Nutrient Criteria

The Health Check Program is based on Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating. Different food categories have different nutrient criteria.  The criteria are defined using Health Canada’s Nutrient Content Claims.  Definitions of the claims are included in a separate document called “Nutrient Claims“.* Sodium Values are evaluated for all categories.  The criteria used for evaluation is based on the values from the Heart Health Claim (480 mg for single foods and 960 mg for entrees).  Low Fat claims are evaluated on 50g for any serving that has a reference amount of 30g or less. 
Grain ProductsFood CategoryServing SizeEntry-Level Nutrient Criteria*Bread50 g- Low fat AND
– source of fibreBread Products
(e.g. bagels, pitas, english muffins55 g- Low fat AND
– source of fibreBreakfast Cereals30 g
(ready to eat)
40 g
(hot cereals, dry)- Low fat AND/OR no added fat AND
– source of fibreFlour30 g- Source of FibreRusks30 g- Low saturated fatCrackers20 g- Low saturated fatRice Cakes
15 g- Low fatWaffles / Pancakes75 g prepared- Low fatGrain – based Bars30 g
or 40 g
(if filled or coated)- Low fat AND
– Starch value is evaluated
– OR Low saturated fat AND
– Source of fibreMuffins / Snack Breads55 g- Low fat
– starch value is evaluated
OR
– Low saturated fat
– Source of fibreRice (except Instant Rice) /
Grains (plain)45 g- All fitInstant Rice (plain)45 g- EnrichedPasta85 g- Enriched OR High source of fibreSide Dishes – Rice, grains or potatoes
(seasoned, sauced)125 g (prepared)- Low fatSide Dishes – Pasta or noodles
(seasoned, sauced)125 g (prepared)- Low fat
– Enriched* General Definitions of nutrient criteria
Low Fat – 3 g or less
Low Saturated Fat – 2 g or less saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids combined and 15% or less energy from saturated fatty acids plus trans fatty acids
Source of Fibre – 2g or more
High Source of Fibre – 4g or more
Very High Source of Fibre – 6g or more
Source of complex carbohydrate – 10g or more starchtop of page
Vegetables & FruitFood CategoryServing SizeEntry-Level Nutrient Criteria*Fruit Juices250 ml- All REAL juices fitFresh Fruit140 g- All fitFrozen Fruit140 g- 100% fruitCanned Fruit140 g- In light syrup or fruit juiceApple and other fruit sauces140 g- 100% fruitDried Fruit and
Dried Fruit Snacks40 g- Fruit as first ingredient
– fat freeFresh and Frozen Vegetables (plain)100 g
(65 g – lettuces)- All fitCanned Vegetables (plain)100 g- Sodium value is evaluatedFrozen and Canned Vegetables
(seasoned, sauced, fried)100 g- Low fatTomato and Vegetables Juices and Blends250 ml- Good source of vitamin A AND/OR Good source of folacin
– Sodium value is evaluated* General Definitions of nutrient criteria
Low Fat – 3g or less fat Fat-Free-less than 0.5g fat
Good Source of Vitamin A – 15% or more of the daily value (150 RE or more)
Good Source of Folacin – 15% or more of the daily value (33 mcg or more)
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Milk ProductsFood CategoryServing SizeEntry-Level Nutrient Criteria*Milk/Milk Based Drinks250 ml- Lower fat (2% M.F. or less) AND
– Excellent source of calciumYogurts175 g- Lower fat (2% M.F. or less) AND
– Good source of calciumYogurt Based Drinks250 ml- Lower fat (2% M.F. or less) AND
– Good source of calciumFlavoured Fresh Cheese100 ml- Lower fat (2% M.F. or less) AND
– Good source of calciumPuddings / Flans / Frozen Dairy Deserts125 ml- Low fat AND
– Source of calciumCheese30 g- Lower fat (20% M.F. or less) AND
– Good source of calciumFresh Cheese (plain)
– ricotta
– quark
– cottage
55 g
100 g
125 g- Low fat OR
– Reduced fat AND
– Good source of calciumPlant-based Beverages
(e.g. soy beverages)250 g- Fortified / Enriched AND
– Low fat OR Low saturated fats* General Definitions of nutrient criteria
Lower or Reduced Fat – at least 25% less fat than the food to which it is compared
Low Fat – 3g or less fat
Low Saturated Fat – 2 g or less saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids combined and 15% or less energy from saturated fatty acids plus trans fatty acids
Excellent Source of Calcium – 25% or more of the daily value (275 mg or more of calcium)
Good Source of Calcium – 15% or more of the daily value (165 mg or more of calcium)
Source of Calcium – 5% or more of the daily value (55 mg or more of calcium)top of page
