OMNI applauding newly revised Canada’s Food Guide

‘I think there is potential to see some improvements in overall health of people’

Chris Weber, OMNI Health Care’s operations manager of nutrition and food service, says the organization is applauding the latest version of Canada’s Food Guide for encouraging the consumption of more plant-based proteins and eliminating processed foods, recommendations he says will help create healthier menu options in homes.

The Ontario Long-Term Care Homes Act states that long-term-care home menus “must provide for adequate nutrients, fibre and energy based on the current Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and a variety of foods each day from all food groups, including fresh seasonal foods, in keeping with the current Canada’s Food Guide.”

Weber says the revised guide will give OMNI the liberty to create menu items with healthier options that are “more suited to our long-term care population.”

“It’s pretty exciting; we are very happy with the new food guide and we are very welcoming of it,” Weber tells The OMNIway.

“I think some of the changes will be seen over time, but it does allow us a little more liberty (with menu planning).”

From a menu development standpoint, Weber says the new guide has the potential to improve the quality of life for residents and help OMNI make healthy choices for menu options. OMNI will be working closely with the residents’ councils at the organization’s long-term care homes to discuss menu planning.

The revised Canada’s Food Guide was released Jan. 22. This is the first time it has been updated since 2007. While previous food guides have focused on four food groups – meat and fish, fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, and dairy – the newest version focuses on three groups: proteins, vegetables and fruits, and whole grains.

The updated guide also recommends Canadians substitute animal products more often in favour of plant-based proteins, such as legumes, nuts and beans. The guide also recommends Canadians limit processed foods in their diets. Weber says OMNI welcomes these suggestions.

“We now know that the more plant-based foods that we consume the healthier our overall outcomes become, and there is a real emphasis (on this) with this new food guide,” Weber says.

“I think there is potential to see some improvements in overall health of people.”

Weber says OMNI is working with its dietitian network and in-home nutritional care managers to evaluate the impact of the new food guide on people living in the organization’s 18 long-term care homes.

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