Vegetarian Food Guide for Canada
Photo by Dose Juice on Unsplash

In 2019, the Canadian government updated their Canada Food Guide with changes that recommended citizens to drink more water, eat more fruit, and consume plenty of whole grains. One of the most notable changes, though, was the promotion of vegetarian and vegan foods as a way to stay healthy. In this article, we take a closer look at some of the tips, food choices, and recipes that are recommended as part of a vegetarian food guide for Canada.

Food Choices and Healthy Eating Tips

The main message of the Canada Food guide is to eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and protein foods in abundance. Additionally, plant sources are recommended as the main source of protein, and a sufficient amount of healthy fats should be consumed.

Fruits and Vegetables

Consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables is key to a healthy diet. This vegetarian food guide for Canada recommends that eating plenty of them can lower the risk of heart problems due to the high presence of fibre, minerals, and vitamins. Yet, not all forms of fruit can be eaten mindlessly – fruit juices should be replaced with water, as they are high in sugars.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are considered to be the best option within the vegetarian food guide, but frozen, canned, and dried products can also provide important health benefits.

Luckily in Canada, there are an abundance of vegan restaurants in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and all other major cities. So, fulfilling this part Canada’s vegetarian food guide should be easy if you eat out regularly.

Limit Highly Processed Foods

Highly processed foods include sugary drinks, processed meats, candies, fast foods, and many bakery products and frozen desserts. As part of this vegetarian food guide for Canada, it is important to learn which foods are highly processed so that you can limit their consumption. Avoiding these foods can greatly reduce a person’s intake of sodium, saturated fat, and sugars.

High quantities of sodium can lead to heart disease, hypertension, and severe dehydration. Excess sugar intake greatly increases a person’s risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Consuming too much saturated fat heightens the likelihood of heart health problems; saturated fats should be replaced by healthy unsaturated fats, such as those found in peanuts, seeds, olives, and soybeans.

Food Marketing and Labels

It is important to be aware of food marketing and advertising campaigns that often promote unhealthy foods containing unhealthy amounts of sugars, sodium, and saturated fats. Food marketing is prevalent throughout society and is found in social media posts, TV and radio commercials, sponsorships of events, and celebrity endorsements.

For a vegetarian food guide in Canada, it’s important to know that behavioural advertising can track an individual’s personal data and target advertisements towards them based on their age, gender, and purchasing history online. If you are responsible for another person, learning about food marketing is a skill that can help to safeguard them from making unhealthy food choices.

An important tip to take away from this Canada vegetarian food guide is that using food labels can help you circumnavigate the difficulties of food marketing and healthy eating choices. New legislation has made it easier to find the nutritional information about a product, so you can now know what’s in your food before you make a purchase. Become acquainted with nutrition facts tables so that you are aware of the different nutrients needed to comprise a healthy diet. 

Recipes

Breakfast

A vegetarian food guide for Canada wouldn’t be complete without recommending some different recipe ideas for different meals throughout the day.

For breakfast, an easy option to maximise your nutrient intake is Overnight Oats. To prepare this, simply place ½ cup of oats into a bowl with ½ cup of your favorite milk. Add a sprinkling of cinnamon and mix in some frozen berries. Leave overnight and eat in the morning. For an extra health boost, serve with plain yogurt.

For vegetarians with a savory tooth, you can make a frittata packed with green vegetables to increase your intake of greens. Gently cook some garlic, pepper, and any other green vegetables together in a non-stick pan, before adding some whisked eggs, water, seasoning, and cheese.

Lunch/Dinner

The list of vegetarian meals available for lunch and dinner is endless. For a wholesome meal, try preparing a quinoa and veggie casserole. This simple dish requires minimum preparation and is very much a leave-it-and-wait dish.

To prepare, finely chop some garlic, bell pepper, and leek. Gently heat with some Italian herb seasoning before stirring in some quinoa, vegetable broth and broccoli. Allow to cook and reduce for 15 minutes, and then place the mixture into a casserole dish before sprinkling with parsley and cheese and baking for 10 minutes.

Another way to increase your vegetable consumption is to experiment with some vegetarian Thai food. A guide to some popular Thai dishes can be found here.

FAQs

What should vegetarians eat every day?

As with all diets, the vegetarian diet should consist of a sufficient intake of vegetables and fruits, healthy fats, proteins, and whole grain foods. A varied and well-balanced diet is vital for maximising a person’s absorption of vitamins, minerals, and essential amino acids.

What can vegetarians eat?

Vegetarians predominantly eat plant-based foods that are not the by-product of animal death. Unlike vegans, however, some vegetarians do eat some animal products which manufacturing process has not resulted in the animal’s death, such as eggs, milk, and cheese.

Is a vegetarian diet healthier?

Generally, the vegetarian diet is considered healthier than a diet containing meat. Yet, some vegetarians can be unhealthier than meat-eaters if they don’t monitor their diet correctly. Not eating animal flesh doesn’t automatically qualify as being healthy, a person still needs to pursue a varied and balanced diet to ensure they are consuming the essential nutrients for optimal functioning of the body.

How many vegetarians are in Canada?

There are 2.3 million vegetarians and 850,000 vegans in Canada. The number is constantly increasing, and vegetarian food guides have increasing pertinence throughout the country. Most of Canada’s vegetarian population is aged under 35. 

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