It’s easier than you think to start eating healthy! Take small steps each week to improve your nutrition and move toward a healthier you.
Eight Healthy Eating Goals
Small changes can make a big difference in your health. Try incorporating at least six of the eight goals below into your diet. Commit to incorporating one new healthy eating goal each week over the next six weeks.
Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. Add fruit to meals as part of main or side dishes or as dessert. The more colourful you make your plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals, and fibre your body needs to be healthy.
Emphasis on Fruits & Veggies
- Mix vegetables into your go-to dishes. Try spinach with pasta or peppers in tacos.
- Use fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables. They all offer the same great nutrients. Just be sure to watch the sodium on canned vegetables and look for fruits packed in water or 100% juice (not syrup).
- Pack your child’s lunch bag with fruits and veggies: sliced apples, a banana, or carrot sticks are all healthy options.
- For a handy snack, keep cut-up fruits and vegetables like carrots, peppers, or orange slices in the refrigerator.
- Teach children the difference between everyday snacks, such as fruits and veggies, and occasional snacks, such as cookies or other sweets.
- Make water a staple of snack time. Try adding a slice of lemon, lime, or a splash of 100% juice to your water for a little flavour.
- Swap out your cookie jar for a basket filled with fresh fruit.
Ways to Reduce Fat, Salt, and Sugar
- Choose baked or grilled food instead of fried when you’re eating out and implement this at home, too.
- Make water and fat-free or low-fat milk your go-to drinks instead of soda or sweetened beverages.
- Serve fruits as everyday desserts-like baked apples and pears or a fruit salad.
- Read labels on packaged ingredients to find foods lower in sodium.
- Skip adding salt when cooking; instead, use herbs and spices to add flavour.
Controlling Portion Size
- Use smaller plates to control portion sizes.
- Don’t clean your plate or bowl if you’re full, instead save leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.
- Portion sizes depend on the age, gender, and activity level of the individual.
Healthy Eating in School
- Bring healthy snacks into your child’s classroom for birthday parties and celebrations, instead of providing sugary treats.
- Pack healthy lunches for your children including whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Schools across the nation are making their lunch rooms healthier places. Learn more with the Chefs Move to Schools initiative-where chefs work with local schools to add flavorful, healthy meals to menus.
Tips to Manage Weight
Following the eight healthy eating goals above can help your body get the nutrients it needs. Here are some other tips to keep in mind if you also are trying to manage your weight.
- Enjoy your food, but eat less: Take the time to fully enjoy your food as you eat it. Eating too fast or when your attention is elsewhere may lead to eating too many calories. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during, and after meals. Use them to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough.
- Watch your portion sizes: Check to see what the recommended portion sizes of foods you eat looks like in the bowls, plates, and glasses you use at home. When dining out avoid “supersizing” your meal or buying “combo” meal deals that often include large-size menu items. Choose small-size items instead or ask for a take-home bag and wrap up half of your meal to take home before you even start to eat.
- Be physically active: Being physically active can help you manage your weight. Youth (6-17 years old) need to be active for at least 60 minutes a day (or 12,000 steps). Adults (18 and older) need to be active for at least 30 minutes (or 8,500 steps) a day. Learn more about being active.
When cooking, keep these tips in mind to keep your family safe from food poisoning.
- Clean: Wash hands, utensils, and cutting boards before and after contact with raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
- Separate: Keep raw meat and poultry apart from foods that won’t be cooked.
- Cook: Use a food thermometer. You can’t tell if food is cooked safely by how it looks.
- Chill: Chill leftovers and takeout foods within two hours and keep the refrigerator at 40°F or below.
- Rinse: Rinse fruits and vegetables (even those with skins or rinds that are not eaten) with tap water.