Tips For a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is a combination of foods that gives you the nutrients you need for good health. It’s also a way to manage your weight and keep energy levels balanced throughout the day.

In general, your diet should include a variety of food groups and whole foods, and should exclude ultra-processed items. You should also aim to get the right amount of fat, protein and carbohydrates to feel full and energized. It’s fine to enjoy the occasional treats – but remember that junk foods can add up and should be limited.

When choosing the food you eat, read nutrition labels to help you identify healthier options. For example, choose foods that are low in added sugars, sodium and saturated fat and high in fibre. Look for the term “low-sodium” or “no-saturated fat” on packaged foods to reduce sodium intake, and avoid trans fats (found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines, crackers, cookies, candies, cakes and fried foods).

Choose more fish and nuts, which are high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids, than red meat and processed meat, which contain saturated fats. Make sure to include lean poultry, eggs and beans, which are also good sources of protein.

Ensure you get a source of calcium from milk, cheese and yogurt and a range of other foods, such as vegetables, fortified breakfast cereals and fortified soy drinks. Choose unsaturated fats, such as those found in olive oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and canola oil, instead of animal or hydrogenated fats, which increase cholesterol levels.

Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables – up to 5 portions a day (fresh, frozen, canned or dried). It’s also important to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Try adding a spoonful of nut butter or cheese to fiber-rich carbohydrates, such as fruit or whole grains, to boost the satiety factor and help keep you feeling fuller for longer. You can also boost the flavour of plain yogurt by adding a pinch of salt and some chopped herbs or spices.

Plan ahead when it comes to meals and snacks, especially if you have children. Pack their lunches with a range of nutritious foods, and select healthier options at cafeterias or restaurants, paying attention to serving size and ingredients.

Make it a priority to sit down and eat meals without distractions. This can help your family focus on their food and each other, and may even improve digestion and nutrient absorption.

If your kids are picky eaters, be patient. Research shows it can take up to 10 exposures before a child will openly accept a new food. Try offering a new food again after a few days, and continue to offer it if they show interest.