Canada’s Food Guide. It has certainly been the topic of much debate during my almost decade as a dietitian. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people call in to book an appointment – as long as I didn’t use Canada’s Food Guide! To be honest, it was not a tool I used in my practice, simply because it was pretty outdated and not very practical to follow
If you haven’t heard, it was a big week in nutrition as it finally got a long overdue overhaul! So, what’s the verdict on these new changes?
I have to tell you, for the first time, I think I’m actually on board! One of the things I am happiest to see is that they are not only looking at what we eat, but how we eat – encouraging mindfulness and connecting as part of a healthy eating experience.
So, here are a few of the major changes and my two cents on them.
Proportion vs. portion
- The old model of the 4 food groups with designated portion sizes is no longer
- Now based on The Plate Model which focuses on the proportions of food types on your plate
My thoughts: I am all for this. It is less prescriptive and leaves more room to modify to personal needs, still providing guidance on what a balanced meal looks like.
Room for improvement: I’d like to see more of an emphasis on including health fast to balance out the plate including Avocado, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Omega-3 fatty acids from sources like fish, walnuts and flax seeds.
- Water is now the recommended drink of choice
- Milk is included in the “protein” category
- Fruit juice is no longer promoted as a recommended option for a serving of fruit
- Alcohol is addressed as a source of non nutritive calories/ energy
My Thoughts: I totally agree with this! Water doesn’t have to be boring. Throw some fresh fruit or herbs in there, or even a splash of juice to liven things up, but I do agree that water is the best option to keep hydrated. This isn’t about an all or none but more information to make informed choices. If you feel like a glass of juice or want to kick back and enjoy a glass of wine – go for it! But as an everyday staple, I’m all for water as the first choice!
Meat & Alternatives Is Now “Protein Foods”
- No longer labelled Meat & Alternative, this section of the plate is now “protein foods” and encourages plant based options
- Diary has been removed as it’s own food group and is now included under the umbrella of protein foods
My Thoughts I also agree with this change. Again, this doesn’t have to mean becoming vegan of vegetarian, but we can all benefit from getting more plants onto our plate. Not only do these nutrient rich foods benefit our health, but the health of the environment. If you need a little help with learning how to cook with plant based proteins, you can ease in with this 5 day meal plan. I also now have a vegan version of my 4 week meal plan program if you’re looking to dive right in!
Includes recommendations/guidance on HOW to eat, not just WHAT to eat
- Encourages mindful eating
- Encourages cooking more at home
- Encourages eating with others
My thoughts: I am a huge proponent of this. You’ve likely hear me talk about this before, but I truly believe that food and nutrition is about so much more than just the nutrients a food has or lacks. The intention behind our food choices, and the way those choices make us feel is so important for an all encompassing healthy relationship with food. Food has such a beautiful ability to connect us to ourselves, our communities, cultures and histories and I am so happy to see this being highlighted!
I would love to hear your thoughts on these new guidelines.Do you agree with the changes? Are there any that you don’t really align with? Leave me a comment on the video or below this post so we can chat about it!
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