There are four food groups in Canada's Food Guide: Vegetables and Fruit, Grain Products, Milk and Alternatives, and Meat and Alternatives. Good nutrition means choosing a variety of foods from all four food groups every day. Canada's Food Guide shows which foods are healthy and how many servings' kids and adults should have every day.
In the Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS) in 2004, over 35,000 Canadians were asked what they ate in a 24 hour period. The results showed that on average Canadians ate healthy food.However, the CCHS found that about half of Canadian adults did not eat enough vegetables and fruit for best health.
In 2009, a similar survey was done by the Dairy Farmers of Canada and Dietitians of Canada. This survey showed that many Canadians chose food from only three of the four food groups, missing an entire food group.Vegetables and Fruit and Milk and Alternatives were the two food groups that were missed most often. Foods from the Grain Products and Meat and Alternatives groups were also not always included daily. Although many adults ate food from all four food groups, some adults were not getting the recommended number of servings from the food groups.
When looking at the two surveys it seems that some Canadian adults are not always selecting foods from all four food groups every day.There were a couple of reasons given as to why adults did not eat from all four food groups. Some said that they did not know how important some of the food in Canada's Food Guide is for good health. Others stated that they did not know that they needed to include all of the four food groups in their diet.
All of the foods in Canada's Food Guide are a part of a healthy diet and are needed by our bodies. For example, many of the vegetables and fruit we eat may help prevent some cancers and can lower the risk of heart disease. Whole grains may also lower the risk of heart disease. Having Milk and Alternatives will keep our bones healthy. One of the nutrients that the Meat and Alternatives group gives us is protein. Protein is used to build and repair cells.
Visit www.healthcanada.gc.ca/foodguide for more information on Canada's Food Guide or to build your own food guide by choosing the foods that you like to eat from each of the four food groups.Good information on many nutrition topics can also be found at www.dietitians.ca, including fact sheets and articles.
Written by the Public Healthy Nutritionists of Saskatchewan and supported by Public Health, Sunrise Health Region.
If you have any comments or questions please contact: Heather Torrie, Public Health Nutritionist, Sunrise Health Region, 150 Independent Street, Yorkton, Sask. S3N 0S7 or phone: 786-0600.