There’s help to change your eating habits

Lisa Fisher, Health Promotion SpecialistVegetables & fruit

It can be hard to change what and how you eat. This could be because you’re not yet ready to make a change and are, therefore, resistant to it. It could also be because you’re not sure how to fit a healthy eating pattern into your current lifestyle or how it can fit your varied needs. These needs could be related to health, dietary restrictions or budget, among others.

Health is an important reason as to why people change their eating patterns. You may already have a diagnosed health condition, such as diabetes, or you have been made aware by your doctor that you’re at risk if you continue the way you are going. Oftentimes people overconsume sugar, sodium and fat, specifically saturated and trans fat. To reduce sugar in recipes, try making it with less. Sometimes changing the type of sugar you use can allow for flexibility in using less. For example, a recipe may need less maple syrup than white or brown sugar. Although sugar is sugar regardless, having less is better. Replacing saturated fats with healthy fats through choosing plant-based protein options more often is a good choice. Switching to a healthy oil such as canola or olive oil versus coconut or palm oil will also go a long way. Simple things such as rinsing canned vegetables and beans prior to using them, choosing broths that are low sodium and using herbs and spices rather than salt can help reduce sodium intake.

If you have dietary restrictions, it’s important to talk to a dietitian. They are best suited to decide what foods can replace the ones you are unable to consume to ensure you are not nutrient deficient.

We hear it all the time – healthy eating is expensive. Although it can be, with careful planning, it can be achieved. Instead of taking a recipe at face value, replace the ingredients with lower-cost alternatives. This can include plant-based protein foods such as beans or chickpeas. Barley can be used in place of quinoa. Watch the flyers for sales and plan your meals around what is on sale. Although many people think that canned food is unhealthy, it can be part of a healthy eating pattern if selecting low-sodium vegetables and fruit packaged in water.

With March being Nutrition Month, the Health Promotion Department would like to help you understand that a healthy eating pattern is about #MoreThanFood. Learn skills at the Salad in a Jar (March 25) or Energy Ball (March 30) workshop, sample a tasty post-workout snack on March 23 and 24, or request a nutrition briefing for your unit. A course designed for those who are physically active and want to know how to better fuel their performance, Top Fuel for Top Performance will be running March 18 & 19. For more information on these activities, nutrition-related resources, and/or to register for the workshops or the course, please contact the Health Promotion Department at 4WGHealthPromotion@forces.gc.ca or call 780-840-8000 local 6958.