You have likely heard about the newest version of Canada’s Food Guide that was recently released. You may be wondering how it compares with the previous version, and if a plant-based diet fits with these new guidelines.
The biggest change you may notice is that the new version removed food groups and their recommended numbers of servings. It now focuses on building a balanced plate with vegetables, fruits, protein foods, and whole-grain foods.
The role of plant-based foods on the new Canada’s Food Guide
The new Canada’s Food Guide has a strong emphasis on plant-based foods. Looking at the visual, you will see that three-quarters of the plate are filled with vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. The guide encourages us to focus on less-processed versions of these foods, and to choose products that are lower in sodium, sugar and saturated fat.
How is protein discussed in Canada’s Food Guide?
Let’s take a look at how the guide talks about protein. Previous versions of Canada’s Food Guide had specific recommendations for servings from the “meat and alternatives” and “milk and alternatives” food groups. This wording implied a meat- and dairy-centric guide. However, the newest version of the guide groups the protein-containing foods together, and now uses the more inclusive term “protein foods”.
The new Canada’s Food Guide includes a variety of plant-based foods in the protein section on the plate, such as legumes, tofu, nuts, and seeds. Through this visual, the new Canada’s Food Guide clearly illustrates getting your protein through plant-based sources more often.
The guide even explicitly recommends choosing plant-based protein sources more often than animal sources. It provides written ideas of plant-based foods, and examples of simple recipes to try. The guide also describes that plant-based protein foods often contain more fiber and less saturated fat than animal protein sources.
Canada’s Food Guide recommendations for our eating habits
Another refreshing change to Canada’s Food Guide is that it discusses the recommendations about “how” to eat.
- It encourages us to be mindful of our eating habits, including the reasons why we eat and the situations in which we eat.
- It reminds us to be aware of food marketing and its influences on our eating behaviors.
- It discusses the benefits of cooking more, which helps us to choose our ingredients and how we prepare them.
- We are encouraged to eat meals with others.
- and enjoy the food we eat!
Whatever your personal reason for following a plant-based diet, feel comfortable with your decision to do so. This applies whether you are eating with other plant-based eaters or not. These recommendations align with the principles of becoming a competent eater.
As you can see, the newest version of Canada’s Food Guide serves up some good news for those who follow a plant-based diet, as well as those who are considering following it!
Remember that the Canada’s Food Guide is just that – a guide. To find what works best for you, follow your inner cues of hunger, fullness and how foods make you feel. Everyone has individual needs, so it is always best to speak with a registered dietitian for personalized advice.
What are your thoughts about the newest version of Canada’s Food Guide? Share your opinion in the comments below!
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