Food

Minister of Health announces revision of the Food Guide, Healthy Eating initiatives, as part of a vision for a healthy Canada

Staying healthy is about more than visiting a doctor. It is the result of the choices we make every day. The Government of Canada is taking action to help Canadians make healthy choices for themselves and their families.

Today, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, announced that Health Canada has started a process to revise Canada’s Food Guide to reflect the latest scientific evidence on diet and health, and to better support Canadians, including Indigenous peoples, in making healthy food choices. The announcement was made at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

“Everyone can agree that eating well, staying active and living a healthy lifestyle are important to reducing the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. Our Government’s actions are aimed at ensuring positive and meaningful impacts on the overall health of Canadians for generations to come,” the Honourable Jane Philpott Minister of Health.

As part of the Food Guide revision, Health Canada today launched a consultation with Canadians, which will run to December 8, to determine how Health Canada can provide better dietary guidance that meets the needs of Canadians.

In Canada, four out of five Canadians risk developing conditions such as cancer, heart disease or Type 2 diabetes; six out of ten adults are overweight and one-third of youth are overweight or obese. Poor diet is the primary risk factor for obesity and many chronic diseases, and places a significant burden on the health of Canadians and our health care system.

This revision is part of a multi-year Healthy Eating Strategy. As part of the Strategy, Health Canada will use every tool at its disposal—legislation, regulation, guidance and education—to create conditions to support healthy eating. In addition to revising Canada’s Food Guide, the Healthy Eating Strategy outlines how Health Canada will achieve the commitments set out in the Prime Minister’s mandate letter to the Minister of Health related to sodium, trans fat, sugars, food colours, marketing to children, and the Nutrition North Program. Health Canada will continue to engage with stakeholders and experts to further refine the strategy as it moves forward.

The Healthy Eating Strategy is a component of the vision for a healthy Canada, which focuses on healthy eating, healthy living and a healthy mind.

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This simple pizza-like dish gets a tremendous amount of flavour from onions, which are cooked slowly in a small amount of bacon fat.

SARA MOULTON, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Back in the ’80s and ’90s, I used to work behind the scenes with Julia Child during her appearances on “Good Morning America.” It was my job to prepare the food she would put before the cameras.

Once, when I knew in advance that I couldn’t be there for one of her upcoming appearances, I invited a pal of mine — a culinary professional — to try out for the gig. We prepped the food as usual, and at the end of the day I thought my friend had done a dandy job. Julia flatly disagreed and said she wouldn’t hire her. I was flabbergasted. “Why not?” I asked.

“Because she sliced the onions the wrong way,” Julia replied.

Yikes! I simply hadn’t focused on how my friend sliced the onions. I didn’t think this detail was that important. But all these years later, I realize Julia was right. Exactly how you slice an onion makes a difference. So does how you cook it.

Everyone knows that chopping onions can literally bring tears to your eyes. Here’s why. When an onion’s cells are ruptured, they give off pungent sulfur fumes. The more roughly an onion is treated — such as when it is chopped with a dull knife or pulsed in a food processor — the more fumes it gives off.

There are any number of quaint folk remedies for this problem. Put a piece of bread in your mouth while you’re chopping. Do your chopping near a running faucet. And so on. None of them works.

What does work — at least when you’re chopping up a lot of onions — is wearing onion goggles. Modeled on welder’s goggles, these babies prevent the onion’s fumes from reaching your eyes. But the best everyday tactic is to chop or slice the onion quickly and with a very sharp knife. Chilling the onion for an hour or two ahead of time also is a good idea.

Having managed to blunt an onion’s ability to bring you to tears, let’s turn to the correct way to slice one, a la Julia. Lengthwise, not crosswise, is the way to roll. Cutting an onion in half through the root end and then slicing it from stem to stern stimulates far fewer sulfur fumes. These lengthwise slices also happen to hold together much better than crosscut slices, precisely because you’ve sliced with the grain instead of against it. This is especially important for a dish like onion soup, when you want the slices to maintain their shape.

Finally, we come to how to cook an onion, which affects not just the flavour of the onion, but of the whole dish. If you throw it into a hot pan and quickly saute it over high heat, the onion and the dish it’s added to will be bland. If you do it slowly over low heat, you’ll maximize the onion’s flavour.

All of these tips apply to making my Alsatian onion pie. The French call it tarte flambee. The Germans call it Flammkuchen. It strikes me as more like a pizza than anything else. I tasted it for the first time on a river cruise in France a couple years ago, and I was really knocked out by its combination of simplicity and big flavour. Accompanied by a fresh salad, this treat would make the perfect light supper for the beginning of spring.

