9 ways to eat healthy every day

August 1, 2023

Making healthy food choices each day can be really difficult. When you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, temptation is always right around the corner — or just on the kitchen counter!

And while there are countless fad diets you can try to help keep you on track, finding ways to make healthier food choices every day is the best way forward.

So how can you make healthier food choices each day? Work on eating a more balanced diet that focuses on your overall patterns of eating.

Known as “the total diet approach”, this idea teaches that all foods can fit into a balanced meal plan if eaten in moderation. Of course, sticking to healthy portion sizes and getting enough physical activity each day are fundamental to the success of this approach. 

Here are some simple ways to improve your overall eating patterns.

 

Tips to take up a 'total diet approach'

 

1. Mix it up

According to Canada’s dietary guidelines, one of the best ways to achieve nutritional balance is to enjoy a variety of foods. Each basic food group — vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and protein (including dairy) — supplies different nutrients which are essential for the normal and healthy functioning of our bodies. That is why it is important to include a mix of all four categories throughout your day. 

2. Bite down on breakfast

No, coffee alone doesn't count! Kick-starting your day with a healthy breakfast (like poached or scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast, mushrooms and tomatoes, or oats with fresh fruit and dairy) will give you the energy to get going. Research shows that eating breakfast every morning may help you control your weight and may be beneficial for cardiovascular health.

3. Chew on a rainbow

Veggies and fruit are filled with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. The Canada Food Guide recommends adults eat 7 to 10 servings a day to help ensure you meet your nutritional needs. And remember you can incorporate fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables and fruits into your diet — they all count towards your 7-10 servings. Look for canned and frozen vegetables or fruits with no added sugar or sodium.

4. Portion caution

Stick to recommended serving sizes. Using smaller plates and bowls can help keep your portions under control. Remember to drink water and eat slowly so you don't go back for seconds before you realize you're actually full.

5. Move more

Enough regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. Physical activity is also key to staying healthy because it lowers blood pressure and helps to relieve stress and anxiety. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise 5 days a week.

6. Pack snacks

Keeping healthy snacks on hand can keep your energy levels up between meals, and keep you from turning to a quick food-fix when you’re in a rush. Try a handful of unsalted nuts, a piece of fresh fruit, or an easy-to-grab hummus and whole wheat cracker combo. 

7. Be a label junkie

Knowing which types of fats should be avoided, and how much sodium or sugar per serving is too much, can help you buy and prepare healthy meals. A dietitian can help you read and understand food labels so you can make smarter choices quickly when you shop for groceries. Or you can turn to Health Canada’s in-depth breakdown of how to use food labels effectively. 

8. Home bakes

Cooking and eating at home means you know exactly what goes into your food. And when you are cooking for yourself, you tend to cook healthier options. Even if you’re cooking the same dish, you tend to go easier on the butter and cheese because to paraphrase Anthony Bourdain, chefs don’t care about your health, just your tastebuds!  

9. Pack your lunch

Packing your own workday lunches means fewer impulse purchases, plus it's easier on your pocket. And just like tip #8, if you’re packing a meal you made, you can rest assured that it is healthier than the fast food alternative you otherwise would have eaten.

Start with one simple change today to make healthy eating a part of your life forever.

Please always check with a medical professional to ensure these strategies are right for you.

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