New guidelines favour plant-based foods and discourage processed foods

A new version of Canada’s Food Guide, expected to be released in 2018, will include new themes and emphases that focus on a nutrition-based approach to address major health concerns, such as obesity and diet-related chronic illness, according to Dalhousie University.

The proposed guiding principles, published by Health Canada, focus not only on advising people what to eat, but also what not to eat and how to eat in a healthy way.

More plant-based foods

According to Health Canada, over half of Canadians don’t eat enough vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and many drink beverages high in sugars. The first guiding principle recommends you regularly eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains and protein-rich foods, especially plant-based sources of protein. The emphasis is on a higher proportion of plant-based foods, but allowing for some animal foods such as eggs, fish and other seafood, poultry, lean red meats, lower fat milk and yogurt, and cheeses low in salt and fat.

Less salt and sugar

The second guiding principle is to limit reliance on processed or prepared foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fats. These can be identified using the % Daily Value (DV) on the Nutrition Facts table on the food label. If you see 15% or more of the %DV, that’s a lot of sodium, sugars or saturated fat.

Fruit smoothies variety in rainbow colorsAt least half of the sugars consumed by Canadians comes from processed or prepared foods and beverages, says Health Canada. Drinking water regularly and avoiding beverages high in sugars can help you cut down on sugar intake, which protects your oral health and may reduce the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The message isn’t to avoid special treats or less healthy foods entirely, but to have them from time to time. What matters most to your health is what you eat on a regular basis.

Eat with others

The third principle advises that you eat meals with friends or family whenever possible. Dining with others makes meals more enjoyable and an opportunity for social interaction.

Healthy eating also means mindful eating, where you take time to eat and savour every bite, paying attention to feelings of hunger and fullness, and eating slowly with enjoyment.

Chartwell Retirement Residences offers a variety of nutritious and tasty menu options, based on recommendations from Canada’s Food Guide, and meals can be adapted to individual dietary needs. Socialization and interaction among our residents during dining hours is also encouraged to make meals a more pleasurable experience!