Discuss the Healthy Eating Recommendations within Canada’s food guide.
- Healthy eating is more than the foods you eat. It is also about where, when, why and how you eat.
- Be mindful of your eating habits (take time to eat and notice when you’re hungry and full).
- Cook more often.
- Enjoy your food.
- Eat meals with others.
- Make it a habit to eat a variety of foods from Canada’s food guide each day.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, whole grain foods and protein foods. Choose protein foods that come from plants more often. Choose foods with unsaturated fats instead of saturated fats.
- Limit highly processed foods by preparing food at home and using ingredients that have little to no added sodium, sugars or saturated fat. When eating out, choose menu options that emphasize foods found in Canada’s food guide and that are low in added sodium, sugars and saturated fat.
- Make water your drink of choice (limit sugary drinks).
- Use food labels.
- Be aware that food marketing can influence your food choices.
Start the Conversation: What are some ways to increase the availability of healthier food and beverage choices where we live, learn and play?
Some ideas may include…
- Increase the amount of vegetarian meals sold in the school cafeteria
- Limit the sale of sugar sweetened beverages at recreation centres and encourage the consumption of water
- Have sport teams sell non-food items during fundraisers
- As a family, make a recipe with a new vegetable or fruit once a month
Activity Idea: Have students come up with a healthy eating campaign at school to promote healthy eating habits among students and staff. Use BrightBites’s How to Run a Successful Campaign to guide students with their work plan.
Unintended Consequences of Personal Food Diaries
You might be tempted to have students complete a food diary to meet curriculum expectations. If this is an activity you choose to complete, please keep these tips in mind:
- Food diaries should only be used for personal reflection on individual eating behaviours.
- A food should not be judged solely on one criteria/nutrient (e.g., a food lower in calories may be high in sodium and contain few nutrients, a food lower in fat may be higher in sodium and sugar, a food higher in calories may be higher in fibre and healthy unsaturated fats).
- It is the overall pattern of eating that matters when it comes to health, not one individual day.
- If you are marking this assignment, mark for completion only. The content of a student’s food diary, as well as any goals, should be free of judgement.
- Goals should be specific, realistic and behaviour-based (not weight-related). Some examples could include turning off all screens at supper time, bringing a reusable water bottle to school instead of packing a sugary drink, or eating one more vegetable or fruit each day, etc.
- It is unnecessary to share goals with the class.
Note: One in six Canadian children under the age of 18 live in a food insecure household, meaning they have inadequate or insecure access to food due to financial constraints. As a result, it is not always affordable or realistic for these families to make changes to their eating behaviours.
Alternative Activity Idea
Provide all students with the same sample food diary (made up, but realistic). Ask students to create goals for this sample food diary. Share and discuss the different goals created.