HEALTH: 10 Easy Changes You Can Make to Eat Healthier

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By Dr. Lydia Thurton
January 15th, 2014 Edition

Holidays are officially over and we are all back to work. Although the average person only gains one pound over the winter break, many people strengthen their resolve to get their eating habits back on track. So this weekend, I’d like to present you with 10 easy things you can do to improve your nutrition.

1) Cook more food than you need at dinner. By cooking extras at dinner it makes for easy lunches the next day that do not involve take out. Cooking extra protein can be added to a salad or be substituted for not-so-healthy sandwich meats.

2) Stop eating just before you need to unbutton your pants. I know your mother told you to eat everything on your plate, but portion sizes, especially restaurant meals, have gone up drastically. And so has our waistbands. Eat until you are full, but be conscious of when you are over eating and take a break. The food is not going anywhere and if you get hungry again now is the time to eat more.

3) Switch your snacks from carbohydrate rich to protein rich foods. Snacking on protein keeps you full longer and stabilizes your blood sugar. Instead of crackers or chips eat a seasoned chicken breast from your dinner last night. Greek yogurt, a can of flavored tuna or a bean salad are other high protein ideas.

4) Stop making food the centre of your social life. If dinners and drinks out are the main ways you socialize with your friends, try a new activity. Doing some window shopping, going to a Toronto Raptors game, ping pong, or bowling. Do something active. Alternatively, a pot luck of home cooked healthy foods will avoid the high calorie costs of restaurant meals.

5) Follow an 80/20 rule. Generally, it is fine to have cake at a birthday party and those types of social events. You do not have to be perfect. 80% of the time, aim for home cooked whole foods and then the other 20% you can enjoy more indulgent foods, especially in a social setting.

6) Get a naturopathic doctor to test your food sensitivities. Frequently, people eat foods that are not suitable for their body and this can lead to problems from weight gain to acne. Figuring out what individual foods are not right for you helps you focus on the foods that your body does like.

7) Shop smart. Going to the grocery store when you’re hungry and tired is a sure fire way to end up with a cart of Oreos and Cheetos. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store and stock up on fresh produce. What you bring home, will be what you eat, so make wise choices. If you really want that chocolate bar, walk to your corner store to buy it.

8) As a continuation to point seven, shop at farmers markets. Getting local produce at great prices and supporting our local Ontario farmers is an excellent way to eat seasonally and ensure fresh food.

9) Get your sleep on track. I know this is an article about nutrition, but when people are overtired they make poor food choices and tend to opt for sugary snacks and quick fast food meals. A naturopathic doctor can help you.

10) Try not to drink your calories. Dilute your juice, opt for water whenever possible. Brew a large pot of green or herbal tea and pour it in a juice jug and keep it in the fridge. People can lose serious pounds by changing pop and juice to water and herbal teas.

Hope this helps! Happy New Year to our readers!

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