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How Many Servings are Right for You?

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How Many Servings are Right for You?

There’s truth to the saying that you are what you eat. With Canada’s Food Guide, you can be a healthier you – and get your daily recommended servings of all four food groups.

The goal of Canada’s Food Guide is to help Canadians choose healthy foods and reduce their risk of chronic diseases. The most recent version, published in 2007, reflects the latest scientific findings in nutrition and health.

The Guide also confirms once again the importance of milk products as part of a healthy diet. It offers specific recommendations on the number of servings of Milk and Alternatives that are necessary to allow Canadians to meet their nutritional needs, according to age. However, a national nutrition survey published recently by Statistics Canada revealed that milk products represent the most under consumed food group by teenagers and adults.1 In addition, the survey indicates that more than one third of children do not consume enough milk products.

Would you like to know the number of servings of Milk and Alternatives recommended per day by Canada’s Food Guide for your age group?

Age group Recommended number of servings per day
Children 2-8 years 2
Children 9-13 years 3-4
Teens 14-18 years 3-4
Adults 19-50 years 2
Adults 51 years and over 3

Infants 0-24 months

It is important to note that Canada’s Food Guide is designed for individuals two years of age and over. The Canadian Paediatric Society, Dietitians of Canada and Health Canada recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life, as breast milk is the best food for optimal growth. Breastfeeding may continue for up to two years and beyond. Cow’s milk can be introduced into the diet between 9 and 12 months of age if infants are already consuming a variety of food including an adequate source of iron and vitamin C. If cow’s milk is introduced before this age, infants may suffer from an iron deficiency since cow’s milk does not provide a sufficient amount of iron and infants absorb iron inadequately.


Consuming the recommended number of Canada’s Food Guide servings allows for healthy growth and development of children.


If your teenagers don’t consume enough milk products, encourage them to go for a glass of milk rather than juice or a soft drink. Offer them nutritious desserts such as a yogurt and fruits. And, what’s better than cheese and crackers for a snack?

Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consume two to three additional Food Guide servings every day, including foods from the Milk and Alternatives group. Have some fruit and yogurt for a snack, or eat an extra slice of toast for breakfast and drink an extra glass of milk with supper.


1. Canadian Community Health Survey - Nutrition, Statistics Canada, 2006

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