Nutrition changes are on the horizon!

The healthy meal plate now consists of: ½ vegetables and fruit, ¼ whole grains and ¼ protein foods

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By Nicole Houghtaling, RD, Pn1

Did you know that March is Nutrition Month? The Nutrition Month 2019 campaign is dedicated to helping Canadians realize the potential of food to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together.

Within the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), healthy choices are always available on the National Standardized Cycle Menu (NSCM) offered at CAF dining facilities. New nutrition education materials have been developed. You can find them posted at CAF dining facilities.

Since the launch of Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Strategy in late 2016, the Government of Canada has been taking action to make the healthier choice the easier choice for all Canadians. Many changes have already taken place when it comes to promoting nutrition:

  • We have seen the ban of partially hydrogenated oils (the main source of industrially produced trans fats in foods) as of September 17, 2018.
  • Food label regulations were updated at the end of 2016 (although manufacturers have until 2021 to comply).
  • The most recent change was the launch of the new Food Guide on January 22, 2019.

Canada’s new food guide takes a modern approach to communicating dietary guidance to consumers, health professionals and policy makers. Some of the changes include modern visuals, a more user-focused approach with an online suite of resources including a mobile-friendly web application, renewed terminology, and, perhaps most importantly, the new guide reflects the best of the latest evidence on food and health.

So how is the latest evidence reflected in the new guide? The healthy meal plate now consists of: ½ vegetables and fruit, ¼ whole grains and ¼ protein foods (milk and alternatives and meat and alternatives are now grouped together as protein foods).

Among protein foods, plant-based should be consumed more often. Water is now the beverage of choice and sugary drinks, including 100% juice and sweetened milk, are not recommended to be consumed regularly.

What’s exciting is that there are even more changes on the horizon. Later this year, Health Canada is expected to release Canada’s Healthy Eating Pattern which will provide guidance on the amounts and types of food that make up a healthy diet.

Check out the following resources to learn more:

Nicole Houghtaling is a registered dietitian and is currently completing a Masters in Sports Nutrition. As part of the Strengthening the Forces team, she is the Acting Nutrition Wellness Educator and focusses on health promotion nutrition programming for the CAF.

Strengthening the Forces is the Canadian Armed Forces’ healthy lifestyles promotion program providing expert information, skills and tools for promoting and improving CAF members’ health and well-being.

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