Canada Food Guide Over Time

nutrition guide

In 2019, the Canadian Government came up with an updated nutrition guide which I was particularly excited about. They did a big move and completely dropped the dairy from the recommended daily food! It is so interesting to look at the history and evolution of the canada food guide and others over the years. Let’s dig into it.

2019: The Newest Guide

nutrition guide

The new Canadian nutrition guide does not necessarily tell people to go vegan, but it highly promotes vegetables and fruits as part of a healthy diet. ‘Eating a variety of vegetables and fruits may lower your risk of heart disease.’ – Government of Canada. The guide proposes that a meal be constituted of half vegetables and fruits. The protein section includes a variety of protein foods such as tofu, nuts and beans. I also appreciate that the guide suggests water as a drink of choice.


2007: Eat Well Canada Food Guide

canada food guide

The guide hasn’t changed much from 2007 to 2019. Visually, the illustrations of the food were way less appealing than the new photography direction. What better way to showcase food than actual colorful photos? The vegetable section was still the most prominent. It’s fun to see that even then, beans and legumes were at the front row of the protein section. The major difference with the new 2019 canada food guide is the dairy section. Milk, yogourt and cheese are no longer of importance compared to being ranked 3rd most important in 2007.


1967: Book La cuisine raisonnée C.D.N Fides of Montreal

canada food guide
Photo Credits: Nicole Paradis

This one is not from the government of Canada, but from an important organization at the time (1967). This guide came with a recipe book and was provided by the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal. They were/are a religious organization, which had a lot of impact on women’s life choices. Notice that fat (butter) and what looks like refined sugar had their place on this guide. Moreover, animal products such as meat, eggs and milk have a prominent place at the top of the guide.


1950: Canada’s Official Food Rules

nutrition guide

Similarly, there’s not much difference from this canada food guide from the 1950s. This guide does mention Vitamin D, which might have to do with the fact that Canadians historically tend to lack vitamin D. The major differences from this guide and its successor include the title and commands. The title evokes that this document present rules rather than guidance. Likewise, the script includes commands over suggestions. For instance, it commands ‘At least 4 slices of bread, with butter’.


1942: Canada’s Official Food Rules

Lastly, this is the first Canada food guide. It was introduced in 1942. To understand the context for this guide, it is good to note that this was post-war time in Canada. Some populations were presenting malnutrition and access to food was nothing like it is now.

You can find more information about the evolution and the context for the nutrition guide of Canada over time here.


Interested in a plant-based lifestyle? Visit our resources section to get you started.