Eating better in the new year is a superb resolution and I encourage all of you who are hoping to do so to do it! However, my question for you is : do you really know what eating better even is? By definition, it means changing your eating habits for the better (or improving them), and so eating better is not a synonym for eating well or healthfully, although most people understand it as much.
Seeing as that’s what most people are aiming for, let’s define eating healthfully. First off, eating healthfully is not the same as eating perfectly. Don’t aim to « never eat fatty or sweet foods ever again », that is unrealistic and is setting you up for failure. In fact, eating perfectly is unhealthy and has many resemblances to eating disorders. Eating healthfully, on the other hand, is fun! It really just means eating a variety of nutrient-
rich foods most of the time and eating « treats » (or less nutritious foods) some of the time. What it really comes down to is quality and frequence – we should eat quality food often and less quality food less often. :)
Another part of eating healthfully is eating foods that we enjoy and being flexible about our eating habits according to our own realities (stage of life, food intolerances, food preferences, etc.).
To be concrete about this idea of eating nutrient-rich foods most of the time, here is a list of some nutrient-rich foods:
• Whole grains (wheat, barley, quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, etc.)
• Vegetables (of all colours : green, red, white, orange, purple-blue)
• Pulses (more commonly called beans. Ex. : chickpeas, kidney beans, navy beans, lentils, etc.)
• Soy products (soy milk – especially if you can’t do dairy, tofu, tempeh, edamame, etc.)
• Dairy (yogurt, low-fat cheese, milk) ** Yes, I mentioned low-fat cheese... because cheese is so rich in fat and because it is rich in the bad fat, I encourage regular cheese eaters to stick with 17% cheese. :)
• Fish (especially salmon, trout, sardines and tuna because they are rich in the essential fatty-acid omega-3 that helps brain development and keeps inflammation at bay)
• Poultry (because it is a great source of protein, without providing much fat)
• Meat (but not too much! The American Heart Association suggests limiting red meat to 3 portions of 75 g per week. 75 g of meat is the equivalent to a deck of cards, so that’s really not much! )
So now that we all recognize the nutrient-rich foods, let me share with you some useful tips for eating better (improving food habits), keeping in mind that each step forward leads us closer to eating healthfully, the goal most of us have in mind.
1. If you eat white pasta, white bread, and white rice all the time ... try mixing the white versions of the cereal product with the whole grain versions in a recipe. Start with half white, half « brown ».
2. If you love red meat and eat it every day ... try replacing it with fish or poultry more often.
3. If you never eat pulses (beans) or soy products ... try a vegetarian recipe once a week or order a vegetarian meal next time you are at a restaurant. Veggie burgers are delicious!
4. If you don’t love vegetables and have trouble eating them every day ... try mixing them with foods you love and add dips/sauces to make them more appealing to you. Slowly, you will grow accustomed to the taste and may even learn to enjoy them.
5. If you eat alot of sweets ... try making your own desserts and put less sugar than the recipe calls for (try 2/3 of the quantity required). Our « taste » for sugar gets weaker as we eat less of it and stronger as we eat more of it.
6. If you forget to eat the fruit that you buy ... try putting it in plain view. A bowl of fruit on the table reminds you that you have fruit. You can keep your bowl of fruit in the fridge too if you are a really slow fruit eater. :P
Enjoy improving your eating habits and don’t forget, eating should be enjoyable, flexible and should definitely include chocolate chip cookies every once in a while!
I hope you enjoyed my blog's very first guest post and were able to take some helpful tips from it for eating better in the new year. I plan on showcasing a couple other guest posts throughout the year and I would love your feedback on how you enjoy them. And please feel free to ask Cora any questions you may have!