Written by: Andrea Miller MHSc, RD
The newest installment of Canada’s Food Guide was launched in Montreal, on Tuesday January 22, 2019 by Federal Health Minister, Ginette Peptitapas Taylor.
This food guide takes a modern approach to communicating nutrition information to consumers, health professionals and policy makers. On the brand new Health Canada website there is a suite of resources that includes information related to healthy food choices, eating habits, recipes, tips for meal planning, and nutrition information for individuals of all ages and stages of life.
The new web application will allow Canadians to access the Food Guide from their tablets, smartphones, or computers to get the right information in the right format wherever they are. The new Food Guide includes videos, and actionable advice that will help Canadians apply dietary guidance in their daily lives.
Check out this video about family meals
In a nutshell, here is what I love about the new Food Guide:
This Food Guide focuses not only on what to eat, but there is a new and significant emphasis on how we eat. This food guide encourages us to cook at home more often, to enjoy meals with friends and families and to eat mindfully. The food guide encourages us to limit foods that are highly processed, high in sodium, added sugar and saturated fat. We are also encouraged to use food labels to help us make healthy food choices and to be aware of the influence that food marketing has on our decisions about food and eating.
For the first time we see food groupings, instead of food groups and the focus is on proportions of food rather than specific portions. There are no recommended serving sizes, in the new guide. A healthy meal is comprised of a variety of foods from three key food groupings: vegetables and fruit; whole grains and protein foods. A plate snapshot of the Food Guide provides at-a-glance information on what and how to eat. Aim to fill ½ your plate with fruit and vegetables, ¼ of your plate with whole grains and ¼ of your plate with protein-rich foods, including dried beans, legumes, meat, fish, poultry, milk, cheese, eggs and yogurt. The new Food Guide encourages us to consume plant-based proteins, more often.
I love that the prescriptive serving sizes are gone! We need to move away from a culture of weighing, measuring and counting, what we eat, and focus our attention on the overall quality of our diet and the enjoyment of eating.
Water is encouraged as the beverage of choice, for all of us. We are encouraged to decrease our intake of all sugar-sweetened beverages and to be mindful of our use of alcohol.
The overall focus is on a healthy pattern of eating, not just individual nutrients, or specific servings of foods. This food guide is much more in-line with how we actually eat. I encourage everyone to explore the New Food Guide website, try some of the dietitian approved recipes, and check out the huge array of free healthy eating resources.
Later in 2019, Health Canada will be releasing Canada’s Healthy Eating Pattern for health professionals and policy makers.