Eating healthy: what’s your balance?

Rebecca Johnson
Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services (AHS) knows that wellness matters and in 2018 is having a year-long wellness campaign called, ‘What’s your balance?’

During March, which is also Nutrition Month, the focus is on healthy eating. Dietitians at Alberta Health Services have compiled some great tips to help make healthy eating part of your life.

Best buys for healthy eating
Cost may be something you think about every time you grocery shop. There are lower-cost healthier items in each of the food groups from Canada’s Food Guide. Here are tips to get the most nutrition for your money.

• Buy frozen vegetables and fruit. They are just as nutritious as fresh and store longer.
• Yogurt in a large tub may cost less than buying several single serve sizes.
• Beans, lentils and split peas are a less expensive protein option than meat.
• Plain cooked cereals (like oatmeal) are less expensive than pre-packaged instant cereals.

Eat more vegetables and fruit
Many Canadians don’t eat the recommended amount of vegetables and fruit each day.

Set yourself up to eat more vegetables and fruit

• Stock up on frozen or canned types (no added sugar or salt). They keep longer and don’t require any washing or chopping.
• When cooking/preparing meals make sure half the ingredients are vegetables and fruit.
• Shred carrots or zucchini into sauces and dishes.
• Keep fruit on the table for a “grab and go” snack.
• Cut vegetables and have them in see-through containers at eye-level so you quickly grab and eat.
• Add fruit to smoothies, cereal, salads, muffin or pancakes.

Healthy Meals
Building a healthy meal helps you meet your nutrient needs. Try this step-by-step guide when planning your meal:

• Start with a plate; fill half of it with vegetables.
• Fill the other side with grain products and a meat or alternate (beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu or eggs).
• Use whole grains (brown rice, wild rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, or barley).
• Include milk and alternatives with your meal.

How to choose healthy drinks

Adults need about 9-12 cups (2.25-3L) of fluid each day. What we drink can affect our dental health, weight and overall health. Here are some tips to choose healthy drinks:

• Take a water break instead of a coffee break.
• Choose skim, one per cent or two per cent milk.
• Coffee and tea can be healthy drinks; avoid adding cream and sugar.
• Limit caffeine to 400 mg/day. This equals about three cups, 750 mL or 24 oz coffee/day.

Check the website for additional tips, information, and recipes to help you make healthy eating choices.

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