Bok Choy, Black Beans, Bananas: A Newcomers Guide to Healthy Eating

This resource on eating well, staying healthy and living on a budget was published in the summer of 2000 after consultations with newcomer women that started in 1998.

Please note: Since this resource was first published, Canada’s Food Guide has been updated.  Please skip Section 1  “About Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating” (pages 4 – 7) and refer to the newer version of Canada’s Food Guide (released in January 2019) here: Canada’s Food Guide.

“It took a long time to create this guide. We wanted to produce a book that would be useful to newcomers in Toronto. We needed help from the women it was being developed for. We knew that not all newcomer women would have the same nutrition interests and food experiences. We wanted to find out what nutrition issues women needed to know. We also wanted to recognize and develop their ways of knowing. Therefore, we talked to as many women as we could. We involved different groups including Spanish and Portuguese-speaking and Caribbean groups. From the information gathered during the focus groups, we chose the topics the women said were the most important to them. These are the topics that make up the guide.”

Dietitian, Lesley Glazer

Here are some examples of what you’ll find in the guide:

Healthy eating for healthy weights talks about important things like accepting yourself, getting off the diet roller coaster and enjoying eating well.

Tips for healthy weights:

  • Great bodies come in all shapes and sizes.
  • Keep your body moving. Being active can help you be at a healthy weight as well as feeling your best.
  • Never skip meals. Eat breakfast everyday.
  • Listen to your body. Eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full.
  • Try to eat balanced meals and snacks that are high in fibre and low in fat.
  • If you need to lose weight, it should come off slowly. A healthy weight loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week.
  • Do not join weight loss programs. Practice exercising and healthy eating!

Healthy eating on a budget, has detailed information about planning meals, gives shopping hints for the supermarket that will save you money, and looks at best buys in different food groups like grains, dairy products, vegetables and meats.

Shopping hints for the supermarket that will save you money:

  • Do not go to the supermarket hungry. When you are hungry, you buy more food.
  • Less expensive foods are at the top or bottom of the grocery shelves. They are not always easy to see.
  • Check the cost of brand items compared to no-name items. Often these items are exactly the same product, in different packaging.
  • Check the day-old or the quick sale counter for good buys. Please use these foods right away so they do not spoil.
  • Look for weekly store specials or sales. Use coupons only for food on your shopping list. Do not buy something just because you have a coupon.
  • If the food item on special is not there, ask for a ìrain-check.î This means you can pick it up at another time at the special price.
  • Only buy what you can use. To avoid having food from going bad, store it safely.
  • Do not go to 24-hour convenience type of stores. The food costs more money and you do not have the same variety.

Food safety, covers storing food safely, safe ways to thaw food from the freezer, warning signs if food is spoiled, tips for handling and cooking foods and much more.

To stop food from going bad, you must store it properly. Follow these food storage tips to keep your food safe to eat:

  • buy only the amount of food you can store
  • avoid storing food under the sink, where it is damp and can bring bugs
  • avoid storing food over the stove, because high temperatures can cause food to go bad
  • close packages and containers tightly
  • save plastic, air-tight containers and glass jars with lids for storage
    use coffee cans and other cans with snap-on lids for storing dry ingredients
  • line cans with a clean plastic bag.

The guide has many more tips and resources as well as information about where to grocery shop in Toronto, feeding your baby, healthy lunches for kids, healthy eating for seniors, food programs, and much more.

Read the complete guide here (PDF 8.35 MB).