print header

Now healthy menu choices are easier


Quick: which is healthier?

Starting January 1, 2017, you’ll be seeing calories listed beside standard menu items in some restaurants.

The Healthy Menu Choices Act, which brought this rule into place, aims to provide you with calorie information, which can help you make food and drink choices while dining out. Calories must appear in any place with 20 or more locations in Ontario.  Menu labelling will also be appearing where food is served in movie theatres, convenience stores and grocery stores.

Wondering what this means for you and your family?

Now you will have calorie information to help you make menu choices for you and your family. You can compare different menu items based on their calorie counts.  As well, you can compare the calorie count for menu items to a statement that will also be posted about how many calories on average a person needs daily.

Here are some tips on healthy eating for you and your family when dining out.

Want more information about what you are eating?

Ask for it!

Most large restaurant chains have complete nutrition information either in the store or on their website.

Want to know more?

What is menu labelling?
Food service premises provide details about the calories in food and drink items that are listed on the menu or menu board.
Why have calories been added to menus?

Dining out can be a special treat, but if it is a regular part of your day — and many families are constantly on the run these days — then it’s a good idea to know how many calories you are eating. Providing calories on menus helps customers make decisions right at the time of purchase. Using calorie information can help you to make choices that suit you and help you to meet your health goals.

How do I make sense of calories?
Calorie needs are different for each person. It depends on your age, gender, your activity level and other health issues. This chart can be used as a general guideline when making menu choices. Talk to your healthcare provider to discuss individual calorie needs for you and your family. 
What about alcoholic beverages?

Many people don’t realize how many calories are in alcoholic beverages. There are calories from the alcohol itself, and for mixed drinks, there are calories from the mixes that may be added to the beverage. The calories in alcohol vary as there are many different serving sizes and different types of alcohol. One standard drink (one bottle of 5% beer, or one  5 oz. glass of 12% wine or 1 1/2 oz. of hard liquor) equals about 100 calories. Drinking alcohol can also lead to other health risks like heart disease and cancer. Follow Canada’s low risk drinking guidelines to help reduce your risk.

What about other nutrition information?

A statement that helps customers figure out how many calories they should have per day will be posted on every menu or sign that is visible when customers order. Additional nutrient information such as fat, sodium, total carbohydrates, fibre, sugars, and protein will not be posted on the menu. Most foodservice premises have more detailed nutrition information online. Be sure to ask for it!

What are some of the 'healthier' chain restaurants for my family to choose?

Most restaurants have healthier options available. Use these tips to help you choose healthy choices on any menu. Here are some things you can ask for.

Did you find what you were looking for?
What did you like about this page?
How can we improve this page?

If you have any questions or concerns that require a response, please contact Health Connection directly.

Thanks for your feedback.
Failed to submit comment. Please try submitting again or contact us at the Health Unit.
Comment already submitted ...