Principles of Healthy Eating

Healthy eating does not have to mean depriving yourself of everything you love or counting every calorie. Adopting good eating habits and making minor changes that work for you is much easier to incorporate into your routine. With just a few simple changes, a healthier lifestyle can be just around the corner.

Keep a food diary. The first step is to pay attention to what you are eating and to determine what changes you need to make. Keeping a food journal can be an effective way to track your daily intake.

Replace tempting treats with healthy snacks. Many people cannot resist the sweet and salty snacks that are in their kitchen cupboards or desk at work. Instead, plan healthier snacks to have on hand (nuts, veggies with low calorie dip, fruit, etc). Prepare healthy snacks the night before a busy day and throw out unhealthy snacks. Being mindful of the foods that you make easily available to yourself is a huge start.

Making small changes can result in big rewards. If adding fruits and vegetables is your goal, choose the ones you like and it will make it easier to incorporate into your diet. Make sure you select a variety of colours.

Here are a few easy replacements to consider:

  • Whole wheat instead of white
  • Mustard instead of mayonnaise
  • Bake, grill and broil meats instead of frying
  • Lean meats instead of fatty
  • Nonstick sprays instead of oils and butter
  • Water instead of pop
  • Order dressings and sauces on the side
  • Mini chocolate bars instead of full size

Prepare meals in advance. A few larger changes will help as well: if you eat a lot of prepackaged foods, consider spending one or two nights per week cooking a few quick, easy and healthy options at home. Make extra and freeze dishes for another day.

Select lean meats. Choosing lean meats can have a significant impact on your health. Diets high in animal products can cause a host of health problems ranging from increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers to weight gain and autoimmune disorders. A healthy diet should consist of mostly grains, seeds, nuts, vegetables and fruits. Replace meat with some of the many plant-based sources of protein (nuts, legumes, certain vegetables, etc.). These foods are also high in fibre, which has been linked to reducing your risk of heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other diseases. When you include a variety of these types of foods, you can be sure that you are getting adequate amounts of protein and reducing your intake of saturated fats.

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