What a great day to change your life. So where do you start?
Part One – Overhauling Your Dietary Habits
This is a huge piece to the wellness puzzle, and oh my goodness is there ever a TON of conflicting information out there. It’s impossible to be able to tell the good information from the not-so-good sometimes, especially with all the different “fad” diets, cleanses, and restrictions that affect our eating habits. The resource that is recommended by Health Canada is Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating which includes examples of what foods fit into each of four food groups. It also offers tips on how to eat optimally for your age and gender, beginning at age two (younger children should follow the advice of their family physician to ensure all health requirements are being met).
Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating also gives examples of proper portion sizes. The reality is that we could actually be over or under-eating certain foods and not even know it. Did you know that one bagel is actually two servings of grain products? That two eggs is one serving of Meat and Alternatives? That half a cup of pure fruit juice is one serving? I have personally found it helpful to have a food scale in my home. Having the visual really helped me to learn what a single portion looks like, and has helped me to ensure that myself as well as my entire family is eating a healthy and balanced diet. So much information is available just by going to:
Real change takes work, commitment, and willpower. Dietary habits are life-long habits which you have become accustomed to from a young age, and it can be difficult to learn a different eating culture. Changing small things (to start!) can help to find long-term success. A few tips that you can do to get started are:
- Choose whole grain bread products over white, it will help you feel full longer
- Increase water consumption – drink a glass of water before you eat a meal
- Choose vegetables and fruit more often than juice
- Trim visible fats from your meat and remove the skin from poultry
- Try something new! Tofu, quinoa, soy, brown rice, lentils etc. might sound bizarre to you, but you might amaze yourself with the items that you actually like!
It is important to note that that specialized diets do have a place in wellness, however if you are restricting anything from your diet (ie: dairy, gluten/wheat, sugar) My advice is to have a registered dietician or physician’s recommendation and guidance to do so safely.
Written by Cassidy Sherrington, Shawnessy YMCA
Reaching for a bag of cookies appears to be a cheap and tasty option rather than fresh produce in the moment however in the long run fresh and nutritious options are the better choice. If the produce or fresh meat section is new to you it can take some time and effort to understand your savings.
Start by pre-planning out your menu for the week. This way you can see which items are going to be used numerous times throughout the week and purchase them in bulk. For example, chicken is a very popular and familiar protein choice, if you notice you are going to use it on numerous evenings buy a case from Safeway instead of single packs. Items you only need a small amount of you can purchase tablespoons to cups from the bulk bin.
Wholesome foods keep you fueled longer. Indulge on McDonalds for lunch and you will be hungry within an hour stopping off at Tim Horton’s and digging for your wallet again, have a nutritious and balanced meal for lunch and you will be full and energetic for hours.
Worried about wasting food when you cook a big batch of something? Use your freezer, not only do you save food but you are also prepped for those days you find yourself running out and want to opt for something unhealthy you can grab it and go. You can also utilize your freezer by purchasing meat and fruits that are on sale.
Organic and nutritional baking supplies may look intimidating at first however a bag of whole wheat flour or extra virgin olive oil can last you for months. By having supplies on hand you will also be more inclined to make items such as pie crust or muffins from scratch which is cost effective and has a much higher nutritional value.
Price of Eating Clean=Priceless
Wondering what portion sizes and nutritional eating is all about? The Government of Canada makes it pretty simple to get answers to all your questions about diet and food choices on the Canada’s Food Guide webpage.
There are various different file formats of the Food Guide to download or you can email away for a hard copy to be sent to you.
Not only all that, there are also links to other resources and information available to help keep you on track with nutitional eating, like information on how to read/understand food labels.
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