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.
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