Health Canada recently released the new Canada’s Food Guide. Canadians are encouraged to have plenty of vegetables and fruits, to choose whole grains, and to choose protein foods that come from plants more often. But the new Food Guide goes beyond food, and advises us to eat well and to live well. What exactly does this mean?
Healthy eating is not just your food choices. It’s also about your eating habits – where you eat, when you eat, why you eat and how you eat. Being aware of these details can help you make healthier food choices.
Keep reading to explore how you can put four of the new Food Guide healthy eating recommendations into action.
- Be mindful of your eating habits
With busy lives and jobs, it’s easy to find yourself eating while distracted or doing other things. Taking time to eat can help you make healthier food choices and avoid overeating.
- Take time to just eat. Turn off the TV. Get up from your desk. Set your phone aside.
- Slow down. Put your fork down between bites. Chew thoroughly.
- Enjoy the aromas, flavours and texture of your food.
- Notice when you feel hungry, when you feel full, and when you’re eating simply out of habit or boredom.
- Cook more often
This sounds so simple, yet many people say they lack the time, skills and inspiration. Planning ahead is the key to your success.
- Make a menu. Write out what you would like to eat for your next few meals. Or for the entire week! Involve your family.
- Browse through our weekly flyers for menu inspiration or to see what’s on special.
- Order your groceries online. Delivery is available in many areas, or it’s free to pick up at the store. Free up more time to spend in the kitchen.
- Keep your most-liked recipes handy, or discover a new favourite recipe on our website! www.saveonfoods.com/recipes/
- Plan to cook once and eat twice. Cook double the chicken you need tonight, and save half for tomorrow’s burritos or salad bowls. Make two casseroles and put one in the freezer for later.
- Batch cook. When you have extra time, make a big pot of soup, chili or sauce for pasta. Portion into individual or family-sized containers and freeze. When you are short on time, pull one out – make a tossed salad or cooked vegetable, and dinner is served.
- Enjoy your food
Enjoyment goes beyond mealtimes, and includes all of the food-related activities that are part of healthy eating.
- Enjoy shopping for your food. Meet a friend at the grocery store and make it a social outing.
- Be open to trying new foods. Have your kids choose an unusual fruit or vegetable each time you grocery shop. Grab a plant-based protein you don’t usually cook – maybe tofu or lentils.
- Improve your food skills. Take a cooking class. Watch a knife skills tutorial online. Buy a new kitchen tool or gadget.
- Cook with others. Even small children can help wash vegetables or mix ingredients in a bowl.
- Grow your own food. If you have the space for a vegetable garden, that’s great. If not, try growing fresh herbs in a small pot on your kitchen window.
- Learn about different cultures and food traditions. Buy a new cookbook. Check out the ethnic aisles in your grocery store.
- Eat meals with others
Mealtimes are a great opportunity to bring families, friends or coworkers together. It’s a chance to relax, talk about your day, and enjoy healthy food.
- Aim to sit down together for family meals whenever possible. To accommodate everyone’s busy schedule, this might be dinner one night, and breakfast another day.
- Take a break from your desk and go to the staff room to eat your lunch. Talk to your coworkers. Focus on your food, not your work.
- Plan a potluck. Ask everyone to bring a traditional dish from their cultural or family background. Share the recipes.
- Invite your friends or neighbours over for dinner. Enjoy your food and the social aspect of eating together.
For more tips about Canada’s Food Guide and healthy eating, check out https://food-guide.canada.ca/
Sign up for a free Nutrition Tour of your local Save-On-Foods. https://www.saveonfoods.com/nutrition-tours/ Our Registered Dietitians will lead your group through the grocery store, discuss the new Food Guide, and show you how to tackle food labels, and how to meet special dietary requirements.
Gillian Kelly, RD
Gillian has been a Save-On-Foods Nutrition Tour Leader in Langley and Surrey since 1995, and loves this opportunity to provide a hands-on learning experience in the grocery store!
Many of the Nutrition Tours she does are for elementary school classes. It’s fun to explain how the foods kids eat can help with their growth, their energy levels and even their mood. Gillian always shows less familiar vegetables and fruits to the kids, and is known for encouraging them to taste something unusual – like rutabaga!
When doing a Nutrition Tour for adults, Gillian likes to take products off the shelf and pass them around – it’s the best way to compare sugar, sodium or fiber content. She feels it’s important for each person to leave the Nutrition Tour feeling confident about reading food labels.