Canada’s New Food Guide – One Year Later

Checking-in on Canada’s New Food Guide

It’s been a little over a year since the most recent version of Canada’s Food Guide was released. With this anniversary in mind, I was curious how the changes in this guide have impacted the practice of registered dietitians and food service managers in Canada. I am especially interested in how these front-line professionals may be implementing the non-food group suggestions. The anniversary of the food guide along with the Nutrition Month theme of “More Than Food”, this seems like the perfect time to connect with other current practitioners* and see the many ways they are implementing Canada’s Food Guide in their own facilities.

Beyond Food Approaches to Health Eating

On cooking more often…

When it comes to cooking more often, some facilities that previously outsourced menu items are returning to more in-house/scratch cooking. 

“[I’ve] seen a positive impact to patient meal experience and also savings in budget as a result of bringing production back in house.”

                   – Marianne Katusin, Interim Director of Clinical Nutrition & Food Services at Halton Healthcare

On mindfulness during meals…

“[Mindfulness] can be observed during meal service in long-term care by emphasizing that all staff involved in mealtime speak at an appropriate volume, interact with residents in a positive way, and keep the focus on the resident and their mealtime experience.”

– Misha Sinha Roy, RD.

On nutrition counselling…

“[I am] talking more about plant protein-benefits and less about animal proteins to my clients.”

– Wendy Scott, RD.

“The 2019 Food Guide is easier for people to visualize what healthy meals look like using the plate method, as opposed to counting servings, which can be confusing to people… [I] appreciate that the food guide doesn’t just emphasize what to eat but also how to eat and shows a more holistic approach to our diet and lifestyle.”

On eating with others…

“Eating meals with others continues to be an emphasis in long-term care as residents come together to eat meals in dining rooms.  What is important here, which also ties into mindfulness during meals, is that residents are assigned a table with those of similar interests/preferences to facilitate socialization.”

– Misha Sinha Roy, RD.

On food marketing…

It is important to be aware that food marketing does have a place in healthcare and can be used in a positive way.

“[Halton Healthcare] is branding room service menus with a “local” symbol in an effort to promote choosing fresh, local items more often, and that all fruit, vegetables, and entrees produced in-house or sourced locally are branded with a “green tractor.”

– Marianne Katusin, Interim Director of Clinical Nutrition & Food Services at Halton Healthcare

On finding balance…

Enjoying your food should be something everyone gets an opportunity to do, regardless of culture, diet type or diet texture.  The new guide emphasizes balance and can be used more easily across different cultures, settings, and diet types.  Enjoying food doesn’t just have to be at mealtime, some activity departments come together to cook. This gives residents a chance to socialize and try a recipe that isn’t normally offered on the menu or may be culturally unfamiliar to them, offering a chance to try something new and appreciate others’ cuisine.

Just the Beginning

One year since it’s publication, this is just a snapshot of the many positive ways the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide has impacted healthcare foodservice. We look forward to seeing how these “More than Food” suggestions continue to impact the field of food service and nutrition management in the future.

 *A special thanks to Marianne Katusin, Wendy Scott, and Misha Sinha Roy for providing input into how they are implementing the 2019 Canada’s Food Guide. Wendy and Misha are practicing dietitians and Marianne is Interim Director of Clinical Nutrition & Food Services at Halton Healthcare. All three are faculty in CHA Learning’s Food Service and Nutrition Management program.

About the Author:

Ami is a Registered Dietitian with over 20 years of experience in the field, with many roles including:

  • Current Chair of the Food Service and Nutrition Management Program at CHA Learning
  • Food service supervisor/manager
  • Director of food and environmental services
  • General manager of support services
  • Clinical dietitian
  • Auditor
  • Independent dietitian consultant
  • College instructor

Ami also has a Bachelor of Education and currently teaches high school in addition to her work as a registered dietitian.

We would love to hear how you have been incorporating the new food guide into your work! Send us an email, connect with us on twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn!