Health tipsMay 2017

Starting fresh for spring with healthier eating

These days, we’ve all got a lot on our minds—for example, thinking about paying bills on time, or making sure the kids are up and ready for school. But many of us never actually stop and make a conscious effort to think about what’s on our dinner plates.

Nutritious meals that fuel our bodies—as well as our minds—are something we should be paying attention to. Even though healthy eating is something that many of us try to achieve, we don’t usually make it a daily priority.

That’s a shame, because the benefits can have a lasting impact on our longevity and overall well-being. Aside from helping us to maintain a healthy weight and avoid certain health problems, a proper diet can even contribute to nourishing our brain and stabilizing our moods.

While going to the drive-through for a cheeseburger after work might seem like an easier option for dinner, doing this on a continual basis can lead to obesity, high cholesterol and malnutrition. A poor diet can even harm you on a cellular level.

“The best way to eat healthily is to choose whole, unprocessed foods as your staple,” advises Donna Schafer, Chief of Clinical Nutrition for the CIUSSS West-Central Montreal. “That means choosing fruits and vegetables, whole grains that are packed with fibre,  lean proteins,  natural nuts and  legumes. These unrefined, whole foods and beverages provide your body with key nutrients for proper functioning.

“In addition, watching your portion size and making regular physical activity part of your routine will help you maintain a healthy weight, keep you fit and optimize your well-being.”

According to Canada’s Food Guide, here’s what an adult between the ages of 19 and 50 should be eating every day:

  • seven to eight servings of vegetables and fruit
  • six to seven servings of grain products
  • two servings of milk or non-dairy alternatives
  • two servings of meat or protein alternatives

Trying to eat right with a busy lifestyle can be hard, but isn’t impossible. A suggestion: prepare your meals in advance. You’ll save time during the week, more easily keep track of what you’ve been eating, and be less likely to reach for ready-to-eat, prepared foods.

Eating healthy fats, like avocado and nuts, and protein-packed, nutrient-dense foods can also keep you feel satisfied longer and keep you from reaching for unhealthy snacks. If you’re up for a healthy eating challenge, try filling your plate with as many different coloured foods as you can find.

Finally, stay away from sugary drinks like soda pop and juices; instead, drink water. Not only does added sugar provides unnecessary calories, it’s associated with health-related problems, can keep you from falling asleep and may cause mood swings. So consume it in moderation and try to drink eight cups of a water a day to keep yourself hydrated and improve your complexion.

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