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Get the real deal on your meal
Nutrition information has never been more accessible than right now, says the Interior Health Authority.
Millions of Canadians head to the Internet when they have questions about nutrition, but not all the information they read is credible. March is nutrition month, a time to bust common food and nutrition myths and reveal the facts. For example, there are many myths about salt (sodium) and its effect on health. One of the most common myths is that the best way to limit sodium intake is to stop using the salt shaker.
Cindy Bossio, registered dietitian with Interior Health, debunked this myth.
“Only 11 per cent of the salt we eat is added by the salt shaker,” she says. “Over 75 per cent comes from processed and restaurant foods. You can reduce your sodium intake by reading and comparing food labels and by choosing fresh foods more often than processed ones. When eating out, ask if nutrition information for the menu item is available.”
Sodium reduction is a focus of the province’s Healthy Families B.C. initiative. Learn more about reducing your sodium intake and check your sodium sense by using an interactive feature on its website: http://www.healthyfamiliesbc.ca/.
Many people believe that cooking meals at home takes too much time. This common reason given for relying on take-out or pre-packaged meals is also a myth. Planning meals in advance saves time in the kitchen.
“Plan to cook enough so that you have leftovers for the next day or cook on the weekend and freeze extra portions,” says Linda Boyd, registered dietitian with Interior Health.
If you need a little help preparing quick and healthy meals, the Canadian Diabetes Association has a great cooking program designed to increase nutrition knowledge as well as food shopping and preparation skills.
To learn more visit http://www.foodskillsforfamilies.ca/. Dietitians of Canada also has meal planning and time-saving techniques available on its website: www.dietitians.ca.
The desire to attain a healthy weight spawns many myths. Some people believe that following Canada’s Food Guide will cause weight gain. Others believe that weight loss can only be achieved by eating foods labelled low fat or fat free.
“The average Canadian eats 22 per cent of their calories from foods that don’t fit into the food guide,” says Rose Soneff, registered dietitian with Interior Health. “If people reduce the amount of sugary beverages, snacks and desserts they typically eat, there is plenty of room for the healthy foods recommended in Canada’s Food Guide. It’s also important to recognize diets that lack variety may not provide all of the nutrients necessary for optimal health.”
Registered dietitians are food and nutrition experts and the best source of accurate nutrition information. You can reach a registered dietitian by calling HealthLink at 811 or by e-mail at http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/dietitian/.
For more information, visit http://www.interiorhealth.ca/YourHealth/HealthyLiving/Pages/Nutrition.aspx.