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Canada’s New Food Guide Part 1

Canada woke up on Tuesday January 22 2019 with a new food guide to help ease and make better food choices.

“It reflects the Canada of 2019 while keeping an eye to the Canada of the future.”

Health Canada says reconciliation with Indigenous peoples was top of their minds during the design of a revamped food guide that includes traditional foods for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis.

Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor announced Tuesday morning that the new food guide is “more than just a colourful page,” calling it a “powerful” online tool that will continually be updated with the latest dietary knowledge.

The first significant change is water is now the recommended as the “beverage of choice” instead of servings of milk and fruit juice suggested in past versions of the food guide, which was last updated in 2007.

The second significant change is gone are daily recommended servings for vegetables, fruit, grains, and protein. Health officials explained that consultations showed recommended portions and sizes were “not helpful,” citing how energy levels differ from person to person. Dropping portion sizes prompted officials to take a new “modern approach” to communicate food guidance.

The new ideal healthy meal is now shown as a single plate with half of its space taken by “plenty of vegetables and fruits”; a quarter for “protein foods” such as meat, nuts, and beans; and a quarter for “whole grain foods.”

Looks something like this:



The food guide also has a larger push for people to adopt a holistic approach to healthy eating, meaning more home cooking, being mindful of consumption habits, and sharing more meals with other people.

Health officials explained “as part of reconciliation,” the development of any food guide-related policy “must support self-determination, as well as recognize the distinct nature and lived experience of First Nations, Inuit and Métis.”

Pat Vanderkooy who is a registered dietitian and spokesperson for Dietitians of Canada, said “the new food guide is a good step toward recognizing diverse communities”.

She explained “huge barriers” are sometimes faced when low income families can barely cover the high cost of food. The new food guide uses examples of canned, frozen, and dried fruits and vegetables as affordable alternatives to fresh produce when its too pricey or not readily available.

“This is especially important in Canadian communities where timely transportation of fresh food is either not possible or too expensive.”

Vanderkooy also said there’s still work to do to make the new food guide useful for diverse Indigenous communities with varying diets based on different traditional foods.

“Indigenous peoples need more ‘distinction-based’ food guides — such as resources that are specific to a geographic region and translated into the locally used Indigenous language,” she said.

Hasan Hutchinson, Health Canada director-general of nutritional policy and promotion, told reporters that officials are currently working with Indigenous Services Canada, and First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to develop those “distinction-based” food guides.