Canadian Food Guide: Relevant to All?
In late January, Federal Health Minister Petitpas Taylor announced at Jean Talon Market Canada’s new Food Guide. The Guide serves to inform the public on how to achieve proper nutrition and talks about not only what we should eat, but also how we should eat it. The guide touches on different food groups, suggestions on sources of protein, and touts the many pros of cooking one’s own meals.
While this guide is helpful for many Canadian households, it fails to recognize the levels of food insecurity in Canada. Thirteen percent of Canadians are food insecure - unable to reach sufficient levels of nutrition - and the government’s suggestions of plant based protein over meat based protein and preference for home cooked meals will mean little to them. Many of these families do not have the time to cook many of their meals and certainly do not have the money to be choosy when it comes to ensuring their children are well-fed.
Several of the options promoted in the guide are more expensive than their alternatives–for instance, a burger from McDonalds is cheaper than all of the ingredients for a home-cooked curry. In order for this guide to be truly relevant, it must also address the needs of those who most need help in providing their families proper nutrition. While it does mention frozen veggies as a source of proper nutrition, it also must provide cost-efficient options for nutrition, as many of those who cannot afford proper nutrition overlap with those who are not adequately informed on nutrition.
The guide is a good step in the right direction towards improving Canadian nutrition and sustainable agricultural practices, but in order for it to fulfill its mandate, it must expand its options to encompass all socio-economic classes.