What have you been eating every day?
What does your daily schedule look like?
How has your diet changed since social distancing?
Have you been able to exercise physical activity?
What else have you been doing to stay in shape physically and mentally?
YOU NEED FOOD
Nutrition is the science or study of how your body uses nutrients. Just like a car, your body needs fuel to work properly. The food you eat contains substances called nutrients that provide the energy (fuel) for your body to make new cells, heal, fight illness, grow, be active, think and work.
Here are the 6 kinds of nutrients that provide your body with what you need to think, be active and work properly.
|Proteins are used by the body for growth, and to help build and repair cells. Proteins also help keep muscles, skin, hair, and nails healthy.
|Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body. Some carbs like sugar give you quick energy. Other carbs such as starches give longer lasting energy.
|Fats and Oils are used to help the body store vitamins and build tissue to protect important organs. Fats are also used by the body as a “backup” fuel system.
|Vitamins are needed to help the body use carbohydrates, fats and proteins and to help its systems function. Many kinds of vitamins are essential to your diet.
|Minerals are used by the body to build new cells and control important body processes.
|Water dissolves some vitamins and helps bring nutrients to the cells in your body. Water also helps you swallow and digest foods, and helps keep your body temperature normal.
There is no single food that can supply all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy. That’s why it’s important to include a variety of foods in your diet!
Diet? I’m Not On a Diet!
Think again! Your diet is everything you eat and drink. The question is — is it a healthy or unhealthy diet? A healthy diet is a balanced diet that includes healthy portions from all of the food groups.
How Much is a Serving?
You may be eating good foods each day, but still are not as healthy as you could be because of the amount of food you eat. How much food you eat can be as important to your good health as what you eat.
Many of the portions that we eat today are much larger than the recommended “serving” size. Look at what is considered to be a serving size: in general, 1 slice of bread, 30 g of ready-to-eat cereal or 175ml of cooked rice or cooked pasta, can be considered a 1 ounce equivalent from the grains group.
Quick Tips to Healthy Eating:
- Make half your grains whole grains
- Fill half of your plate with veggies and fruit
- Eat lean proteins
- Find a good balance between eating and exercise
- Eat calcuim-rich foods
Build a Healthy Meal
The Eat Well Plate
The Eat Well Plate helps you follow Eating Well with Canada’s Food Guide when planning and serving meals. The Plate shows food group proportions and encourages you to make half your plate vegetables and fruit.
Vegetables and Fruit
- Give vegetables and fruit the leading role. Make half (½) your plate vegetables and fruit.
- Different vegetables and fruit offer different nutrients for health. Include a variety for good health.
- Include dark green and orange vegetables. They are packed with nutrients.
- Try simple recipes that call for leafy greens such as beet greens, broccoli, chard, collards, kale and spinach.
- Enjoy orange vegetables such as squash (acorn, butternut), pumpkin, sweet potatoes or yams. Try them baked, boiled or pureed in soups.
- Add colour and crunch to your meals by serving up raw vegetables. Serve vegetables like red, yellow or green peppers, carrot sticks, and cherry or grape tomatoes with your meal. Try them with dips made with herbs, spices and lower fat plain yogurt.
- If using canned vegetables, choose those lower in sodium or drain and rinse them well with water.
- Frozen vegetables and fruit are a healthy and convenient option. Choose ones without added seasonings and sauces.
- Eating whole vegetables and fruit is more nutritious than drinking juice. Choose them more often than juice.
- Eat a variety of whole grains such as barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa and wild rice.
- Choose whole grain bread, bagels, pita bread and tortillas instead of croissants, doughnuts or pastries.
- Substitute brown rice in recipes that call for white rice and use whole grain pasta instead of white pasta.
Meat and Alternatives
- If you eat meat, a little goes a long way. Choose lean cuts.
- Choose meat alternatives. Use split peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, lentils or tofu in place of meat. Add them to soups, casseroles, salads, and wraps, or blend them into a dip.
- Eat fish. Choose fish such as char, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines and trout. These types of fish are high in omega 3 fats, which are healthy for your heart.
Milk and Alternatives
- Drink milk (skim, 1% or 2% milk) or unsweetened fortified soy beverage each day.
- Use unsweetened low fat milk (skim, 1% or 2%) or unsweetened fortified soy beverage when preparing scrambled eggs, hot cereal, casseroles and soups.
- Choose milk alternatives such as cheese and yogurt that are lower in fat, sugars and sodium.
- Water is a calorie-free way of staying hydrated. Make water your drink of choice. At some meals, include lower fat milk or unsweetened fortified soy beverages.
- Drink plain or unsweetened sparkling water. Flavour it up: slices of lemon, lime, cucumber or fresh fruit; fresh herbs like basil and mint; a splash of 100% pure fruit juice.
- Add flavour to your water by making your own tea. Boil water and add the following tasty combinations:
- Chopped apple and cinnamon
- Orange slices and cinnamon
- Fresh squeezed lemon and ginger
- Chopped pear and ginger
- Keep a pitcher of water on the table for easy access.
Oils and Fats
- When preparing meals, replace shortening, lard or hard margarines with healthy oils and fats such as canola, olive and soybean.
- For breads and rolls, dip or drizzle olive oil in place of butter.
- Include a small amount of unsaturated fat each day. For example:
- Use soft non-hydrogenated margarine on your toast or bread
- Use canola oil in your pan to make eggs
- Use a vinegar and oil type salad dressing (e.g. Balsamic, Italian, raspberry vinaigrette) on your salad.
- Use olive oil to cook your stir-fry.
Why is water so important?
