Your food calendar

Dietary Tips

Day 1: Keep a food diary. Before you can improve your diet, you have to know where you stand. Record everything you eat and drink for five days and use these tips to improve your diet, step by step, each day.

Day 2: Eat breakfast. It boosts your energy, metabolism and mental focus. Plus, those who eat breakfast regularly, consume fewer calories throughout the day than people who skip this meal.

Day 3: Enjoy 2-4 servings of fruit each day. Fruits are rich in nutrients, fibre, phytochemicals and antioxidants, which help prevent disease. One serving is equal to half a cup.

Day 4: Know your “red flag” menu words. Avoid restaurant items described as: battered, bottomless, breaded, buttery, cheesy, country, creamy, crispy, fried, giant, loaded, smothered and stuffed.

Day 5: Drink water. Gradually replace soda, flavoured coffees, sugary drinks and other high-cal liquids with water. Aim for 8-12 cups each day.

Day 6: Too busy to cook? To save time, use your crockpot, cook and freeze large batches of food, buy pre-cut or pre-cooked ingredients and keep an organised grocery list

Day 7: Avoid trans fats. They increase your risk of heart disease. Foods with “partially hydrogenated oil” as an ingredient contain trans fat (even if the label says 0 grams) and should be left on the grocery shelf.

Day 8: Slow down. Savouring your food in a calm environment helps you tune-in to your body’s signals.You’re less likely to overeat and experience problems like acid reflux when you take your time to really enjoy the moment.

Day 9: Fruits, veggies, dairy and grains  should make up the bulk of your diet. Eating unprocessed foods boosts your nutritional intake and promotes health. 

Day 10: Eat 4-6 servings of vegetables daily. High in nutrients and low in calories, veggies can help prevent diabetes, stroke, heart disease and more. One serving is equal to 1/2 cup.

Day 11: Chew on schedule. Too much time between meals can drop your energy levels, decrease your metabolism and result in overeating. Space your meals evenly throughout the day and eat a healthy snack between each meal.

Day 12: Go nuts! Almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, peanuts, pistachios all contain healthy monounsaturated fats that lower your risk of several diseases. Grab a small handful 3-5 times per week.

Day 13: Monitor your sodium intake. Less than 2,300 mg each day is ideal — that’s about 1 teaspoon of salt. Look for salt-free and reduced-sodium versions of canned and frozen foods.

Day 14: Be a brown bagger. Packing your lunch ensures that you are eating better and saving money. Try lean proteins, whole grain bread, fruit, vegetables with dip, and broth-based soups for a filling meal.

Day 15: Eat a snack before bed. It’s a myth that eating late causes weight gain. As long as you don’t overeat, you can enjoy a snack close to bedtime without worry.

Day 16: Aim for 3-6 servings of grains each day. Rich in energy-boosting carbohydrates, vitamins and fibre, they’re important for overall health. One serving is equal to 1/2-cup cooked (rice, pasta, oats) or 2 slices of bread.

Day 17: Research shows that moderate drinking can prevent certain diseases, but occasional binge drinking has negative effects. Limit it to 1 drink daily for women and 2 drinks for men.

Day 18: Get the nutrition facts. The front of a package wont tell you the whole story. Read labels and compare key nutrients calories, serving size, fat, fibre, calcium and ingredients to make the best choice.

Day 19: Look for “green flag” menu words. Healthy restaurant foods are usually described as baked, boiled, broiled, fresh, grilled, light, multi-grain, poached, reduced, roasted, seasoned, steamed, or stir-fried.

Day 20: Fish for Omega-3’s. Two to three servings per week are good for your heart, brain and body. You'll find it in fatty fish (like salmon and albacore tuna), ground flaxseed, soybean oil and walnuts.

Day 21: It’s autumn, enjoy this seasons freshest picks .

Day 22: Consume the daily recommended amount of protein. Examples include: 1/2 cup cooked beans, sprouts, half a chicken breast, 1 can tuna, 1 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 egg
 
Day 23: Cut the fat. Reduced-fat varieties of your favourite foods (skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurt, etc.) will help you consume fewer calories and watch your waistline. Only 30 per cent of your calories should come from fat — that’s 45-65 grams daily.

Day 24: Fill up on fibre. Found in fruits, veggies, whole grains and beans, fibre will keep you fuller longer and reduce your risk of a variety of diseases. Gradually increase your daily intake to 25-35 grams.

Day 25: Modify your recipes. Keep the tradition and boost the nutrition by making substitutions: whole grain flour, less salt, heart-healthy fats, half the sugar, and beans instead of meat. Your taste buds won’t know the difference!

Day 26: Swap whole for white — grains that is. White flours, breads, rice and pasta are highly processed and low in nutrients. Whole grain varieties are packed with nutrients, fibre and staying power.

Day 27:  Sugar and corn syrup add calories to foods, but have no nutritional value. Buy syrup and sugar-free varieties of fruit spread, applesauce, juice, and canned fruits. 

Day 28: Protect your bones with calcium. Aim for 3 servings of calcium-rich foods daily, such as 1 cup milk, 1 cup yoghurt and 1-2 cubes of cheese. Non-dairy alternatives that are fortified with calcium also make good choices.

Day 29: Shop seasonally. When you eat produce that’s in season, you’re getting the highest quality and freshest flavour while saving money. Change your diet with the seasons and try a variety of colourful foods.
 
Day 30: Watch your portions. While big portions might keep your wallet full, they'll also add to your waistline. Split large entrees with a friend and just say no to super- sizing!

Day 31: Live by the 80/20 rule.  Eating nutritious foods 80 per cent of the time and ‘fun’ foods 20 per cent of the time is a healthy goal. Like all things in life, a healthy diet is about balance and moderation.

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