Earlier this year, Health Canada revealed a brand-new Food Guide. Here, we breakdown the main changes and recommendations to make it simple to follow for the entire family.
SO LONG RAINBOW. HELLO TO THE NEW PLATE!
Since forever, we have been accustomed to a colourful rainbow, each colour representing a different food group. Although the foods from the former food groups are, for the most part, still present in the new guide, Health Canada chose to do away with the traditional food groups classified primarily by nutrient, and move towards a focus on healthy eating patterns. This new focus is represented by a balanced plate emphasizing a variety of healthy foods, and proportions rather than portions. Children should be eating similar proportions as adults, rather on smaller plates adapted for their appetite.
HEALTHY HABITS FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY
These tips have always been a part of the healthy eating guidelines; however, there is more emphasis on them now more than ever as evidence shows that healthy habits have a positive impact on long-term health.
- Be mindful of your eating habits and enjoy foods — this includes not only what you eat, but how, why, when, where, and how much. Use your senses and create a positive eating environment free of distractions.
- Cook more often and include the little ones! — Benefits of home cooking include learning new food skills, saving money, and eating more wholesome, less processed foods. Kids are also more likely to eat the foods they helped prepare.
- Eat as a family — Kids can especially benefit from regular family meals as they are starting to develop their eating habits and behaviours. Eating together as a family can help kids explore new healthy foods, establish healthy eating routines, improve their overall eating pattern, and explore cultural and traditional foods.
As a parent or caregiver, you can be a positive role model. By practicing healthy eating habits, you can help create a positive relationship with food and the foods your kids will eat. Remember that every child is unique. Offer a variety of healthy choices and adapt portions based on appetite, activity levels, and growth spurts. For example, toddlers and preschoolers have smaller stomachs, so may need to eat smaller amounts of foods more frequently.
This balanced plate is a great example of healthy eating, but let’s face it, kids with their food jags don’t always eat what’s on their plate. If you’re worried that your child’s not getting enough of the nutrients they need from food alone, PediaSure Complete® may be a good choice to provide complete, balanced nutrition as a complement to a healthy diet. PediaSure Complete® can be used with or between meals, as a snack, or in one of these easy recipes for kids. Talk to your pediatrician about your child’s nutrition and PediaSure®, the #1 pediatrician-recommended brand.
Health Canada. Canada’s Food Guide. Available at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php.