It’s finally here!! After years of waiting, Canada’s new Food Guide was revealed this morning in a live broadcast from Montreal’s Jean Talon Market (one of my favourite places!) The new Guide reflects a shift away from the old rainbow image with food groups and prescribed portions of foods. It includes a simple graphic and guidelines that emphasize variety and proportion, and an overall “real-world” approach to everyday eating. The reviews so far have been positive. Personally, I’m over the moon.
For starters, the new graphic clearly looks like a Rainbow Plate! The message is to load up your plate with colourful vegetables and fruit (sound familiar?!!) and to round it out with whole grains and “protein foods,” emphasizing plant based sources. Meat and dairy are still there (as they should be), but there are lots of other options which reflect the dietary reality of our culturally diverse population, as well as a sustainable and affordable way of eating. There will be much discussion and dissection of the fine details in the days and months ahead, but I think that what we’ve seen so far is simple, practical and easy to understand.
In other highlights, the Guide adds a big focus on the “how” of eating along with the description of “what” to eat. I love that there is a clear mention of food as more than just a source of nutrients, and how “healthy eating is more than the foods you eat.” In her introductory remarks, Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor quoted the late Anthony Bourdain, saying “… food is everything we are.” She shared some personal examples of how food is about culture, family, and sensory memories. Amen to that.
Some of the key points in the “how to eat” content of the guide include:
Being mindful of your eating habits: taking the time to eat, noticing if you are hungry or full
Cooking more often: plan what you’re going to eat, involving others in planning and preparing meals
Enjoying your food! recognize that culture and tradition can and should be a part of healthy eating
Eating with others
All of these guidelines reflect factors that are just as important as nutrients when it comes to cultivating lifelong habits that promote health and a positive relationship with food. I’m thrilled to see them articulated so clearly.
I’m a realist and know that most Canadians don’t keep a copy of the guide taped inside their kitchen cupboards for reference before each meal (sorry, Minister Petitpas!) However, this document will drive strategy, policy and publicly funded food education activities for years to come. I think it’s certainly a step in the right direction. Rainbow Plate’s food education programs and resources have always been based on this approach and we have the evidence to show that it makes healthy eating simple, practical and enjoyable for people of all ages. It’s also easy to adapt to keep it accessible and relevant to anyone within our culturally diverse nation. It's so exciting to see that this is finally being officially promoted across our great country!
To see the full content of the new Canada Food Guide click the link and check it out.
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
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