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Food and Nutrition

What Type and Amount of Fat Do I Need?

Canada's
Food
Guide

Include a small amount - 30 to 45 mL (2 to 3 Tbsp) - of unsaturated fat each day to get the fat you need. This amount includes oil used for cooking, salad dressings, margarine and mayonnaise.

Unsaturated vegetable oils include:

  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Flaxseed
  • Olive
  • Peanut
  • Soybean
  • Sunflower

Limit butter, hard margarine, lard and shortening.

Here's what 30 mL (2 Tbsp) of unsaturated fat looks like in a sample day of eating:

Breakfast

  • 5 mL (1 tsp) of soft non-hydrogenated margarine on your toast or bread
  • 5 mL (1 tsp) of canola oil in your pan to make scrambled eggs

Lunch

  • 15 mL (1 Tbsp) of vinegar and oil type salad dressing (e.g. Balsamic, Italian, raspberry vinaigrette) on your salad.

Dinner

  • 5 mL (1 tsp) of canola or olive oil used to cook your stir-fry.

Read Food Labels

Choose soft margarines that are low in saturated and trans fats.

When buying margarine, use the Nutrition Facts table to compare how much saturated and trans fats it contains. Choose a non-hydrogenated margarine with two grams or less of saturated and trans fat combined, for the amount of margarine listed in the Nutrition Facts table.

Non-hydrogenated margarine

Nutrition Facts
Per 2 tsp (10 g)
Amount Daily Value
Calories 70
Fat 8 g 12 %
Saturated 1 g
+ Trans 0 g
5 %
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 65 mg 3 %
Carbohydrate 0 g 0 %
Fibre 0 g 0 %
Sugars 0 g
Protein 0 g
Vitamin A 10 %   Vitamin C 0 %
Calcium 0 %   Iron 0 %

Prepare foods with small amounts of unsaturated fats and use less fat when cooking

  • Use small amounts of vegetable oils for stir-frying or sautÚing - a teaspoon is usually enough.
  • Heat oil before frying to prevent the food from soaking up the oil.
  • Fill a spray bottle with vegetable oil to spray your pans instead of greasing.
  • Substitute soft margarine for hard margarine, butter or lard in baking.
  • Make your own salad dressing with canola or olive oil. Add balsamic, rice wine or other vinegars. Flavour with lemon juice, dry or Dijon mustard, garlic and herbs.
  • Keep oils in a cool dark cupboard or in the refrigerator to prevent them from going rancid.

Additional Resources: