Vegetables and Fruit
- Have vegetables fresh, frozen or canned – all are nutritious options.
- Look for canned vegetables lower in sodium or drain and rinse canned vegetables which can lower the salt content.
- Choose unsweetened frozen fruit or fruit packed in juice. Fruit in heavy syrup has more sugar and calories.
- Short on time? Consider buying packages of pre-bagged vegetables such as baby carrots, leafy greens or green beans, which can be quickly tossed in a salad, stir-fry or casserole.
- Choose vegetables and fruit more often than juice. Eating vegetables and fruit provides more fibre than juice.
- Skip the French fries, poutine, and other deep-fried vegetables like tempura, zucchini sticks and onion rings. Have a baked potato, sweet potato, or salad instead.
- Visit a farmers’ market. Try a variety of local vegetables and fruit such as broccoli, cabbage, leafy greens, squash, pumpkins, apples, berries, peaches and pears.
- Use fresh or dried herbs, spices, flavoured vinegar or lemon juice instead of salt to enhance the flavour of vegetables.
Don’t know how to cook your veggies? Check out this cheat sheet for some help! (Click image to enlarge)
- Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day – a variety of whole grains such as barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa, and wild rice.
- Limit grain products high in fat, particularly those made with hydrogenated and trans fats such as cookies, crackers and other baked goods. Check the food label and look for sodium-reduced grain products too.
- You can add grains to your cereals, salads and soups like barley, bulgur, kamut and quinoa
- Prepare grain products that are low in fat, sugar or salt
Milk and Alternatives
- Drink skim, 1% or 2% milk each day. Select lower fat milk alternatives for adults, by using low fat (skim, 1% or 2%) evaporated milk instead of cream in coffee or tea and in place of cream in soup recipes.
- Try a lower fat cheese such as reduced fat mozzarella, cottage or ricotta cheese in lasagnas and casseroles. Use a “light” cheese in place of regular cheese in sandwiches, wraps and quesadillas.
- Drink fortified soy beverages if you do not drink milk. Check the food label to see if your soy beverage is fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
- Limit cream cheese, ice cream, coffee cream, whipping cream, and sour cream. These foods are high in fat and calories.
- Create smoothies by blending lower fat milk or fortified soy beverage with a combination of fresh or frozen fruits.
- Serve vanilla or fruit-flavoured lower fat yogurt as a dip for fruit.
Meat and Alternatives
- Have meat alternatives such as beans, lentils and tofu often. Meat alternatives are an inexpensive source of protein and are high in fibre and low in fat. Use peas, beans and lentils in place of meat several times a week. Add them to soups, casseroles, salads and burritos, or mash them into dips.
- Choose fish such as char, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout. These types of fish are particularly high in omega 3 fatty acids which have been found to have heart health benefits.
- Processed luncheon meats, sausages and prepackaged meats are usually high in fat and salt (sodium). If you eat them, choose sodium reduced and lower fat varieties if available.
- Buy fresh or frozen meat, fish and poultry without breading or rich sauces.
- Include a small amount – 30 to 45 mL (2 to 3 Tbsp) – of unsaturated fat each day to get the fat you need. This amount includes oil used for cooking, salad dressings, margarine and mayonnaise. Unsaturated vegetable oils include: flaxseed, canola, olive. Limit butter, hard margarine, lard and shortening.
- Cook meat, poultry, fish or shellfish by baking, grilling, broiling, poaching or microwaving instead of frying or deep-frying.
- Trim visible fat from meat and skin from poultry before cooking. Drain off extra fat after cooking.
- Make your own trail mix by combining your favourite cereal and dried fruit with a handful of unsalted nuts and sunflower seeds.
Satisfy thirst with water!
Drink water regularly. It’s a healthy, calorie-free way of staying hydrated. It helps your body work in a number of ways:
- controls your body temperature
- helps break down food so that your body can absorb the nutrients
- helps get rid of waste
- acts as a cushion between cells, muscles, and joints
- keeps your bowels “regular”