Oh Canada (Part 1 of 2): Putting our food guide to the test

Our home and native land has much to offer for our well being – health care, mountain air, maple syrup and the Canada Food Guide. Yep, remember that chart tacked to the wall of your public school health room? It’s still a great reference to guide your food choices in adulthood and post-pregnancy. Or is it?

I made a major lifestyle change in 2008. I totally committed to eating better and being more active. The results were amazing (see  About page for more). Friends saw the changes in my body and would ask about my diet. Atkins? Zone? Bernstein? Nope, Canada  Food Guide! It worked once. Maybe old faithful can help guide me back into my pre-pregnancy jeans again.

The guide is really simple. It’s just about eating balanced meals with selections from each of the four food groups. That’s what I did. Note chocolate, coffee and alcohol are not recognized groups.

What I didn’t do however, was count the specific number of recommended servings from each group. Five of this, seven of that, four of another. Somehow it seems like a lot of food to consume in a day. Yes, even for me who normally eats several times a day. Is it really practical? Moreover, is it practical for a nursing mom who some days can’t  find time to shower let alone prepare a nutritious meal? Who came up with this thing and did they ever have a 3 month old on their hands?

This is part one of my investigation. Ooo, sounds so journalistic. Below is a summary of the food guide recommendation for breastfeeding women. I’ve also included a potential days menu, according to the guide. I’m putting it to the test for one day. In part two, I’ll let you know how I do and what I think of Health Canada’s suggestions.

Recommended Number of Food Guide Servings Per Day for Breastfeeding Women

7-8 Fruits & Vegetables

6-7 Grain Products

2 Milk & Alternatives

2 Meat & Alternatives

+ an extra 2-3 servings from any group and one multivitamin

+ 2-3 tbsp Oil & Fats

Potential Daily Menu


  • 3/4 cup oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 1 multivitamin


  • 1 cup fortified soy beverage
  • 1 banana


  • 1 tortilla
  • 2 1/2 oz. chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 1/2 cup avocado


  • 1 apple
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 bagel
  • 1 1/2 oz. cheese


  • 2 1/2 oz. fish
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup raw salad
  • 1 tbsp olive oil


  • 1/2 cup frozen berries
  • 3/4 cup kefir

Will I find time to prepare each meal and snack? Will I feel overfed, satisfied, or hungry? Do I think it can be sustained over time? Will I see a change in my milk supply? Will baby notice the lack of caffeine and sugar in my milk, LOL.

Let the games begin! Check “Oh Canada (Part 2 of 2)” for my results.


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Filed under Nutrition, Series

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