By Nicole Houghtaling, RD, Pn1, Military Personnel Command –
Did you know that March is Nutrition Month? Nutrition Month 2019 looks to Unlock the Potential of Food and to help Canadians realize the potential of food to fuel ourselves, discover healthy patterns, prevent disease, heal our bodies, and bring us together. The campaign is dedicated to help Canadians discover the potential of food in order to improve their overall health and well-being.
The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) has long been a leader in health policies for government employees. Within the CAF, healthy choices are always available on the National Standardized Cycle Menu (NSCM) offered at CAF dining facilities. New nutrition educational materials have also been developed with key messaging, which you can find on display 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, and we have seen both the ban of partially hydrogenated oils (the main source of industrially produced trans fats in foods) as of 17 September 2018, and updated food label regulations as of the end of 2016.The most recent change was the launch of the new Food Guide on 22 January 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, a mobile-friendly web application, renewed terminology, and 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.
Strengthening the Forces is the CAF healthy lifestyles promotion program providing expert information, skills and tools for promoting and improving CAF members’ health and well-being.
Check out your local Health Promotion website for upcoming workshops, campaigns and resources, or to register for our workshops.
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.
This post is also available in: Français (French)