Nutrition Month 2017

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    by Pat MacIntosh

    March is Nutrition Month! This year the Alberta Health Services theme is Find answers at healthyeatingstartshere.ca. Dietitians at AHS have compiled the most requested information from healthyeatingstartshere.ca which is:

    • best buys for healthy eating

    • ways to eat more vegetables and fruit

    • how to make healthy meals and meal ideas

    • how to choose healthy drinks

    Best Buys for Healthy Eating

    Cost may be something you think about every time you spend money on food. Here are some tips to get the most nutrition for your money.

    • Buy frozen vegetables and fruit. They are just as nutritious as fresh and can be stored longer.

    • Larger sizes may cost less per serving than smaller sizes. Use the unit price on the shelf tag to compare prices of different foods. Unit price is often listed as price per 100g or per 100 mL.

    • Meat alternatives such as eggs, beans and lentils may cost less 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 enough vegetables and fruit each day. Tips to help you eat more vegetables and fruit include:

    • Start your meal with salad.

    • End your meal with fruit for dessert.

    • Double up on vegetables in recipes.

    • Keep fruit on the table or at work for a “grab and go” snack.

    • Keep washed and cut up vegetables in the fridge for a quick snack or to add to a lunch bag.

    • Take cut-up raw vegetables to work, school or sports to enjoy as a snack.

    • Use extra vegetables in an omelet, pasta salad, sandwich or as pizza toppings.

    • Add fruit to smoothies, cereal, salads, muffin or pancakes.

    Healthy Meals and Meal Ideas

    Building a healthy meal helps you meet your nutrient needs.

    Try this step by step guide to help you build a healthy meal to meet your nutrient needs:

    • Fill half your plate with vegetables.

    • Fill the other side with grain products and a meat or alternative (like beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu or eggs).

    • Use whole grains (such as brown rice, wild rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, or barley).

    • Include milk and alternatives, such as a glass of milk with your meal.

    Healthy Drinks

    Adults need about 9–12 cups (2.25–3 L) of fluid each day. Water is the best choice to meet your fluid needs and satisfy thirst. Milk and fortified unsweetened soy beverage are also healthy drinks. Healthy drinks are low in added sugars and fat. Here are some tips to choose healthy drinks:

    • Take a water break instead of a coffee break.

    • Choose skim, 1% or 2% milk.

    • Coffee and tea can be healthy drinks. Drink them and avoid adding fat and sugar. Use flavoured coffee beans instead of flavoured creamers.

    • If you drink juice, choose 100 per cent juice and limit to ½ cup (125 mL) per day.

    See www.healthyeatingstartshere.ca for additional tips, information, meal ideas and inspiring recipes to help you make healthy eating choices. Happy Nutrition Month!

    Pat MacIntosh is a Registered Dietitian with Alberta Health Services, Nutrition Services. She can be reached by e-mail, [email protected].

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