The latest edition of Canada’s Food Guide has dropped the need to count servings of different food groups. Instead, its core prescription for healthy eating is that Canadians should transition to a more plant-based diet.
Adding plant-based nutrition to your diet really isn’t hard, but we know that for many Canadians and their families, changing their food habits can be a challenge.
As the person who does the shopping and cooking, whether for just yourself or your whole family, you might have many questions and concerns. Will this healthier food be hard to find? Will it be complicated? Will planning and preparing these new dishes take up all my time? Will it taste too different? Will eating together not be fun anymore?
All fair questions.
In this article we’re going to show you six ways that following Canada’s new Food Guide can be easy… uncomplicated… quick to prepare… taste great… and—most importantly—make eating together a wonderful experience!
But first, a little encouragement.
You should know that making this transition really will benefit your health, and the health of all those you share and prepare food with. The Food Guide gives you the science to back it up!
Among the most serious health concerns in Canada is heart disease. The Food Guide points out that almost 50% of deaths from cardiovascular disease are attributed to dietary risks, such as low intake of plant-based foods like vegetables and fruit.1
That’s bad. But here’s the good news: changing the food you eat to more plant-based nutrition can make a big difference.
“The regular intake of plant-based foods—vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and plant-based proteins— can have positive effects on health,” says the Food Guide. And it offers a long list of recent scientific studies that have provided “Convincing Findings” to prove this statement.2 If you care about your own health and the health of your friends and family, there are plenty of reasons for you to want to make this change in your lifestyle.
So let’s get on with the easy part. Here are six ways you can transition to a more plant-based diet—and love doing it!
To promote cardiovascular health, the Food Guide recommends replacing foods that contain mostly saturated fat with foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat.
One easy way to do that is to substitute the meat in the everyday recipes you already serve, with plant-based meat alternatives.
A great example is Yves Original Veggie Ground Round, a pre-cooked soy-based crumble that can replace cooked ground meat in recipes like pasta sauces, chili, lasagna, shepherd’s pie or tacos.
If your family are pizza lovers, there’s Yves Veggie Pepperoni, with the great taste of regular pepperoni but without any of the saturated fat, cholesterol or preservatives!
Both Yves Veggie Ground Round and Veggie Pepperoni, as well as a wide variety of other delicious Yves products, are a good source of protein, with no saturated fat.
Here’s another suggestion from the Food Guide that’s easy to adopt. To help meet its recommendations, it says, you can choose plant-based beverages.3 The choice is easy with Dream dairy-free plant based beverages, available in five different flavour bases: Rice, Coconut, Pea Protein, Cashew and Almond. With that range, your family can be free to choose the flavour they like best!
Whether it’s on breakfast cereal, in a refreshing mid-day smoothie, or in one of the fabulous recipes on the Dream website, you can enjoy the benefits of plant-based beverages any time of day.
Eating whole grain foods is another recommendation that is repeated throughout the Food Guide.4
You or your family may be used to the comfort of something white and starchy on your dinner plate. Why not try a delicious alternative like Tilda Wholegrain Basmati Rice? With the bran layer intact, the wholegrain rice has a distinctive nutty flavour, and is a source of fibre.
For added convenience, Tilda offers easy-to-use packets of steamed basmati that can be heated in the microwave in just 2 minutes. Try Brown Basmati & Quinoa with Pumpkin Seeds & Sunflower Seeds for a unique and wholesome flavour twist!
“To increase the amount of whole grain foods in your recipes,” says the Food Guide, “try adding: barley, bulgur and quinoa to soups, salads and stir-fries”
This recommendation is easy to put into practice with the selection offered by Casbah Authentic Grains, such as Organic Quinoa.
Considered a “super grain” Quinoa is a good source of iron and fibre. Add it to a soup or stew, or use it as a base for salads.
Another recommendation in the Food Guide is to keep a variety of whole grain foods in your pantry. A great one to have on hand is Casbah Organic Whole Wheat Couscous. It makes a versatile side dish for any occasion and cooks in only 5 minutes!
Ah, soup! What could be more comforting than a steaming bowl of creamy or chunky soup? With Imagine Soups and Broths, the possibilities are literally endless.
Imagine offers four varieties of pre-made creamy soups, and four varieties of chunky soups. You might try Southwestern Black Bean Soup, a hearty combination of organic black beans, tomatoes, red peppers and corn with a pinch of chili flakes that delivers exceptional flavour with 8 grams of fibre per cup.
But why stop there? Imagine gives you the freedom to create. Start with any one of nine broths, and add your own whole grains, seasonings and vegetables. Choose from a selection of regular organic broths, low sodium organic broths, or the new Imagine Organic Mushroom Broth to make a soup that is truly your own creation!
With these simple changes you’re already well on your way to a lifestyle of healthier food choices. But what about the challenge of keeping a supply of vegetables and fruits in your kitchen that’s ready-to-use at all times?
Europe’s Best Fruits and Vegetables have you covered, with a line of convenient frozen fruits and frozen vegetables that are already pre-washed and pre-cut, so the prep work is already done.
By buying frozen, you’ll never be without a healthy option for wholesome meals that are quick to prepare. A nice bonus is that you’ll reduce spoilage and food waste, too!
There are dozens of recipes on the Europe’s Best website to help you discover new ways to prepare wholesome meals you’ll love to serve.
When you think about it, there’s a whole new world of healthy plant-based nutrition to explore! The only question is which idea to try first?
You might try starting the recommendations of the Food Guide by introducing your family to Meatless Mondays: one day a week dedicated to a healthy vegetarian meal. That way everyone gets with the schedule, and gets comfortable with the idea that dinner is not always defined by having meat in the centre of the plate.
You may be worried that the new guidelines will be a difficult change—but with the six ideas above, you should rest easy knowing your family can be healthy and happy without that much effort!
1.Canada’s Food Guide: Canada’s Dietary Guidelines
2.Canada’s Food Guide: Canada’s Dietary Guidelines - Table 2: Convincing findings
4.Canada’s Food Guide: Eat whole grain foods