ALSATIAN ONION PIE
Start to finish: 1 hour 15 minutes

6 oz bacon, thinly sliced crosswise
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onion
kosher salt and ground black pepper
8 oz creme fraiche
1 large egg yolk
pinch nutmeg
1 1/2-lb ball purchased pizza dough, room temperature
3 oz coarsely grated Gruyere cheese

1. In a large skillet over medium, cook the bacon, stirring, until it starts to brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain and pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat from the skillet. Return the skillet to medium heat and add the onions. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove the cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden, about another 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
2. Heat the oven to 500°F. Arrange one of the oven racks on the oven’s bottom shelf.
3. In a small bowl, stir together the creme fraiche, egg yolk, nutmeg and a pinch each of salt and pepper.
4. Divide the dough into 3 even pieces. On a lightly oiled surface, roll out each piece into a 10-by-12-inch rectangle about 1/8-inch thick. Transfer each to a 15-by-17-inch sheet of kitchen parchment. The dough may shrink and lose its shape. If so, roll it again on the parchment.
5. One at a time, transfer each piece of parchment and dough to a bak sheet (unless your oven can fit 2 sheets on one shelf, you’ll need to bake these one at a time). Spread a third of the creme fraiche mixture over the piece of dough on the baking sheet, then top with a third of the onions and bacon. Sprinkle with a third of the cheese, then bake on the oven’s lower shelf for 10 minutes, or until the crust is crisp. Repeat with remaining dough and toppings. Serve right away.
makes three 10- to 12-inch pizzas

Nutrition information per half pizza: 640 calories; 310 calories from fat (48 per cent of total calories); 35 g fat (16 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 120 mg cholesterol; 1260 mg sodium; 60 g carbohydrate; 4 g fibre; 6 g sugar; 17 g protein.

Associated Press

Kathleen Elkins, Business Insider

A simple way to trim your grocery bill is to buy less meat. “Try substituting beans and wheat berries for meat in your favorite recipes,” Wagasky suggests. “Enchiladas, spaghetti, and casseroles taste just as good with the meat omitted.”

If you have a harder time parting ways with your meat, start by establishing one meatless day a week. Eliminating meat just once or twice a week can make a significant difference in your grocery bill.

Go generic

Go generic whenever possible. It will save you money.

“There are some things my husband and I have learned truly taste the same as the name brand, while others can’t compare,” Wagasky writes. “The only way to know if you’ll like a product is to try it.”

Her pro-tip when shopping for generics: “Make sure to look up and down the shelves of food. Most grocery stores put the name brand items at eye level. They want that to be what the consumer focuses on. Generic brands are usually on the bottom shelf or the top shelf, so keep those eyes open.”

Stock up seasonally

Sometimes, when you buy is more important than where you buy.

“Buying seasonally is a great way to save and build up a stockpile,” Wagasky writes. “Each month grocery stores offer certain sales on items.”

For example, in the summer, barbecue items will be at rock-bottom prices, making it the perfect time to stock up on chips, crackers, ketchup, relish, mayo, and mustard.

Along the same lines, seasonal fruits and vegetables are cheaper, and they also taste better.

Eat produce in order

Flickr / Jamie McCaffrey/Business Insider

Produce can be tricky to shop for, as their expiration dates are not very forgiving. To make fruits and veggies last significantly longer, eat them in order, starting with the things that will go bad the soonest.

Here’s Wagasky’s guide:

First: bananas, berries, cherries, kiwis, avocado, spinach, lettuce, and grapes

Second: tomatoes, mango, peaches, pears, melon, apricots, and zucchini

Third: cucumbers, pineapple, and pomegranates

Last: carrots, potatoes, celery, apples, grapefruit, and oranges

Go homemade

Thinkstock

“Over the years, I have learned that the more we can make at home, the better off our grocery budget will be,” Wagasky writes. “In our home, we try to make as much from scratch as possible.”

One item she’s saved significantly on by going homemade is bread, a staple in her household: “If I were to buy bread from the store, I would be paying over three dollars per loaf. Thirty-six dollars a month is a hefty fee to pay for something I can make in minutes for one-third the cost.”

Wagasky also chooses to make homemade granola bars and trail mix rather than spending on prepackaged snacks, which tend to be pricey and unhealthy.

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(NC) Each season boasts unique flavours and ingredients. The fall harvest, in particular, is known for apples, and Canada is known for its multitude of varieties – from sweet to tart. Each type of apple offers a distinct taste and characteristic, especially when it comes to cooking. If you don’t have apples on hand, substitute an apple beverage in your cooking, such as Molson’s new Mad Jack apple lager, which is another easy way to bring this sweet, crisp flavour to life.