Meat & AlternativesFood CategoryServing SizeEntry-Level Nutrient Criteria*Meats / Poultry
(plain, seasoned, coated)125 g (raw)
100 g (cooked)- Lean
(10% or less fat)Meats / Poultry
(with sauce)140 g- Lean
(10% or less fat)Ground Meats100 g (raw)- Lean
(17% or less fat)Burgers and Meatballs100 g (raw) or
60 g (cooked)- Lean
(17% or less fat)Sausages75 g- Lean
(10% or less fat)Deli Meats / Ham55 g- Lean
(10% or less fat) AND
Reduced SodiumFish and Seafood (plain)125 g (raw)
100 g (cooked)- Sodium value is evaluatedFish and Seafood
(seasoned, coated, sauced)125 g (raw)
100 g (cooked)- Extra lean (7.5 % or less fat)Canned Fish and Seafood
(packed in broth or water)55 g- Sodium value is evaluatedCanned Fish and Seafood
(seasoned, sauced)55 g- Lean (10% or less fat)
OR
– No added fatProcessed Fish
(e.g. crab imitation)55 g- Low fatDried Legumes100 g- All fitFrozen and Canned Legumes200 g- Sodium value is evaluatedCanned Legumes (prepared)125 g- Low fatTofu85 g- Low saturated fatVegetarian Burgers
and Meatballs60 g- Lean (10% or less fat)
– protein value is evaluatedVegetarian Meat Alternatives (seitan, Veggie Ground Meat, So soya, simulated cutlet, simulated meat strips, etc.)100 g- Lean (10% or less fat)
– protein value is evaluatedEggs1 egg- All fitEgg Substitute50 g- Low fatNuts, Seeds or Ready to Eat Dried Legumes(e.g. soybeans)
*plain, uncoated / /coconut not eligible50 g- No added saltNuts and Seeds Butters15 ml
(peanut butter)
30 mL
(others)- Nuts or seeds as the 1st ingredient- Sodium value is evaluated* General Definitions of nutrient criteria
Lean – 10% or less fat (ground meat : 17% or less fat)
Extra Lean – 7.5% or less fat (ground meat :10% or less fat)
Low Fat – 3g or less
No Added Fat – no fat added during processing
Low Saturated Fat – 2 g or less saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids combined and 15% or less energy from saturated fatty acids plus trans fatty acids
No Added Salt – no salt or other sodium salts added during processingtop of page
Other FoodsFood CategoryServing SizeEntry-Level Nutrient Criteria*Cookies30 g- Low fat AND
– Starch value is evaluatedSnack Foods
(e.g. popcorn, pretzels, chips)30 g- Low fatSherberts125 g- Low fat AND
– Source of vitamin C AND/OR
– Source of vitamin A AND/OR
– Source of folacin
– Source of fibre
Oils10 ml- Low saturated fatMargarines10 g- Non hydrogenatedLight Margarines10 g- Reduced fat (50% less fat than regular margarine)Dips, Spreads & Salad Dressings15 mL (mayonnaise)
55 g (spreads)
60 mL (pesto)
30 mL (others)- Low saturated fatOlives15 g- Low saturated fat* General Definitions of nutrient criteria
Low Fat – 3g or less
Low Saturated Fat – 2 g or less saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids combined and 15% or less energy from saturated fatty acids plus trans fatty acids
Source of Complex Carbohydrate – 10g or more starch
Source of Fibre – 2 g or more
Source of Vitamin A – 5% or more of the daily value (50 RE or more)
Source of Vitamin C – 5% or more of the daily value (3 mg or more)
Source of Folacin – 5% or more of the daily value (11mcg or more)top of page
Combination FoodsFood CategoryServing SizeEntry-Level Nutrient Criteria*Soups250 ml- Low fat AND
– Reduced Sodium AND
– Source of vitamin A or C or iron or calciium or fibreDinners & Entrees / Mixed Dishes250 g- Protein, fat and sodium values are reviewed
– Enriched (if applicable)Pasta Sauce (with or without meat)*125 ml- Lower fat OR
– Low saturated fat (depending on the case)Potato and Pasta Salads140 g- Low saturated fatOther Salads100 g- Low saturated fatDried Fruit and Nut Mixture50 g- No added saltNut and/or Seed Bars
(with or without dried fruit)35 g- No added salt* General Definitions of nutrient criteria
Low Fat – 3g or less
Low Saturated Fat – 2 g or less saturated fatty acids and trans fatty acids combined and 15% or less energy from saturated fatty acids plus trans fatty acids
Source of Fibre – 2g or more
No Added Salt – no salt or other sodium salts added during processing
Reduced sodium: at least 25% less sodium than the food to which it is compared
Source of Vitamin A – 5% or more of the daily value (50 RE or more)
Source of Vitamin C – 5% or more of the daily value (3 mg or more)
Source of Iron – 5% or more of the daily value (7mg or more)
Source of Calcium – 5% or more of the daily value (55 mg or more)top of page
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