Calories on Menus in Canada Explained

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Maintaining a well-balanced diet is imperative to living a healthy lifestyle. The food and drinks that you fill your body with can have a direct impact on your overall health. This is especially true for those who are on a weight loss journey. Your diet can have a direct impact on your weight loss results, especially if you’re transitioning to a healthier lifestyle.

The movement promoting healthy living has now reached a major milestone. As of January 1st, many restaurants and other food vendors throughout Ontario are required to display the number of calories for each menu item. Keep reading to learn more about this recent change and how you can use it to your advantage.

The Healthy Menu Choices Act

As of January 1st, 2017, food-service chains throughout Ontario were required to make a change regarding their menus. Each menu item must have the number of calories posted along with it. This new law is a part of the Healthy Menu Choices Act, and applies to all food-service chains throughout Ontario that have 20 locations or more.

You can expect to see calories on menus in the following establishments:

  • Fast-food
  • Restaurants
  • Coffee shops
  • Grocery stores
  • Movie theatres

The calories refer to standard food and drink items that are sold in regular sizes, served processed, and intended for immediate consumption, meaning it’s eaten right away rather than taken home and cooked later.

Healthy Menu Options

You can use this to your advantage.

If you’re having a particularly busy morning and can’t make breakfast or lunch, you might need to buy it elsewhere. The calories being displayed with the menu item gives you an insight into how nutritious or unhealthy a food or drink item might be. This way, if you have no other choice than to eat at a restaurant, at least you can make the healthiest choice possible.

This can also help change how you eat while out to dinner. Most often, you have a special favourite menu item that you usually order when you head to a certain restaurant. You might discover that your favourite meal comes at a costly price that doesn’t affect your wallet, but your daily calorie intake instead.

You may even discover that some menu items have names that sound nutritious, but really aren’t. Just because a pasta is made with whole wheat and has vegetables, might not deem it the healthiest option. Next time you spring for a Caesar salad, complete with bacon and breaded chicken – you may want to rethink your decision after you check the number of calories.

It’s important to keep in mind that this law only provides you with information regarding calories. You aren’t provided with any information regarding the amount of sugar, fibre, protein or vitamins. Just because your desired food or drink is low in calories, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a healthy option. For more information about making healthy choices in restaurants, speak with your dietician or SmartShape™ support team.

Speak with an Expert

Education is key for any effective lifestyle change. Speaking with your dietitian and SmartShape™ support team can provide you with an opportunity to learn about healthy eating. You can find out tips and tricks for eating out, like drinking lemon water instead of a sugary drink, like pop or juice.

For more information about maintaining a healthy diet and making the best choices at restaurants, speak with the SmartShape™ support team today!