Do you need some helpful tips to successfully implement healthy dietary habits? Are you worried that it is too difficult to achieve? Well, this is not so! Here are some of my expert tips which I hope will prove that healthy does not have to be hard…and honestly, it’s not!
Keep it simple. Start by following guidelines like those in the DASH diet2 (similar to the Mediterranean lifestyle) or, if you prefer, you can also follow the Canada’s Food Guide1. Make sure to consume all the portions listed in the guide’s recommendations.
Plan out your day in advance. You can simplify this task by remembering what is defined as a healthy plate model: ¼ plate of grain products (size of 1 fist, approx. 1 cup), ¼ plate of meat or substitutes (size of a deck of cards, approximately 2.5-3oz) and ½ plate of vegetables being mindful to consume moderate amounts of fat and to respect the quantity listed in the food guide. Complete your daily requirements by adding 2 healthy snacks, such as 1 medium fruit+1 low-fat dairy product, which may aid in delaying hunger, in encouraging the intake of nutritionally dense foods and in meeting daily nutrition requirements.
Organize your plate. If you are worried about overeating calorie-dense foods, start eating your vegetables then work your way to the starch/grain products and finally to the meat & meat substitutes. Still hungry? You can double up on the vegetables which are low calorie but nutrient dense!
Quantity and quality are important. Remember that quality is important but so is portion size. It is important to remember that an excess caloric intake of food, regardless of the source, whether it be from proteins, fats or carbohydrates, will end up being stored as fat. It is better to have a balanced diet which includes all the food groups and the nutrients that they deliver.
Enjoy your meal! A meal should be enjoyed by sight, smell, and taste. A healthy recipe starts with healthy ingredients. So choose wisely at the grocery store and experiment with spices and flavors new and old. If you think cooking is hard, start with a simple recipe from a cookbook or website and do not be afraid of making mistakes. Do your best and have fun!/ Remember, if you feel you need help from an expert, especially if you are living with any medical conditions, you can consult a registered dietitian. I wish you all the best in your endeavors towards a healthier lifestyle. Healthy dietary habits are literally within hand's reach!
Canada’s Food Guide: Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Health Canada. Health Canada website [Online]. https://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/alt_formats/hpfb-dgpsa/pdf/food-guide-aliment/print_eatwell_bienmang-eng.pdf (page viewed on April 6th, 2015)
DASH diet: Blais, C. et Raymond, E., What You Eat Affects Your Blood Pressure, Société québécoise de hypertension artérielle (SQHA). SQHA website [En ligne]. https://www.hypertension.qc.ca/gestion/pdf/dash_en.pdf (page viewed on April 6th, 2015)