The new Canada’s Food Guide is a welcome change from the highly structured and restrictive days of it’s past. The new guide no longer looks to dictate your diet in perfect portions, but actually act as a guide. The eye-catching new plate diagram is a much easier portioning system to understand, and replaces the old (highly-industry influenced) rainbow. The main recommendation is simple: eat more plants. It isn’t about cutting out meat, dairy and grains, but simply shifting our portion sizes to have the focus be on vegetables and fruits.
These positive, plant and protein focused changes are highly important to the health of Canadian’s of all ages, however our favourite parts of the new food guide are actually in the additional recommendations. They encourage Canadians to try out some revolutionary ideas: cook more often, eat with others, and enjoy your food! Okay, maybe they aren’t so revolutionary, but they are surprisingly relevant reminders in a time where we applaud being busy, and prioritize convenience over our own well-being. Here are some of our own tips and tricks to help you explore these ideas:
Cook more often: Cooking takes time, and if that is something you’re short on, try to carve out just a couple of times a week that you commit to cooking dinner- and get the whole family involved if possible! Make it fun by trying a new recipe (pro tip- head to the third floor of our new downtown Calgary Public Library and get out a cookbook to base a whole meal around), play music or listen to a podcast while you cook, or appoint one of the kids ‘head chef’ and allow them to choose the meal plan for the evening. Feeling uninspired? Come by our weekly Farmers’ Market on Wednesday to find some fresh ingredients or chat food with our awesome vendors.
Eat meals with others: Host a potluck or dinner club with your friends and neighbours! Themes help make group meals easier- choose a culture to explore, have guests bring items that align with the theme, and play music from that country to create some great atmosphere! New to the neighbourhood or looking for a way to get to know some more folks in the area? Every Thursday at the HSCA from 6-8pm everyone is welcome at our Neighbour Night program where you can share in a vegetarian meal, and a fun activity. Additionally, the second Friday of every month we host a Community Potluck- all are welcome!
Enjoy your food: It seems a bit basic, but when it comes to food- you should enjoy it! Eat what you like. But of course, try to keep the focus on plants! If you don’t like vegetables much, find at least one you do enjoy (at least a little bit!) and look up several different ways to prepare it. Cauliflower doesn’t always have to be steamed and bland… try it as a garlic mash, with chickpeas in a curry, or as cauliflower “chicken” wings. If you don’t enjoy what you’re eating, you’ll cook less, and depend more on processed and convenience foods. Eat local to improve flavour and nutritional value, and try new things! Variety is the spice of life after all.