Healthy eating and regular physical activity are needed all year round, but many of us need a friendly reminder to get ourselves back on track, says the Canadian Diabetes Association.
Eating healthy is important for all Canadians and one of the cornerstones of diabetes management.
“Placing the focus on nutrition and healthy living does not have to be a complete overhaul of your daily habits,” says Sharon Zeiler, senior manager of diabetes education and nutrition for the Canadian Diabetes Association. “A few simple meal planning and preparation tips will help you to produce healthy and delicious food.”
Preparing food that both tastes good and is good for you can be simple. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Take a few minutes each week to plan your menus.
This will allow you the time to schedule quick and easy meals during busy periods and ensure your favourites are served more often.
Cruise the grocery store with a list.
A grocery list will ensure that you bring home everything you need to prepare the tasty and nutritious meals you planned.
Choose seasonal produce and pick the brightest colours that you can.
In general, the brighter the colour, the higher the nutrients (i.e. bright red peppers or dark green broccoli).
Equip your kitchen for low-fat food preparation.
This needn’t be expensive and you can gather the pieces one at a time.
A steamer for vegetables helps retain their flavour and nutrients without added fat.
A pan with a rack allows the fat to drip away from meat to help you achieve low-fat, flavourful cooking.
Sharp knives allow you to remove fat easily and slice meat thinly.
Non-stick cookware lets you to brown or sauté without added fats or oils.
Learn to use spices and herbs to kick up the flavour.
Parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are classic herbs that you will savour. Cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg will add a new taste to traditional dishes.
Many cookbooks and recipes online offer advice on using spices and herbs and introduce new tastes.
Go vegetarian for a night.
Canada is a multi-cultural country and many cultures feature a wide variety of meatless dishes. Try tofu in a stir-fry or vegetarian chili; try Indian style dahl (lentils) or marinated bean salads; use lentils and kidney beans in your favourite soups. Your creativity will help you to see lots of possibilities.
To keep control of your portions, think of the “space on your plate.”
A well-balanced plate will consist of one-quarter protein (e.g. chicken or fish), one quarter starch (e.g. rice, pasta, couscous) and half vegetables. Add milk as a drink and fresh fruit for dessert and you are well nourished at a moderate calorie expense.
Double check your serving size.
Most of us are victims of the supersize phenomenon.
Eat your dinner on a smaller luncheon plate — your serving will look larger.
If you want to “splurge” on a treat, as we all do from time-to-time, think single servings.
Instead of a whole chocolate bar, buy the mini size (i.e. not a 200-gram bag of potato chips, but a 43-gram size). This will give you the indulgence of a treat that you want, but allow you to stop while the calorie count is still low.
“In addition to healthy eating, it’s also important to ensure you take part in regular physical activity. Speak with your health-care team, including your dietitian and fitness expert, if you have questions,” adds Zeiler.
Visit diabetes.ca for more helpful nutrition tips, resources and information.