What’s new with Canada’s Food Guide?

Canada’s Food Guide recently underwent a huge overhaul! This was the first update it has underwent since 2007. So why did it change? Canada’s Food Guide was updated to keep up with the latest evidence in nutrition. The new food guide goes beyond making recommendations for what we should be eating and makes recommendations for healthy habits. Let’s explore the changes together!

Why is it Important?

Canada’s Food Guide was created to provide evidence-based information to help Canadians make informed decisions about healthy eating. In Canada, food choices is one of the three leading risk factors for chronic disease. Chronic diseases include heart disease, strokes, diabetes and cancer. By following Canada’s Food Guide, we can reduce our risk by becoming healthier!

The Plate Model

“Canada’s Food Guide”
Health Canada, 2019

Goodbye food groups! Canada’s Food Guide has shifted focus from portions to proportions. The plate model suggests that you make ½ your plate vegetables and fruit at each meal! Why is this important? Vegetables and fruit provide important nutrients such as fiber, vitamins and minerals that our body needs. Try choosing a variety of colours each day! The remainder of the meal should be split into protein and whole grains. The protein portion can be from lean meats, dairy products or eggs; however Canada’s Food Guide encourages choosing plant-based proteins more often. These include things like beans, peas, lentils and tofu. Plant-based proteins are lower in saturated fat making them heart healthy protein choices! The food guide is putting an emphasis on carbohydrate quality by suggesting that we choose whole grains. This is due to the higher fiber content of these choices. Health Canada recommends making water your drink of choice. Water doesn’t contain the added sugar that is found in sugar and soft drinks, that contributes to negative health outcomes.

The remainder of the meal should be split into protein and whole grains. The protein portion can be from lean meats, dairy products or eggs; however Canada’s Food Guide encourages choosing plant-based proteins more often. These include things like beans, peas, lentils and tofu. Plant-based proteins are lower in saturated fat making them heart healthy protein choices! The food guide is putting an emphasis on carbohydrate quality by suggesting that we choose whole grains. This is due to the higher fiber content of these choices. Health Canada recommends making water your drink of choice. Water doesn’t contain the added sugar that is found in sugar and soft drinks, that contributes to negative health outcomes.

Other Components

Canada’s Food Guide has gone beyond just making recommendations to Canadian’s on what to eat and has also made recommendations to influence eating habits. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Mindful Eating

Canada’s Food Guide recommends we practice mindful eating, but what exactly does that mean? about the reason that you’re eating. Are you hungry or bored? Are you finishing your plate because you’re hungry or you were taught you had to? Pay attention to what you’re eating, why you’re eating and how much you’re eating. Think

Cooking

There is a number of benefits to cooking. Unfortunately, most of us find that we don’t have the time to cook. If this is the case for you, try preparing and freezing meals, so they are quick and easy on those busy nights.

Eating Together

Food has a strong social component. Take the time to sit and enjoy meals with family and friends. It can make healthy eating fun and reinforce positive eating habits.

Overall

The new food guide provides many good recommendations for healthy eating. It is important to realize that everyone is different, so what works for you may not work for someone else. Canada’s Food Guide provides a good starting point for healthy eating. I recommend choosing it as a starting point to determine what works best for you!

For more information, check out: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/

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