By now, many of you have seen Canada’s new food guide. For those of you who have not-it has temporarily done away with serving sizes and suggested daily intake- this will come later this year with phase 2. No longer is there a four colored rainbow sprawled across the page depicting four categories of food. Instead, there is a circle of food, separated three ways that mimic a plate, much like the one children use. There are two equal size sections that take up one half of the plate, one section host bread and rice and pasta, the other pictures beans and chicken and tofu. The other half of the plate displays in vibrant color fruits and vegetables such as apples and spinach. The whole picture resembles what health organizations in other countries have been promoting for years; a diet higher in fruits & vegetables than protein and grains.
And as much as I, personally, think this is a great step forward, many are critiquing the new food guide.
Where is the milk?!
Dairy is still part of Canada’s Food Guide. It is difficult to see, but in the protein portion, there is a bowl of something white-possibly yogurt or cottage cheese. Although not pictured, Canada’s FoodGuide includes milk, yogurt, and low sodium cheese in their protein category. Also not pictured, yet still part of the food guide, yet not causing a hassle is: shrimp, scallops or lobster and as an East Coast Gal- I would think that would cause some fuss, but I digress.
Where are the cultural specific foods?
Some individuals are commenting that the new food guide is too mainstream and does not consider the vast diversity that is Canada. Arguably, not every fruit & vegetable consumed in Canada would fit on the plate. Just because eggplant isn’t featured does not mean you should not eat it. Again, this Newfoundlander doesn’t see any moose, but that won’t stop me!
Not all Canadians can eat this way.
Food insecurity is a major issue many Canadians face on a daily basis. It may be hard to justify purchasing fresh fruits & vegetables when a frozen pizza is the same price and will go further.
One Canadian Dietitian made the comparison between the new food guide and a new brand of pants. A clothing manufacturer cannot make a pair of pants that fits everyone-leggings do not count! Regardless, they still need to make the pants. They try to make a pair that will suit most Canadians but inevitably, some people will be left out. Maybe the pants are too long or too short. That doesn’t mean people will not buy the pants, they just may need to see a tailor first. When it comes to the food guide-Dietitians are the tailor. Dietitians can take the food guide and make it suit individual needs; we can make it fit into any lifestyle or budget.
Visit Health Canada to see the online suite of resources and tips that complement the food guide. Health Canada is encouraging Canadians to cook meals and enjoy them with others, enjoy food and listen to your body. Watch out for food labels and be aware of food marketing. Finally, Health Canada provides some yummy recipes to get Canadians started.
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