Canada’s Food Guide hasn’t seen a revamp in over a decade, so it makes sense that the 2019 edition looks shockingly different from the old rainbow four-food-group version we all remember from every classroom we’ve ever set foot in. For those of us who have been diligently counting our servings of fruit, veg and dairy every day, the new guide is particularly jarring — no structured food groups? No food pyramid?
Nope, none of that. The new and improved guide is less about counting servings and more about proportions and how you’re eating.
Rather than a tiered system with charts and numbers, the new guide is simplified with the proportions of different nutrients you should be getting from your food throughout the day. One half should be fruits and veggies, one quarter should be protein and the last quarter should consist of whole grains.
The guide also offers suggestions on how to make healthier choices, such as being mindful of your habits, cooking at home more often, eating with others and avoiding overly sugary or salty foods.
While this new guide may look a little wacky to the general public, it’s actually much closer to what nutritionists and dietitians have been preaching all along.
“I am very impressed with the new structure of the food guide,” registered dietitian Shauna Lindzon told us. “Instead of focusing on portion sizes, they chose to outline proportions of food. For at least the last ten years, I have been following the same principles with my nutrition education.
“[The new guide] does a great job at outlining WHAT foods Canadians should eat and HOW to eat them.”
Shauna points out that the latest edition of the guide is unique in the fact that it’s the first Canadian Food Guide to be created without the influence of the food industry which has historically lobbied for the government to up the daily servings in the guide to encourage Canadians to buy more of their products.
“Health Canada based the recommendations on the most up to date nutrition science and avoided guidance from the food industry when creating [the guide],” Shauna said. “The result is an unbiased guide that in my opinion is very balanced.”
She also applauds the guide for its emphasis on checking your habits surrounding eating, not just the food you’re putting into your body.
“Healthy eating is more than the foods you eat – being mindful, cooking more often, enjoying your food, eating meals with others, using food labels to education yourself, limiting foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat and being aware of food marketing,” she said. “To me, this is all inclusive and fits the bill of healthy eating perfectly.”