By: Margaret Pereira, M.A.N., R.D. IOC Dipl in Sport Nutrition(c)

Is eating healthier one of your New Year’s resolutions? Following a fad diet, or being overly restrictive, will not help you or your family achieve your health goals. Healthy eating does not mean boring, tasteless foods. Try these simple yet sensible steps that will help you adopt a healthier diet, without feeling deprived.

New Year’s Resolutions You’ll Want to Keep

1. Fill the plate with colourful vegetables Draw an invisible line dividing your plate in half and fill it with a variety of vegetables. Select bright-coloured and dark green leafy vegetables which are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants. Vegetables are not only low in calories but they are high in fiber. Filling up with veggies will help curb the urge to binge on other high-fat or processed foods.

2. Snack on fruits – fresh or dried When you feel like snacking, grab a fruit instead of chips or cookies. Like vegetables, fruits are high in antioxidants and fibre and low in calories. To add extra calcium and protein into your diet, use a low-fat yogurt as a fruit dip. Dried fruits are also a great idea to add flare to your high fibre breakfast cereal or your nut mix for your mid afternoon snack.

3. Don’t drink Calories Sweetened beverages such as pop, juice drinks, coffee drinks may satisfy your thirst but essentially they are empty calories. Also drinking liquid calories doesn’t give you the same sensation of fullness like eating solid foods which helps control our intake. Simply cutting a can of pop a day can help you lose 15 pounds in a year! Drink water instead. Carrying a bottle of water with you will encourage you sip it instead of reaching for sweetened beverages.

4. Choose whole grains Canada’s Food Guide recommends adults should consume between 6 – 8 grain servings per day. At least half of these serving should be whole grains which are high in fibre. The easiest way to increase whole grain intake is to replace some of your refined-grain products. For instance, use whole-grain bread instead of white bread when making lunch sandwiches. Substitute half the white flour with whole wheat flour in your regular recipes for cookies, muffins, and pancakes. Toss brown rice, wild rice, or barley in your vegetable soup. Or snack on popcorn instead of chips on family movie nights.

5. Eat breakfast Eating breakfast is a great way to start of the day but many people often skip breakfast. Some skip it because they are too rushed in the morning and have little time to prepare. Some skip it as a measure to control weight. But studies have shown that people who eat breakfast regularly are more likely to control their weight than those who skip breakfast. An ideal breakfast contains at least 3 out of the 4 food groups. For instance, a bowl of whole wheat breakfast cereal with milk and blueberries can start your day the healthy way.

Remember healthy food choices are key components to health and vitality.
Isn’t today is a good day to start making healthier choices?