:

  • food availability
  • different budgets
  • personal preferences, cultures and food traditions

To help reduce excess intakes of nutrients of concern, it is important to encourage the selection and preparation of foods with little to no added sodium and saturated fat, and little to no free sugars.

Promote the use of food labels to help people living in Canada make informed foods choices.

Resources to use with consumers

Further Reading