March is National Nutrition Month and a great time to start making positive changes to your diet. As a doctor, I’ve seen first-hand how a healthy diet is an essential part of healthy living.
National Nutrition Month is an annual campaign by the Dietitians of Canada that reminds Canadians about the importance of healthy eating and the impact that food can have on our overall health. This year’s theme is “Take a 100 meal journey. Make small changes, one meal at a time.” The underlying message is that eating well doesn’t have to be hard. Making small, gradual changes to your meals can make it easier for you to choose and enjoy healthier foods.
Since the 1930s, Health Canada has provided national leadership on nutrition. The Department’s policies define healthy eating and promote environments that support Canadians in making healthy food choices. As Minister of Health, I am committed to ensuring that federal guidance and regulations on food are based on the best available science and protect the health of Canadians. For example, I will be introducing new restrictions on marketing unhealthy foods and beverages to children. I am also committed to taking action to eliminate trans fats and reduce salt in processed foods, as well as provide Canadians with more information on food labels so that everyone is aware of added sugars and artificial dyes in processed foods.
It’s important to remember that every bit counts. For at least one meal each day, aim to fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit. Use the Eat Well Plate to help you to follow Canada’s Food Guide when planning, preparing and serving meals. It shows proportions for the types of food to choose more often and encourages you to eat more vegetables and fruit. See how easy it is to make a difference.
Since physical activity is also an important part of a healthy lifestyle, visit the Public Health Agency of Canada’s website for tips on how to get active in your day-to-day life. Through our Multi-Sectoral Partnership Approach to Healthy Living and Chronic Disease Prevention, the Agency invests $20 million per year in projects across Canada that focus on addressing common risk factors to chronic disease, including unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, and smoking.
In the spirit of National Nutrition Month, I encourage all Canadians to make small and healthy changes to their diets in the days ahead.
The Honourable Jane Philpott, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Health