NL Good Food Challenge: Canada's Food Guide Started As A Nutrition Campaign During World War II

GFC-foodguide500 On November 11th we looked back at the fascinating wartime origins of Canada's Food Guide.

During the Second World War, the Canadian government needed to be able to feed Canada's soldiers and allies, so food needed to be rationed at home. Many countries relied on food exports from Canada at the time, and food was considered a "weapon of war". Many victory gardens—both home and community gardens—were created by patriotic Canadians to lessen reliance on the national food system.

Also, as they evaluated people applying to join the military, the Canadian government noticed a surprising number of people were suffering from vitamin and mineral deficiencies. They launched an awareness campaign that would years late become Canada's Food Guide.

From Wartime Canada:

"Starting with the creation of a federal Nutrition Services Division in 1941 and the launch of the Canadian Nutrition Program the following year, Canadians were inundated with nutrition advice during the war years. At the heart of this campaign was Canada’s Official Food Rules – the precursor to the contemporary Canada’s Food Guide – which, essentially, listed the six food groups required to maintain a healthy diet: milk, cereals and breads, fruits, vegetables, eggs and, finally, 'meat, fish, etc.' As the slogan of the Food Rules reminded Canadians, the goal was straightforward: 'Eat right, feel right – Canada needs you strong!' Or, as one headline in Saturday Night put it more bluntly, 'Canada’s Faulty Diet is Adolf Hitler’s Ally.'"

For more information: A 1943 Canadian propaganda film promoting community gardening. (Don’t be a wet blanket!)

Health Canada has documented the development of Canada's Food Guide to where it is today - check out the previous editions here: