BPR Food for Thought | The Revamped Canada Food Guide is a Dramatic Shift to Normalcy
By Aeryn Pfaff
Nothing about 2019 is normal. Besides the world’s volatile political landscape, the pace at which we live and work feels worlds away from the 1990’s. While advances in communication technology keeps us constantly connected, we spend the majority of our day staring at cell phone and computer screens. Taking time to unplug and properly connect with others and ourselves has become less of a priority.
While there are many health and social benefits to eating meals together, many Canadians eat alone, whether at their desks or at home. What constitutes a ‘family dinner’ has also taken on new forms as many live with roommates and millennials are having less children than previous generations. How can we regain the positive parts of food-based interaction with each other but update it for contemporary realities?
With its newly released Food Guide, Health Canada has made an attempt to reflect these current lifestyle realities stating: “Cook more often, eat meals with others, enjoy your food, be mindful.”
This statement is supported by a number of studies and relates several hot topic issues. Taking time to have family dinner has proven to help children deal with the effects of cyberbullying and with their physical and mental health in general. Children aren’t the only ones who are encountering negative online interactions or having difficulties with their physical and mental health. Studies have indicated depression is on the rise among all age groups in recent years.
Something you don’t need a study to tell you, is how good it can feel to share food with family and friends. To many people, food means love. To cook for each other is to express care for each other. To teach each other about food is to pass on skills to enrich each other’s lives, young and old. To learn about the benefits of food and its nutritional value fulfills the request to be mindful. Giving thought to what you eat may sound like a no-brainer, but sometimes we need a reminder to ask ourselves when making food choices, “is this good for me?”
The new changes to the particular food groups and percentages Health Canada recommends eating are also important to note. They recommend whole, unprocessed foods, with half of your plate being made up of vegetables, a quarter whole grains and a quarter proteins. The behavioural and attitudinal recommendations however, are the most significant shift by far. Reminding Canadians to remember what food is for: nutrition, health, development and togetherness.
So no matter what your idea of family looks like, whether it’s you and your roomates, your partner, your parents and children or your coworkers, do your best to cook and eat together more often. Enjoy your food and think about what you eat – you’ll be glad you did.