Follow these 7 simple steps and start making healthier food choices.
STEP 1: START YOUR DAY OFF RIGHT
Even if you are running late in the morning, skipping breakfast is not a good way to save time. You’ll find yourself starving later on during the day and more likely to choose unhealthy foods. The night before, plan and pack a nutritious, healthy breakfast that you’ll eat on your way to work or once you get there. Greek yogurt and fresh berries or high-protein shakes are good examples of fast and filling choices.
STEP 2: FIND HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES TO JUNK FOOD
To avoid getting so hungry that you’ll grab the closest chocolate bar, make sure you’ve planned a nutritious snack that gives your body the nutrients it needs. Combos such as hummus and carrots, almonds and grapes or low-fat yogurt and fruit are easy ways to enjoy a healthy protein- and fibre-packed snack.
STEP 3: BUY LOCAL AND SEASONAL
If you eat seasonal produce that's grown close to home, you’ll enjoy better flavour, get more nutrients, and save money. Contrary to what you might think, seasonal doesn’t just mean summer! You can easily find in-season produce year-round. For a complete list, check out these seasonal produce guides from across Canada: Atlantic, Ontario, Quebec and Western Canada.
- Summer is the perfect time for a fresh-picked salad, cherries, berries, sweet summer peas, peaches, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc.
- Fall is for grapes, apples and pears, plus squash, cabbage and pumpkin, and your last chance for tomatoes and corn. Late fall brings fresh cranberries and root vegetables like carrots and beets.
- Winter is a time to take advantage of fruits and vegetables that store well such as apples, cabbage, carrots and potatoes. Apples taste great in crisps, while the others make delicious soups and stews.
STEP 4: GO FOR WHOLE GRAINS
A diet rich in whole grains is heart healthy. Whole wheat, whole oats or oatmeal, pot barley and bulgur provide more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients than refined grains. Choose whole grain cereal and bread. Add barley, lentils, whole grain pasta or brown rice to evening soups and stews.
STEP 5: LOAD UP ON VEGETABLES AND FRUIT
Vegetables and fruit are packed with nutrients and fibre. Aim for at least 1 green vegetable and 1 orange fruit every day. Sprinkle berries over whole grain cereal at breakfast, pack fruits and veggies with your lunch, and fill half your plate with vegetables or a salad at dinner. Easy!
STEP 6: GO LEAN WITH PROTEIN
Choose lean meat and cook it with little or no added fat. Try vegetarian meals such as lentils with rice, omelettes or tofu burgers. Keep boiled eggs handy for quick and filling snacks. Sprinkle seeds on stir-fries and salads or enjoy a handful of nuts for a protein-filled snack.
STEP 7: GOOD FAT ONLY
Diets high in saturated and trans fat are linked to heart disease. However, you can eat about 2-3 tablespoons a day of good fats found in foods like avocados, nuts and seeds, olive or canola oil, and flaxseed.
You should also try to eat at least 2 servings a week of omega-3-rich foods, including fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and trout. Here are other tips to reduce your fat intake:
- Replace the oil with flavoured vinegar or lemon juice in dressings
- Use a small amount of mashed avocado on sandwiches instead of butter or mayonnaise
- Herbs and spices can season your food without fat
- Use canola or olive oil instead of butter for sautéing
Top 5 reasons to eat healthy
- 1. Helps control your weight
- 2. Reduces the risk of heart disease
- 3. Controls fluctuations in blood sugar
- 4. Promotes brain health
- 5. Helps prevent the bone loss associated with osteoporosis
For more on this topic, visit:
Health Canada: Seasonal tips for healthy eating
The Globe and Mail: Miss summer’s fresh produce?
The Personal refers to The Personal General Insurance Inc. in Quebec and The Personal Insurance Company in all other provinces and territories.
The information and advice in this article are provided for informational purposes only. The Personal shall not be liable for any damages arising from any reliance upon such information or advice. The Personal recommends using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, expert advice.