Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Question Tuesday

~ Can Canada's Food Guide be used for weight loss??~

What a great question!!! You see Canada's Food Guide defines and promotes healthy eating for Canadians. It describes what amount of food individuals need and what type of food is essential for a healthy eating pattern.

Healthy Eating Pattern is what I would like to stress here. You see this NO DIETING picture is the same as a little pin I wear on my jacket. It attracts a lot of attention from people especially when they know that I am a Dietitian. You see as a Dietitian we stress healthy eating habits because we see from a lot of clients, family members and friends that fad dieting, which offers a glorious ending, doesn't end in long term weight management. Here is just a short of list of why diet's don't work

  • They are hard to follow over the long term and they do not teach us how to change our eating patterns.
  • They are nutritionally unbalanced usually leaving out one or more of the food groups.
  • The weight that was lost from the diet is quickly regained.
  • Decreases metabolism making it easier to gain weight.
  • Fosters poor eating habits which lead to periods of starving and binging.
  • Diets decrease your self-esteem when the weight is re-gained and you feel like you have failed.
Now that I have quickly covered why diets aren't good for you lets start looking at what you can do to maintain a healthy weight for your body type. Before we look at Canada's Food Guide which is the best model for a healthy lifestyle lets take a glace at Body Mass Index (BMI). In basic terms your BMI, lets you know if your weight is in a healthy weight range for your height. Using this calculator you can determine first if you need to drop some pounds to be in a more healthy weight range. Now that you have your BMI lets get started on a more healthy life style.

Meet the new Food Guide...OK so its not that new. This food guide was released February 2007 after being worked on for several years by many different individuals. It contains more information than before to help Canadians make wise choices about the food they eat and how to stay healthy.

The beautiful food rainbow is still seen in the newer food guide. With each arc representing a different food group. The emphasis of the food guide is lots of vegetables, fruit and whole grains while limiting foods that are high in calories, fat, sugar and salt.

The guide is now more specific to gender and age. Now you can simply look up how many servings you should be consuming each day. It may seem like a lot but that is where the middle section or portions comes in. You know that when we look at 7-8 grains a day we think "oh my I am going to gain so much weight eating that"; but the other morning I went to grab a bagel and noticed that the label was for 1/2 the bagel which was equal to 2 servings. Meaning if I would have eaten the whole bagel I would have consumed 4 servings just for breakfast.

This should help show you what a serving is. Also this is a good list of portions you should be consuming. If you are trying to loose weight you could cut back on the number of servings, say if the food guide recommends 8 then you could eat 6 or even 7 servings. Here are three important things you can do to start your healthy life style according to Canada's Food Guide

1. Portion your food. Actually eat the serving sizes recommended. To do this in our house I have what I call the magic ladle. Its a scoop that is 1/2 cup measure. That way when I am serving our mashed potatoes, rice or vegetables I know that we are getting the right serving amount. That way if I need to give hubby two servings he is getting the right portion and not too much.

2. Make wise choices: This food guide gives examples of foods you should consume that are the best foods with in their food group. For example consume one dark green and one orange vegetable every day.

3. Satisfy your thirst with water: This is one category where many people could cut back on calories. So many people consume large amounts of pop and juice. This has what we call lots of empty calories. Meaning they are adding to your daily diet but they don't help you nutritionally. Next time you are thirsty go for a glass of water instead of the soda or juice and save yourself those calories.

The guide provides lots of information to help us Canada's live healthier life styles for example limit fats, sugar, salt, and increase physical activity. The Food Guide is filled with so much helpful information to get you started on a healthier life style. Once you begin to recognize what a proper serving is and begin to consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat milk products and leaner cuts of meat you are on your way to becoming a healthier family.

Another way if you want to get the members in your family eating according to the food guide have them do this fun activity of printing out their own personalized food guide. This has been helpful for us to have these posted up in the cupboards. That way we can make sure we get our recommended servings with the foods we enjoy.

If you want to get started teaching your family how to eat healthier and you are the main cook I would encourage you to read this post on menu planning and begin planning your family's meals according the plate description.

If you have a nutrition question please email me at:

Also if you feel like you would like me to help you get started on a healthier eating plan email me, I would love to help !!!

1 comment:

Micah and Katie said...

I have a question. Which is better for you, regular ice cream or Dairy Queen's ice milk ice cream? Micah

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