'Healthy people' is all about people like you and me, as individuals, and things that we all can do to keep ourselves healthy through healthy eating. Healthy eating is fundamental to good health across the lifespan. Healthy eating can be about vitamins, minerals, and nutrients in our food that are an important part of growth and development. However, it can also be about more than just the foods you eat. It can be about the social and family connections during cooking and eating meals, the cultural connections to foods, traditions and food skills, and the emotional connection to food as well.
It is difficult to 'measure' a healthy diet. One measurement tool that is used on PEI is the Canadian Community Health Survey in collaboration with Statistics Canada. The survey is sent every 2 years and asks Islanders how many servings of fruit and vegetables they eat per day. The last survey in 2015 showed that 28.5% of Islanders eat more than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This may mean that Islanders are struggling to eat a healthy diet.
- Nutrition Recommendations
Canada’s Food Guide has been providing people in Canada with dietary guidance for decades. The most recent version of Canada’s food guide was released in 2019 and took on a new look. For the first time, there is no longer the recommendation to consume a specific number of servings from each food group. The new guidance is based on a healthy plate encouraging people to have ½ of their plate as fruit and vegetables, ¼ protein, and ¼ whole grains with water as the drink of choice on the side. The new Food Guide allows people to change the types of food they eat based on their own preferences while still being able to see how it fits into a balanced plate.
- Nutrition for Children
Feeding little people can be challenging throughout each age and stage- from infants, to toddlers, small children to teenagers. It can be difficult for a parent to know where to start.
Ellyn Satter’s ‘Division of Responsibility provides a simplified outline of how to start introducing a healthy feeding relationship between parents, children, and food. This guide for eating is being integrated into early years centers and school nutrition policies, programs, and education across the country to better enable children to develop a healthy relationship with food.
- Food Literacy
Food literacy is about having the knowledge and skills required to choose, grow, prepare, and enjoy healthy food. Reading labels and understanding front of package labeling on different foods you eat is a big part of food literacy. This information can help you to be informed about what is in your food so you can make the best choice for your physical and mental health.
Food labels are required to include the Nutrition Facts table and ingredients list, and some also contain an optional nutrition claim (e.g. a food product may have a claim indicating that the product is “high in fiber or “source of calcium). This provides consumers with information about the nutritional value of a food, which can be used to help make informed food choices.
Food Safety: We are fortunate to live in a country where we have access to some of the safest food in the world, but things can go wrong at any point along the way, and in the time that it takes for your food to make its way from the farm to your plate - food can pick up bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Understanding the proper methods for choosing, handling, and preparing food will help keep you and those around you safe.