New year, new recommendations for how to design your plate! If you haven’t heard already, Health Canada just released a revamped food guide, making some substantial changes. The biggest updates? A spotlight on plant-based eating and a phasing out of specific food groups and serving sizes, replaced with a balanced, healthy plate.
Like the previous version, the revised guide suggests eating a variety of nutritious foods each day. However, newer research supports more plant-based eating, because it lowers the risk of many chronic diseases while it’s also better for the environment. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit and a quarter with whole grains (like brown rice, oats, quinoa or 100% whole grain bread or pasta.) The remaining quarter of your plate is for protein foods like beans and lentils, nuts, seeds, tofu, fish, eggs, poultry, lean red meat, fortified soy beverage or lower fat milk, yogurt and cheese. People are encouraged to choose plant-based protein more often and than, meat products. The Food Guide no longer lists milk and milk alternatives or meat and meat alternatives as distinct food groups. The guide also emphasizes making water your drink of choice.
Here are some healthy eating strategies:
Choose unsaturated fats found in plant oils, nuts and seeds, avocados and fatty fish like salmon. Limit saturated fats which are found in full fat dairy products, meat and butter.
Include more whole foods with fewer ingredients and limit highly processed foods like sweetened breakfast cereals, cookies, candy, pastries, instant noodles, and processed meats like chicken nuggets, bacon and cold cuts.
Cook your own food more often. Prepare meals and snacks using ingredients that have less added sodium, sugars, or saturated fat. When you do go out to eat, look for healthier menu options that include more vegetables, whole grains and lean protein, while eating less fast food like pizza or burgers and fries.
Drink water instead of sugary drinks such as soda, fancy sweetened coffee, juice, hot chocolate, or energy drink.
Click here for more information about the launch of the new food guide.