For years, Health Canada has promoted Canada’s Food Guide as a rainbow schematic telling Canadians about the major food groups, how much to eat, and generally how nutrition can improve our health. After a lengthy consultative process, the government finally updated it and released it in its new form in January of this year (2019).
Canada’s Food Guide is now depicted as a plate of food with clearly laid out pictures, guidelines and suggestions for food behaviour. Half of the plate is shown to have fruits and vegetables. And the other half is a combination of proteins and whole grain foods. It is very straightforward. So, what are some of the other new and improved healthy food ideas?
– More plant-based proteins are encouraged and by replacing more ‘traditional’ meat proteins with plant-based options, we will reduce our levels of saturated fats and increase our intake of healthier fats. It is time to dig out your recipes for beans, chickpeas, and tofu! And instead of planning our meals around the meat portion, plan your meals around the vegetables and make the meat more of a side-dish.
– Reduce your intake of processed food. By cooking more and using less packaged food (or ingredients in your meals), you will decrease your sodium intake, the chemicals in your food, and any added sugar in your diet. This suggestion includes choosing to eat out less frequently and making healthier decisions when you are at looking at menu options at a restaurant. And if you do choose packaged food, remember to pay attention to the labels.
– “Make water your drink of choice.” Less milk, less juice, less sugary pops, less coffee with sugar, less sports drinks, and less alcohol. Do not drink your calories. Hydration with water is the best and we need to get back to enjoying this plain beverage.
– Finally, pay attention to your eating habits, as the way we eat is as important as what we choose to eat. Take time to eat and enjoy meals, get organized and plan out your food, make meals social occasions, cook at home more often, and notice when you are hungry and when you are full.
This simplified food guide has made some positive changes. Michael Pollan said it best in his small, powerful book Food Rules, an Eater’s Manual … “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Words to live by. Nutrition, food, and eating should not be complicated and now is the time to get back to some basic ideas and choices.
If you’d like more information on Canada’s Food Guide, there is some great information and resources online (including some tips & recipes). Please go to the website: https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/
Of course, we love the new tagline of Canada’s Food Guide – “Eat well, Live well.” But we came up with the Active Health Solutions one first And if you’d like to book an appointment to speak to me about how to incorporate these ideas into your daily diet and routine, just give us a call at AHS. I love talking about all of this!