Canada’s Food Guide has finally received some long overdue changes!
The guide focuses on balancing healthy eating behaviours with good nutrition to promote a healthy lifestyle. The goal is to make eating healthy simple and enjoyable!
This revision is the first food guide update since 2007. The recommendations and modifications underwent extensive consultation and review to ensure the guide is based on up-to-date reliable research.
So, what has really changed?
Here is a deeper look inside the New Canada’s Food Guide!
- Say goodbye to the 4 familiar food groups.
Since 1977, Canada’s Food Guide has featured 4 main food groups - vegetables and fruits, grain products, milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives. The 2019 version condenses these groups to 3 – Fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins. The updated protein category deemphasizes meat and encourages a variety of protein options including fish and eggs, along with plant-based proteins like lentils, beans, nuts and seeds. The change in food groups promotes a clear message - eat more plants.
- No more fretting over serving sizes.
The updated Food Guide, which is reflected in the image of a plate, provides a simple visual snapshot of what a healthy meal should look like. Gone are the specific recommendations and number of serving sizes. The updated guide focuses more on proportions than portions and reinforces the message to eat more vegetables. The plate model is an easy to follow approach that doesn’t require measuring or weighing food. Instead, the goal is to eat a diet made up of half fruits and vegetables.
- Water, water, water
Encouraging Canadians to make water their beverage of choice serves two key purposes: to promote hydration and to limit the consumption of milk, sugary sodas and alcoholic beverages. Despite significant push back from the beverage industry, 100% fruit juice is no longer considered a healthy option due to its association with tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes. The updated guide also highlights the large number of empty calories found in alcohol.
- New emphasis on what not to eat.
We all love convenience foods, understandably so, because of their convenience. The trouble with these types of foods is they are overly processed and tend to be high in sodium, sugar and saturated fats. As a result, they have been linked to obesity, cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. The updated guide encourages Canadians to limit their consumption of processed foods and to choose healthier menu items when eating out.
- More than just food.
The new Food Guide goes beyond what we should eat to also include how we should eat. It recognizes the important role eating habits play in living a healthy lifestyle. The new Food Guide encourages Canadians to - be mindful of their eating habits, cook more at home, eat meals with others and take the time to enjoy food. The guide also promotes healthy behaviours like reading food labels and being aware of food marketing.
Bottom Line – Eat a variety of healthy foods each day and enjoy them!