Canada's food guide

Cultures, food traditions and healthy eating

Cultures and food traditions can be a part of healthy eating. Choose healthy foods that reflect cultures and food traditions.

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Benefits of including cultures and food traditions as a part of healthy eating

Part of the enjoyment of eating is choosing healthy foods that reflect your preferences. Your preferences and eating habits can be shaped by many things, including cultures and food traditions.

Cultures and food traditions can influence:

  • how you eat
  • what you eat
  • when you eat
  • where you get food
  • how you prepare food

Including cultures and food traditions as part of healthy eating can help you:

  • choose foods that you enjoy
  • grow your skills and knowledge
  • learn about cultures and food traditions
  • create a sense of community and foster connections
  • keep your cultural roots and food traditions alive by sharing them across generations and with others

In many cultures, food and food traditions:

  • are central in celebrations
  • play a big part in connecting us to others

Healthy food choices and eating habits can vary widely:

  • around the world
  • between and within cultures

Healthy eating can:

  • be adaptable
  • reflect various cultures and food traditions

How to include cultures and food traditions in healthy eating

Try these ideas to include cultures and food traditions:

  • Attend a community event that celebrates with cultural food.
  • Grow, harvest, fish, hunt and prepare food in traditional ways.
  • Choose recipes that explore different ways to prepare and cook foods.
  • Shop in places that sell the ingredients you need to make traditional foods.
  • Talk with others about where the foods you eat come from and where you get them.
  • Preserve and share family recipes. Recipes and food traditions are a part of family history.
  • Host a potluck where everyone brings a traditional dish and recipe from their family background. Spend time sharing the meaning of these foods.
  • Celebrate occasions and special holidays with cultural food traditions. These are a chance to:
    • learn about different foods around the world
    • promote a wider variety of healthy food choices
    • pass along food traditions and cultural awareness

Visit the Food guide for life for tips to:

  • Involve kids
  • Improve food skills

Further reading

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