Canada’s Food Guide hasn’t changed in over a decade, and now, it’s getting a total revamp that could change what we see in grocery stores, in school lunches, and on our kitchen tables!

The new food guide is leaning away from meat and dairy products, proposing to remove the “milk and alternatives” and “meat and alternatives” groups and combining them into one. While the current groupings (Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives, and Meat and Alternatives) have proven useful and simple, the proposed changes aim to group together proteins, and to apply to all dietary needs, vegan or vegetarian lifestyles included.

Eat a variety of healthy foods

Specifically, the new food guide suggests eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, choosing whole grains, and eating “protein foods.” When picking proteins, the food guide suggests eating plant-based proteins, like legumes, beans, and tofu more often than those from animal sources, like dairy, eggs, meat and fish. The guiding principles also include:
  • Limit highly processed foods. If you choose these foods, eat them less often and in small amounts.

  • Use food labels. Be aware that food marketing can influence your choices.

  • Cook more often and eat meals with others.

  • Be mindful of your eating habits – but enjoy your food.

While we do not advocate a “one-size-fits-all” approach for eating – or exercise – the new Canada Food Guidelines are taking a BIG leap forward from previous versions. Health Canada built the guide on the best available scientific evidence and on the feedback they received from public consultations.

Additionally, the development of dietary guidance is free from conflict of interest (from the food and beverage industry). They also moved away from the all-in-one format that acted as both a policy and education tool.

Hydration is key

When it comes to drinks, the food guide recommends making water your beverage of choice. This is partly about preventing dehydration, but also partly about limiting sugar intake, according to Health Canada officials. If you’re drinking more water, you’re probably drinking less juice and pop.

Small simple changes

Whether it be healthy eating or workouts, it starts with simple and small changes over time. Be open to try new things, understand what works for you and be mindful of your portions/food choices.