Water is the most necessary nutrient of them all. People can’t survive for more than a few days without it. Your body is approximately 70% water. You lose precious water each day in your normal activities of breathing, sweating and other things. Your blood is mostly water, which is how it moves nutrients and oxygen to all of your cells. In addition, water helps to lubricate your joints, helps you fight infection and helps your memory — just to name a few. So drink up, drink lots, and drink often. Learn more about keeping healthy with water here.
What is a Calorie?
A calorie is a unit of measure, just like a centimeter or kilogram. Calories measure how much energy food gives your body. Calories also measure how much energy you use up when you are active. When you eat, your body uses food as fuel, burning it to produce energy. Your body needs energy to function.
Calories in some foods are easier for your body to use. Experts recommend you get about half of your calories from carbohydrates, about 1/5 of your calories from proteins, and fats should provide no more than 1/3 of your calories.
Food and your Weight
Your weight stays the same when the number of calories you take in from food equals the number of calories your body uses to maintain itself and be active. That is, if the calories you consume in a day meet your body’s demands, all the calories will be converted to energy. If the number of calories are more than what your body uses and needs, the calories are stored as fat. If you eat too few calories your body may not have enough energy to fuel its cells. Then you won’t have much energy and you may not be able to think clearly.
So in order to maintain a well-balanced diet, you should drink plenty of water, eat healthy portions of foods from all the food groups and have plenty of physical activity.
Eat Well and be Active – Every Day!
The benefits of eating well and being active include:
- Better overall health.
- Lower risk of disease.
- A healthy body weight.
- Feeling and looking better.
- More energy.
- Stronger muscles and bones.
To be active every day is a step towards better health and a healthy body weight.
It is recommended that adults accumulate at least 2 ½ hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week and that children and youth accumulate at least 60 minutes per day. You don’t have to do it all at once. Choose a variety of activities spread throughout the week.
Start slowly and build up.
Another important step towards better health and a healthy body weight is to follow Canada’s Food Guide by:
- Eating the recommended amount and type of food each day.
- Limiting foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar or salt (sodium) such as cakes and pastries, chocolate and candies, cookies and granola bars, doughnuts and muffins, ice cream and frozen desserts, french fries, potato chips, nachos and other salty snacks, alcohol, fruit flavoured drinks, soft drinks, sports and energy drinks, and sweetened hot or cold drinks.
Read the label
- Compare the Nutrition Facts table on food labels to choose products that contain less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar and sodium.
- Keep in mind that the calories and nutrients listed are for the amount of food found at the top of the Nutrition Facts table.
Limit trans fat
When a Nutrition Facts table is not available, ask for nutrition information to choose foods lower in trans and saturated fats.
Take a step today…
- Have breakfast every day. It may help control your hunger later in the day.
- Walk wherever you can – get off the bus early, use the stairs.
- Benefit from eating vegetables and fruit at all meals and as snacks.
- Spend less time being inactive such as watching TV or playing computer games.
- Request nutrition information about menu items when eating out to help you make healthier choices.
- Enjoy eating with family and friends!
- Take time to eat and savour every bite!
For more information, interactive tools or additional copies visit Canada ’s Food Guide on-line at: http://www.healthcanada.gc.ca/foodguide
Sugar – Empty Calories
There are two types of sugars in your diet: naturally occurring sugars and added sugars.
Naturally occurring sugars are found naturally in foods such as fruit (fructose) and milk (lactose). Added sugars include any sugars that are added to foods or beverages during processing or preparation (such as putting sugar in your coffee or adding sugar to your cereal). Added sugars can include natural sugars such as white sugar, brown sugar and honey as well as other caloric sweeteners that are chemically manufactured (such as high fructose corn syrup) (Sugar – 101 – http://www.heart.org/)
Empty calories are a subject of conversation when one is trying to lose or maintain one’s weight. Many of the packaged foods you’ll find at the grocery store contain empty calories. This means they have little nutritional value. Instead, they give your body mostly solid fats and added sugars, which can lead to weight gain and nutritional deficiencies.
We all know the taste of sugar. It is a type of carbohydrate found naturally in fruit, vegetables and milk, It is also added to processed food like jams, soft drinks, cereals, etc to enhance flavour, colour and texture. Our bodies require a certain amount of sugar but unfortunately most Canadians consume an excess amount. Excess consumption of sugar can lead to obesity. Obesity is a risk factor for chronic conditions including cardio-vascular disease, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. Health Canada recommends that most of your consumption of sugar come from fruits, vegetables and milk.
Sugars added to food often are nat labelled ‘sugar”. Some of these may include:
- agave syrup, honey, maple syrup, barley malt syrup or fancy molasses
- fructose, glucose, glucose-fructose (also known as high fructose corn syrup), maltose, sucrose or dextrose
- fruit juice and purée concentrates that are added to replace sugars in foods
How much sugar should you eat?
Because sugar is found naturally in many foods, it is difficult to put an exact number on how much sugar should be in your diet. For labelling purposes, a daily value has been set at 100 g, which close to the average level of consumption of total sugars in Canada.
Examine the following labels for the sugar content only. (There will be more information on the next page):
There are a number of steps, requires to compare these products, First you have to set a serving size. Let’s set the serving size to 125 ml.
Food Labels – A Consistent Look
‘Click here’ to link to food label activity.
Canadian consumers are taking an active role in making informed choices about the foods they buy and the foods they eat. Many consumers regularly refer to the nutrition information listed on food labels when they’re shopping or choosing food for themselves and their family.
Regulations from the Government of Canada require food manufacturers to include nutrition information on food labels using a clear and consistent format. Almost all pre-packaged foods carry a Nutrition Facts table to help consumers make informed food choices. Check it out:
- The Nutrition Facts table has an easy-to-read format and looks the same from product to product.
- The Nutrition Facts table contains information on Calories and at least 13 core nutrients.
Canada’s Food Guide for First Peoples
‘Click here’to view Canada’s Food Guide for First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities.