Shine On

Canadians’ favourite foods according to smartphone app data

Naan bread ranks number 4 according to a list of Canadians' favourite foods. (Thinkstock)Au revoir poutine, hello naan. It seems Canadians are not sticking to old culinary stereotypes, except when it comes to maple syrup. That is not going away.

Based on data from Massive Health -- a company that operates the iPhone app, Eatery -- the Huffington Post has put together a list of foods and drinks that Canadians chow down on more than people in other countries.

Topping the list? The Americano.

The remainder of the list is as follows: 2) Maple-flavoured foods, 3) Subway sandwiches, 4) Naan bread, 5) Maple syrup, 6) Ribs, 7) Raspberries, 8) Waffles, 9) Stew, 10) Muffins, 11) Flax seeds, and 12) Quinoa.

Also see: Why eating more goat meat is ethically and nutritionally sound

Along with naan, the presence of items like flax and quinoa make Canadians seem rather sophisticated. But it should be noted that the list might be a reflection of the healthy eating habits of Eatery app users, rather than an accurate representation of Canadian food tastes.

We talked with the director of Toronto's George Brown's chef school, John Higgins, to ask  his opinion on some of the foods on this list. Here is what he has to say.

Americano

Higgins has decided he may have even instigated this trend.

"In the last six months, I've had nothing but Americano," he says. "I like the flavour, and I've never been disappointed."

According to data from the Eatery app users, Canadians are over eight times more likely to order an Americano than people from other countries.

Subway sandwiches

As a chef, Higgins is predictably not a faithful Subway restaurant customer but he sees the appeal.

"It's clean, it's tidy, it's basic. And you know that you can eat something healthy," he says.

Naan bread

Higgins has been to India several times and is crazy about the flatbread.

"People travel much more than they did before," he says. "And naan is good, fresh bread."

Maple-flavoured products

Higgins has noticed maple-flavouring in many food products they aren't typically associated with. A visitor to his home recently even bought maple-flavoured yogurt, which did not appeal to him in the slightest.

Quinoa

"It's a great food, it's nutritious, it's tasty," says Higgins. "People really enjoy it."

He thinks its rise in popularity has a lot to do with the increased awareness of its nutritional value, as it is very high in protein. As well as, the move away from gluten in rice.

"You can put Quinoa with a lot of different things and it really adds flavour," he says.

Raspberries and Stew

As for raspberries and stew, he thinks their prominence in our diets has a lot to do with economics. He's seen the price of raspberries drop, and well, stewing beef is a lot cheaper than steak.

"People want to cook a lot more local things," he says. But local, antibiotic-free steaks don't come cheap.

"If you look at the meat counters, stew is usually always on for a decent price," says Higgins.

And with a slow cooker, the meat will be just as tender.

"It's healthy, it's tasty, it's local, it's efficient," he says. "And you've got one pot to clean at the end of the day."

Watch the video below about how to incorporate more whole grains, such as quinoa, into your diet.

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