Food Guidelines That Can Finally Make us Healthier!
Although it took them twelve years to finally release a new food guide, Canada has launched a package we should be proud of! The guide’s refreshed format and look make it easy to navigate.
What’s New in Canada’s Food Guide?
The guide is focused on 3 food groups:
- Vegetables and fruits. I love that there’s a huge emphasis to fill half your plate with these important, nutrient-dense foods. Finally, veggies and fruits are getting the focus they deserve!
- Proteins. Animal meats, plant-based proteins (including beans, nuts and seeds) and dairy are all lumped together in this one cluster now. Dairy is no longer considered to be important enough to warrant being in its own food group. This is quite a shift, but not surprising when you consider all of the research showing how dairy isn’t beneficial for everyone.
- Whole grains. When it comes to starchy carbohydrates, whole grains like quinoa and whole oats, are emphasized, which is great! Five years ago, most people didn’t even know what quinoa was. I love how the guide discusses the importance of consuming fibre through whole grain products.
There are few other tips Canada’s Food Guide includes:
- Drink enough water. Water is finally described as the healthiest beverage we can consume! Since our bodies are made up of over 50% water, its critical nature should be clear. It’s important to remember to drink water continuously throughout the day, even while at work.
- Limit processed foods. Benefits that result from following this tip, along with strategies as to how you can do it, are communicated. Healthier snacking ideas are shared throughout the guide, which I think is helpful to many people.
- Eat mindfully & slowly. It’s great to see the government is trying to help us not only watch what we eat, but also how we eat. Eating without distractions and really paying attention to how you’re feeling throughout the whole eating process is emphasized.
I agree with, and continuously work to develop these habits with my clients and loved ones.
Potential Issues With the Guide
Even critics don’t have many negative points to bring up surrounding the new food guide. Only two real weaknesses have been called out over Canada’s new eating guidelines.
- Focus on fat is limited.
Other than a few nuts and seeds, fats aren’t even visually represented on the main food plate, and the new guide still seems to promote fear over saturated fats. I teach my clients the importance of consuming a balance across all three types of fats. In fact, coconut oil is a saturated fat with a lot of positive press. It has anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-viral properties, which all help strengthen our immune systems.
- Portion sizes aren’t clarified.
The guide doesn’t share much about what a portion size should be. There is concern that people may just add more fruits and vegetables to their plate, without reducing the protein and grain servings, thereby making their meals much larger in size. Given the fact that our plate sizes continue to increase, I believe this is a valid concern. I teach my clients to use their hand for portion control. For example, one of your palms is the amount of portion a female should be consuming in each meal, and a male should be consuming two palms of protein.
I do however, love all of the recipes shared throughout the guide. And the recipes do contain portion sizes.
To Sum it up…
Our new Canadian Food Guide is one we should be proud of! The emphasis on consuming a ton of vegetables, plant-based proteins and water excite me the most because I’ve seen these are the best ways to get, and stay healthy! If you haven’t scanned it yet, have a look at Canada’s 2019 Food Guide. You may even find a recipe idea or two.