5 strategies for maintaining a healthy diet

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Eating healthy isn't always easy! Of course there will be days you do not eat optimally, we are all human after all and life happens. Try your best to have a great diet 80-90% of the time and be gentle on yourself the other times.

The core of a healthy diet includes the following: 

  • fresh vegetables (colourful, leafy green, cruciferous, etc.)
     
  • whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, steel cut oats)
     
  • legumes/beans (chick peas, lentils, all types of beans)
     
  • nuts/seeds (tree nuts, hempseeds, flaxseeds, chiaseeds, sunflower, etc.)
     
  • certain meats (free range when possible especially poultry, and certain fish - wild, cooked, and low on list for contaminate – see www.EWG.org or https://davidsuzuki.org for lists).

Here are some strategies to help maintain a healthy diet: 

1.     Prepare foods in more wholesome ways

Try using healthy ingredients and cooking oils like coconut oil instead of highly processed, hydrogenized oils; extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil are also good options. If wanting to speed up with the cooking process by using canned foods, ensure the product you buy has BPA-free lining or choose frozen vegetables. Avoid microwaving if you can especially for long periods as this depletes important nutrients from our food.  

2.     Eliminate junk and highly processed foods & eat more fresh vegetables (and fruit)

Eating junk food is throwing away an opportunity for healthy calories, not to mention money. Pre-packaged foods are actually more expensive then fresh foods. 

3.     Ask for support

There will be days that you just don’t feel like cooking, reach out to your community. Humans are naturally social and it is way more fun to eat together then alone. Some communities even take turns to cook, one house hold is responsible for dinner then the next night the next one does the cook. Just make sure there is enough leftovers for everyone.  

4.     Read labels

If you can’t pronounce it, it probably is not good for you! There are many foods that contain hidden sugars, way too much salt, and chemicals dyes and additives. There are great resources online and apps that can help you understand what is written on the label. 

5.     Keep track of what you're eating

A great way to get started is by creating a list of foods that you currently eat, then add in foods that will provide more nutrition or will make the meal more nutritious. For example, instead of spaghetti noodles use a spaghetti squash and add diced veggies to the sauce. Adding an avocado to a smoothie instead of flavoured yogurt creates a creamy texture without the excess sugar. 

Check out our nutrition tips, recipes and meal plans

Related posts:
3 ways to improve fertility and overall health
Optimizing nutrition while pregnant
How can I avoid processed high sugar foods and beverages?
10 ways to reduce sugar in your diet
10 foods you should never eat 

3 things to create a consistent bedtime routine for children

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I can still remember my three boys were all under the age of 4 and putting them to bed. Developing and following a consistent feeding and sleep routine was an absolute necessity (mostly to preserve my sanity!). Even though my boys are older now, our bedtime schedule hasn't changed very much. Me being out of the house for an evening doesn't have an impact on our well-established bedtime routine because they know the drill.

These are our top 3 tips for creating and maintaining a consistent bedtime routine for children.

1.     Create bedtime routine ASAP! 

Hopefully you've figure out what sleep habits work for you and your family when your baby is a newborn or soon after. This is particularly helpful if you also have older children with their own scheduled activities. Know what is convenient and your preferences in terms of after school activities, your bedtime routine (dinner, playtime, bath time, snack time and story time), and what bedtime and breakfast times fit within your family's schedule.

If you have more then one child with varied age gaps, you may want to choose a bedtime routine starting point that is based on the youngest child. For example, if you have a a 15 month old and a 4 year old and bedtime for the 15 month old is 7pm, consider having the 4 year old start quiet time at 7pm, either playing quietly or reading in their room and go down for bed at 7:30pm. Staggering bedtimes helps mom and dad out and also allows for each child to get some individual parent time. 

2.     Be consistent

Whatever sleep routine you choose, make sure that you are executing it in the same order every night as often as possible. Little children do well when they know what is expected and what is coming up next. So having a snack follower by bath time, brushing teeth, story and then bedtime allows them to know what to expect next (and also less whining and asking for things outside of the routine).

3.     Do not negotiate

If you give an inch, they may try to take a mile. If you build a snack, drink of water or potty into the bedtime rountine your child can't ask to get out of bed for the toilet, a bedtime snack or a drink after you have put them to bed.

For potty training purposes, transitioning to a small snack before bed rather than a drink can be helpful to avoid accidents at night. See this post about potty training.

Visit our FAQs page about feeding and sleep for babies and children.

5 strategies for a healthy diet during pregnancy

5 strategies for a healthy diet during pregnancy

Eating healthy can be difficult during pregnancy! It can be hard to control what you eat when you have pregnancy cravings or are suffering from morning sickness. Read this post for tips to satisfy your pregnancy cravings. Important information about non-food craving during pregnancy can be found here.

Here are some strategies to help maintain a healthy diet during your pregnancy: 

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