01/03/2012 01:27 EST | Updated 03/04/2012 05:12 EST

Food guide a good start for New Year's resolutions

Canadians making New Year's resolutions are being reminded to consult Canada's Food Guide for healthy dietary choices.

The guide lists the types of food you should consume each day and how to keep portion sizes in check.

Health Canada recommends eating from the four food groups: vegetables and fruit; grains; milk and alternatives; and meat and alternatives:

- Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day. Suggestions include carrots, sweet potatoes and squash, as well as broccoli, romaine lettuce or spinach. Choose steamed, baked and stir-fried over deep fried.

- Make sure at least half of your daily grain intake is whole grain. Whole grains include barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa and wild rice. Whole grain bread and oatmeal are good choices, as are those low in fat, sugar and salt.

- Drink two cups of skim, one per cent or two per cent milk. Soy drinks are another good option, as are low-fat yogurts or cheeses.

- Eat meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu frequently. Consume at least two servings of fish a week — selecting salmon, mackerel, sardines, trout, char and herring. Choose lean meats, and roast, bake or poach them versus frying.

Health Canada stresses that Canadians should opt for a diet low in saturated fat and trans fat, while including small quantities of unsaturated fats each day, such as canola, olive or soya oils, margarine or mayonnaise.

Water should be the beverage of choice, as it cuts calories.

The health agency also wants people to be more active in the new year, including more exercise in their daily lives.