The Canada Food Guide is about to get its first major update in 10 years. In 2018, the federal government will release the new food guide to the public, but until then, their guiding principles tell us what we can expect to see. An updated Canada Food Guide will impact the way our children will learn about food, the foods they consume at school, and even the way grocery shops stock their shelves. Currently, there is a lot of discussion around how the Canadian government is ramping up their efforts to promote a far healthier, less industry-based guide.
According to the guiding principles, there will be a major step away from processed foods and foods that contain saturated fats and more promotion of plant-based foods. While there aren’t plans to completely scrap dairy and meats from the food guide, they will be de-emphasized based on new health-related research. In turn, the food guide will differentiate between “whole” and “processed” foods. This means that sugary cereals and raw oats won’t be under the same “grain” umbrella, rather there will be more emphasis on raw oats being a good source of grains, and sugary cereal as a processed food.
The group this update will have the largest impact on will be families. Kids often learn about the food guide in school, so adhering to the new food guide could be a good way to promote consistency between what they’re learning in school and what they’re practicing in real life, helping to set them up to make healthy choices as they grow up.
Here are a few tips to adhere to the new direction of the Canada Food Guide.
Limit The Dairy, Specifically Milk
If your family loves milk, try to limit how much they consume, and keep the milk they do drink low fat (skim or 1%) or pick nut milk such as almond and cashew milk. As milk tends to be enjoyed with breakfast, we recommend that you try yogurt, dairy-free smoothies, or whole-wheat bread instead of milk-based foods such as cereal.
More Plants, Less Meat
Health Canada has noticed that many Canadians aren’t eating enough fruits, veggies, and whole grains. That’s a problem since many these are loaded with vitamins and nutrients, low in saturated fats, and generally the healthiest foods anyone could have. Meat, on the other hand, is being over consumed. Try swapping out meat for protein-heavy vegetables such as peas and broccoli, or leaves such as spinach and kale, or include them alongside meat. Try preparing vegetable and meat skewers or calzones stuffed with roasted veggies instead of meat-heavy sandwiches for lunch.
Make Things From Scratch!
The updated food guide is poised to take a major step away from processed foods. This includes many packaged snacks and oven-ready foods. Instead opt to cook with raw foods such as fruits and vegetables, grains, and meat. Sugar-free snacks tend to be great in terms of processed foods, but if you have the option of swapping those snacks for produce or homemade alternatives, we highly recommend to do so. Using high-quality, whole ingredients will allow for a healthy meal or snack with the added benefit of knowing exactly what is going into your kid’s bellies.
Give this yummy quesadilla recipe a try!
Mix & Match Veggie Quesadilla
Yummy, slightly cheesy (use low-fat cheese to adhere to the food guide), and packed with veggies, this delicious lunch idea is easy to make and a kid favourite! The flavourful vegetables will keep your kids full and their energy level high. Serve alongside fresh, mild salsa for a nutrient-packed, easy-to-eat lunchtime meal.
We’re looking forward to seeing the new Health Canada Food Guide, but until then, the best we can do is promote healthy eating at home. What are you hoping the new food guide adds or removes?
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