Canada's New and Improved Food Guide
The “Canada’s Food Guide” has been the talk of the country since Health Canada revealed the 2019 revision this morning. From 2007 (when the food guide was last revised) up until now, a lot of nutrition research has been done, and the changes made to it 12 years later certainly show for it. You’d also be pleased to know that Registered Dietitians were actively involved in the revision!
In comparison, the emphasis on including a variety of foods in your meals and snacks from day to day to capture all the nutrients your body needs has stayed the same. Only now, we’re looking at a plate full of colourful, fresh, (and real instead of cartoon) food. The new food guide ditches the old food group terminology and serving sizes which have often been overwhelming and confusing for people to follow. A plate that you can imagine at your own dinner table appears much more digestible! The new guide gives us short and easy-to-remember advice such as:
Have plenty of fruit and vegetables
Eat protein foods
Choose whole grain foods
Make water your choice of beverage
Limit foods high in sodium, sugars, or saturated fat
Use food labels
Cook more often
But it goes beyond just showing Canadians what we should eat. The 2019 Canada Food Guide also shows us the importance of how we eat, because “healthy eating is about more than just the foods you eat. It is being mindful of your eating habits, taking time to eat, and noticing when you are hungry and when you are full.”
The new food guide reminds Canadians to listen to their bodies, and by doing so, can reduce the likelihood of overeating. Additionally, it recognizes that our relationship with food is more than what we put in our mouth. Our food choices and habits are influenced by traditions, culture, environmental sustainability, our social situations, and our own thoughts and feelings. That is why healthy eating is more than just filling half of our plate with vegetables.
The recommendations extend to include:
Enjoy your food
Be mindful of your eating habits
Eat meals with other people
Be aware of marketing
Curious to know more about any of Health Canada’s recommendations? Each recommendation (as well as every spot on the plate) links to related nutrition facts and practical suggestions to make it easier for Canadians to make healthier choices.
At the end of the day, a guide is just a guide--it’s not a rulebook we must force ourselves to model to perfection. Instead, we ought to remember that healthy eating is flexible, fun, and intuitive.