What You Should Know About The New Canadian Food Guide: For Kids

You may have heard that Canada’s Food Guide received an update a few days ago. Canada’s Food Guide is produced by the government, and it is a guide to nutrition and health. Many families food choices are affected by the food guide.

The last time the guide was updated was in 2007, back when iPhones, iPods, and Apple Watches didn’t exist.

The new food guide is very different, and to find out more about the subject we talked to Dr. Sue Pedersen, a doctor in Calgary who specializes in helping people with diabetes and helps regulate hormones in people’s bodies. Sue is also an accomplished blogger, who writes about nutrition, health, and food choice.  (Here is a link to Sue’s blog:  Click here.)

Here is our interview with Sue

KIDMAG: Do you support the decision to stop drinking milk and juice?

Sue: The food guide recommends that we avoid juice, and yes, I support that. It is healthier to eat the fruit than drink the juice.

The food guide actually does not say that we should not drink milk – it just puts less emphasis on milk.  Milk is still included in the protein section, and it is a good source of calcium in our diet.

KIDMAG: How is this food guide different from the last one?

Sue: The old food guide used to say that we should have a certain number of servings of four food groups depending on our age and whether we are male or female.  The new food guide doesn’t say how much we should eat – the focus is more on making healthy food choices, and having healthy eating habits (such as eating together with other people and cooking at home).

KIDMAG: Why did juice get taken off the food guide?

Sue: Juice has a lot of sugar in it – natural sugar, yes, but still sugar. It is healthier to eat the fruit than drink the juice because the fruit has fibre in it.  So yes, rather than having an apple juice box in your lunch, it is healthier to have an apple and a bottle of water.

KIDMAG: How do you think Canadian dairy farmers will react?

Sue: I think dairy farmers are upset by the new food guide because there is less emphasis on dairy products.  However, the media are saying that we shouldn’t drink milk and that is not true. So I think it is important that all of us understand that we are not supposed to stop eating or drinking dairy – but just tone it down and choose more plant-based proteins instead.

KIDMAG: How does it benefit us to be mindful about our eating?

Sue: Mindful eating is important because it helps us to make healthier food choices and eat in a healthier way. If we are not thinking about what we are eating, we might make unhealthy choices (eg grab a chocolate bar), but if we stop and think about what would be the best fuel for our bodies, we will probably pick something healthier. It also helps us to enjoy our food more!

Thanks for your information, Sue!


For a kid, this new information might be surprising. Being told to drink less milk and juice is disappointing, especially if you eat these products every day. But, as Sue mentioned, the food guide is only saying to limit the amount of it that you eat. So stop saying that you will never be able to drink juice or milk, because you will, just not as often.

However, if your parents tell you that your family is limiting dairy, try some of these delicious, non-dairy substitutes!

Instead of regular yogurt, buy non-dairy yogurt. Non-dairy yogurt tastes almost the same except that its made from other products like coconut milk.

For milk, buy almond milk, soy milk, cashew milk, or coconut milk. Many of these kinds of milk are very popular, and some even come in chocolate or vanilla flavor.

Buy dairy-free cream cheese. This might be harder to find, but a brand called Daiya sells a great one that is strawberry flavored.

We hope you enjoyed our article! Also, make sure to tell us the most surprising thing you learned from our interview with Sue!

For the link to the new Canadian Food Guide, Click here!