I have mixed emotions about the new Canada Food Guide. For example, notable items missing are Coke, Big Macs and Mars bars.
The first Canada Food Guide came out in 1942. It was called Official Food Rules. It was affected by the Second World War and the fact people didn’t have a lot money back then.
Here is what the guide recommended:
Milk: Adults — ½ pint. Children — more than one pint. And some cheese as available;
Fruits: One serving of tomatoes daily, or of a citrus fruit, or of tomato or citrus fruit juices, and one serving of other fruits, fresh, canned or dried;
Vegetables: (In addition to potatoes of which you need one serving daily), two servings daily of vegetables, preferably leafy green or yellow and frequently raw;
Cereals and breads: one serving of a whole grain cereal and four to six slices of Canada Approved Bread, brown or white;
Meat, fish: One serving a day of meat, fish, or meat substitutes. Liver, heart or kidney once a week;
Eggs: at least three or four eggs weekly.
Tomatoes and potatoes were big in this one.
The food guide was altered a bit in 1944 and again in 1949. In 1949, the food guide included a daily meal planner.
Breakfast could include citrus fruits, cereal, bread and eggs (“if desired”). There was no such thing as too much milk in those days.
It was recommended that lunch consist of cheese, eggs or other protein food, as well as bread and a vegetable. Where was the bologna?
For dinner, meat, fish or poultry, potatoes and another vegetable, bread, fruit or a fruit dessert and milk, of course, were recommended.
My family followed that guide, whether we knew it or not, in the 1960s.
I remember one meal that consisted of mashed potatoes, peas and liver. That was three strikes for me. I liked my potatoes and peas raw. And liver is liver. It still makes me cringe.
My father was one of those “you aren’t leaving the table until it’s done” parents. I would have spent hours more at the table than I did, had it not been for my dog. Without him, I might still be sitting there.
The best thing about the 1961 food guide was liver had gone from frequently to occasionally.
In 1977, fruits and vegetables were combined into one group. Can you imagine how many committee meetings it must have taken to make that change?
Milk was still big, with between two and four servings suggested, depending on your age and pregnancy test. Yogurt, cheddar and cottage cheese were in the mix. (Note: it would be another 30 or so years before yogurt stores appeared on every corner. They were replaced by cupcake stores and many of them were replaced by For Lease signs.)
Two servings of meat were recommended. Lean meat, poultry and fish were on the list. As was liver; it had staying power. Other notable items in the guide were peanut butter, dried peas, beans and lentils, and nuts or seeds.
On the bread side, whole grain was recommended. Rice, macaroni and spaghetti made the cut. I liked this food guide more than those that came before it.
A few new items made their way into the 1992 guide. I hadn’t seen bagels, pitas and canned fish mentioned prior to this. And tofu appeared on the list. This guide was another pretty good one.
In the 2007 guide, vegetables and fruits were again singled out for their importance in our eating lives. Dairy products became known as milk products and alternatives, including fortified soy beverage. The writing was on the wall for milk.
Here we are 12 years later, with a new food guide. It encourages us to eat veggies, fruits, whole grains and plant-based proteins, such as nuts, tofu and legumes.
Milk and dairy products have all but been given the boot from the list. Now, it’s all about drinking water.
Meats are treated, as Donald Trump would say, “very poorly. It’s a fake food guide.”
Every food guide has a common sense approach.
If I combined my favourite “foods” into a day, it would begin with bacon and poached eggs. Lunch would be served at McDonald’s, while dinner would likely come from a pizza place. A late-night snack would be something chocolate. I don’t recall ever having my dream food day.
More in reality, a typical day begins with cereal, toast and juice. Lately, lunch is bringing a sandwich from home and adding McDonald’s fries. Dinner is often a pasta or stir fry and vegetables, and we eat a lot of chicken.
Here is something I think you should know before I sign off: Among the
vegetables I like are Brussels sprouts.