By: Kelly Atyeo-Fick, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.
March is Nutrition Month and a great time to focus on health and nutrition.
This year the Dietitians of Canada (DC) theme is encouraging Canadians to think about how to “make small changes in their eating patterns – one meal at a time”.1 Sometimes when people think about changing their diet, they get worried that they need to make drastic changes that they can’t maintain. At the end of the day, food is about more than just fuel – it’s about enjoyment! So, during nutrition month – think about ways to make each meal you eat that little bit healthier. Hopefully this will help you get on the right track for the rest of the year!
“100 Meal Journey”
Did you know we eat approximately 100 meals per month?2 Think about all the possible opportunities to make our diet healthy! Part of the DC campaign is to encourage Canadians to “take a 100 Meal Journey”, which is a pledge to make small healthy changes to each of those 100 meals. 2
Small Changes to Make Your Meals Healthier
The following are some simple ways to make your meals healthier:2
- add more veggies or fruit to your dishes
- eat skinless chicken breast
- eat fish in replacement of red meat for one of your meals
- cook with less saturated fats (i.e. butter, lard)
- eat fruit as snacks instead of sweets
- choose whole grain bread/pasta instead of white or a combination
When you’re at work, make the following small changes:
- Bring fruit to have handy in the staff room for colleagues as a quick snack.
- When buying lunch, opt for a healthy salad and soup. Ask for salad dressings on the side.
- If you normally go out for lunch, try to pack your lunch at least a couple times per week.
Here are some easy lunch recipes that are perfect for the workweek. Pitas and wraps are always great go-to meals for using leftover chicken as well!
Another goal of the campaign is to get you thinking about nutrients in the food you are eating.3 Every food can fit into a balanced lifestyle, however – certain foods may be better for you in the long run. These foods are considered “nutrient-dense” foods and have nutrients like protein, fibre and healthy fats that contribute to overall wellness.3 Some great nutrient-dense foods include:
- Milk/Dairy Products
- Whole Grain Breads
Try combining some of these nutrient-dense foods to make meals that are super healthy for the whole family!
Get Your Family Excited about Nutrition Month!
Part of making small changes in your diet involves getting your family excited about nutrition and food as well. Encourage all members of the family to get involved in the Nutrition Month pledge. Try making weekly goals for yourself and your family. They should be simple but still meaningful.
Perhaps have a family meeting and think about the meals you eat on a weekly basis. Do you eat out at restaurants a lot? Do you tend to avoid certain foods that you know are healthy? Are you unsure of what are healthy options?
A goal could be simply to learn how to incorporate a food you’ve never tried before into your diet – like eggplant! Each week you can experiment with different recipes to add new vegetables or fruit into your diet.4 Again, it’s about making small changes and finding ways to put a boost of nutrition into each of your family meals.
If you are interested in exploring more information about the campaign or consulting a Registered Dietitian in your area, please visit http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-Month/Nutrition-Month.aspx
Have a wonderful journey to good health this Nutrition Month!
- Dietitians of Canada. (2016). Campaign Plans. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-Month/Campaign-Plans.aspx
- Dietitians of Canada. (2016). Take a 100 Meal Journey. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Factsheets/Factsheet-Get-Ready-EN.aspx
- Dietitians of Canada. (2016). Quality Counts. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Factsheets/Factsheet-Quality-Counts-EN.aspx
- Dietitians of Canada. (2016). Nutrition Month 2016: Take a 100 Meal Journey. Retrieved February 23, 2016, from http://www.dietitians.ca/Media/News-Releases/2016/NutritionMonth2016.aspx