5 Simple Tips to Incorporate Healthy Eating Habits

National Nutrition Month!

It’s National Nutrition Month here in Canada, so I thought I would take this opportunity to share some simple ideas on how you and your family can participate. Making small changes can have a big impact on how you and your family feel.

1. Eat Breakfast

Most of us have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but may not know why. By having a balanced breakfast, we get much needed nutrients to help energize us for the day, as well it can help kick-start our metabolism, plus prevent over eating later in the day. While cereal foods are handy, a heavy carbohydrate meal can be tranquilizing, making it difficult to stay awake and to keep focus during the morning. Having a protein based breakfast will help fight off hunger, keep us alert, and prevents mindless snacking. You could try making a healthy frittata on the weekend, storing it in containers in individual serving sizes, reheat it or eat it cold. You could also make smoothies. Smoothies are a great way to sneak in some vegetables for children. I always add spinach to mine, and you would never know. Many blender blades fit on glass jars. I like to plan my breakfast smoothies in advance. I’ll put the wet foods at the bottom of a jar, starting with plain organic yogurt, then fruit such as berries and sliced mango, placing the spinach on top. In the morning I just need to add water. For a delicious smoothie recipe, please follow this link: Avocado Power Smoothie

2. Drink Water

Keeping hydrated is essential for good health. Soda and fruit juices are packed with sugar and chemicals, that can actually deplete us of nutrients. Water is best. To ensure you’re getting enough water, divide your weight by 2, and that number is how many ounces you should be drinking daily. This means if you weigh 120 lbs., you should be getting 60 ounces of water. There are approximately 32 ounces in a litre, so this works out to 2 litres of water a day. That might sound like a lot, but it’s really not. That’s only 4 of those 500 ml bottles. Find water boring on its own? Try adding a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber to your glass. A few fresh raspberries can sweeten it up, or get really creative and add some fresh herbs, such as mint or basil, with grated ginger.

3. Meal Planning and Grocery Shopping

Planning meals for the week can help ensure you have nutritious meals, it can also help you save money. Breakfast and dinner seem to be the most challenging meals. I have given a couple of suggestions for breakfast, now let’s figure out dinner. After working all day, the idea of having to come up with something to feed yourself and your family can be exhausting. The temptation to pick up fast food on your way home, or order in a pizza can be overwhelming. This is why planning ahead is so important. You want to make sure the meals you plan are healthy yet easy and quick to prepare. If you can make time on the weekend to chop vegetables you’ll be using, or marinate meats, this can save time when you come home. You want your meals to be a rainbow of colours, packed with vegetables and healthy proteins. A green salad goes with just about any meal. You can wash and tear up lettuce in advance, then place it in a food storage container with a clean tea towel. The tea towel will absorb any moisture, keeping the lettuce fresh for several days. Pyrex has glass dishes that can go from refrigerator to oven, so you can prepare dishes in advance, place them in the glass Pyrex baking dish, cover and refrigerate. When you get home from work, you just have to heat up the oven, uncover the Pyrex dish and place in the oven. Be sure you’re buying the Pyrex dishes that can go from cold to hot. You can find free meal planning templates online which can make planning faster. When writing out your grocery list, group everything into categories, that way when you’re in the fruits and vegetables section of the store, for example, what you need is all organized in one spot on your list. When you're in a grocery store, stick to the outer walls. The outer walls are where you'll find the fruits and vegetables, fresh fish, chicken and other meats, eggs, and dairy products. The middle aisles are where all the heavily processed and refined foods are. Take advantage of all the farmer's markets. Eating locally is good for you and the environment. If you’re still finding planning dinners a daunting task, I offer a Dinner Planning Service. Please visit this link for more information: Dinner Planning

4. Reading Food Labels:

I cannot stress enough how important it is to carefully read ingredient lists on food labels. One term really ticks me off. Natural Flavour. This is a brilliant umbrella term the food industry uses to cover up what is usually a long list of chemicals. Here is the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations exact definition from the Code of Federal Regulations:

“The term natural flavor or natural flavoring means the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.”

There is nothing natural in natural flavours! For example, natural strawberry flavour is made up of over 30 chemicals.

When reading a food label, if you aren't sure what an ingredient is, you can try a google search in your phone, or leave the item at the store, until you can investigate further.

5. Start your day with a glass of warm water containing the juice of half a lemon

  1. Aids Digestion. It encourages the liver to produce bile which is an acid that is required for digestion.

  2. Cleanses Your System. Lemon juice helps flush out unwanted toxins. Aids in detoxification of the liver.

  3. Boosts Your Immune System. Lemons are high in vitamin C, which is great for fighting colds.

  4. Clears Skin. The vitamin C content helps decrease wrinkles, reduces fine lines and blemishes.

  5. Freshens Breath. Besides fresher breath, lemons have been known to help relieve tooth pain and gingivitis. Be aware that citric acid can erode tooth enamel, so you should be mindful of this. Don't brush your teeth right after drinking lemon water. It is best to brush your teeth first, then drink your lemon water.

  6. Aids in Weight Loss. Lemon water can help kick-start your metabolism for the day.

To fully receive the benefits of the lemon water, wait 15 to 30 minutes before enjoying a nutrient dense breakfast.

The information contained here is for educational & informational purposes only and is not meant to replace medical advice or to diagnose, prescribe, or treat any condition or illness.

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