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 healthy foods each day.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, whole grain foods and protein foods (ones that come from plants more often). Choose foods with healthy fats instead of saturated fat.
- Limit highly processed foods (prepare food at home with ingredients that have little to no added sodium, sugars or saturated fat, and choose healthier menu options when eating out).
- Make water your drink of choice (limit sugary drinks).
- Use food labels.
- Be aware that food marketing can influence your food choices.
Start a Conversation: Identify some tips to help you make healthier choices at restaurants.
- Use Canada’s food guide as a starting point (e.g., include plenty of vegetables and fruit, with a smaller amount of whole grain foods and protein foods, and tap water to drink)
- Look for nutrition information (you may need to ask if it is available). Be aware that added condiments or toppings are not always incorporated into the values found in a restaurant’s nutrition information.
- Look for healthier vs. less healthy cooking methods (e.g., deep frying vs. grilled).
- Be aware of portion sizes.
Activity Idea: Have students brainstorm ways to increase the availability of healthier food and beverage choices where they live, learn and play. If possible, have students implement their ideas.
Activity Idea: Have students come up with a plan to open a food premise (e.g., canteen, restaurant, cafeteria, food truck), including the creation of a name, floor plan, menu, advertising and promotion. Encourage students to use Canada’s food guide when creating their menus.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.