So, you may have noticed that Canada has a new food guide, and why should you care? Well, it’s chalk full of information and resources pertaining to the creation of a healthy, sustainable diet. Gone are the old days of the “rainbow” guide, where the representation of each food group was muddled by dozens of different options. The new guide trims down the information and delivers a succinct and easy to digest (hah, get it?) picture of what our ideal plates should look like. These plates are made up of 50% vegetables and fruits, 25% of proteins, and the remaining 25% dedicated to whole grains. See? Not so bad. Along with this, there has been the removal of dairy and fats, accompanied with a message that we should be having water as our drink of choice.
Never has it been easier to create a balanced and healthy meal based on the food guide regulations, which is inherently positive. It’s very easy to create half a plate of fruits and vegetables based on litany of options we have. There are no stipulations on fresh, frozen, or cooked. Whole grains are also easy to tackle as we are given a multitude of different options to which we can adhere. I do however want to touch a little more on the “proteins” category, as it isn’t as cut and dry as we might think. There is an aside to this new guide that brings forward the notion that not all our proteins need to be meat based. You can even see in the image that the new guide recommends different nuts, legumes, and soy-based options for protein consumption. It’s an interesting change, since common convention usually designates meat-based proteins as being the main source in our diets. I’m no dietitian, but I can appreciate the movement to a more diverse protein intake. Legumes aren’t complete proteins like their animal counterparts (meaning that they do not contain a full amino-acid profile), however, this can offset because grains typically contain the remaining complementary amino acid chains. There is also some preliminary evidence that correlates a higher environmental impact with animal processing, so this can potentially be reduced if we incorporate other forms of protein in our diets.
Lastly, I want to speak a bit about the fact that the new food guide has some guidelines on “how” to eat, and not just “what” to eat. They mention the ideas of only eating until we feel full, and mindful eating. This is something that I have mentioned in previous articles, and it’s something that I deem to be very important. I love that this has been included, along with encouraging us to eat with others, and allow culture and other factors play into our meals. It can be very heartening to cook and prepare a meal with someone you care for, and sharing food with others can be a fantastic way to bond and socialize. These are all positive steps in a healthy and balanced lifestyle.
So, in conclusion, why should you care about this new food guide? Well, there’s a whole host of information that can enrich the way we see food, food preparation, and creating a healthy and well-portioned plate. Our food options have been simplified, but also remain diverse due to the plethora of options within each category and our exhaustive imaginations. Altogether, this guide represents a step in the right direction for all Canadian people, and we should embrace it as such.