1. Go for Whole Grains
Make at least half your grain choices whole grains. Examples of whole grains are whole grain wheat, whole oats or oatmeal, pot barley and bulgur. Whole grains are higher in vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (natural plant compounds) than refined grains. Research shows that a diet rich in whole grains is heart healthy.
- Start your day with a bowl of whole grain cereal
- Make sandwiches with whole grain bread or rolls
- Add barley, lentils, kidney beans or brown rice to soups and stews
- Substitute whole-wheat flour for all or part of the white flour when baking
- Choose whole-grain crackers
- Use whole grain pasta
When choosing grain products, pay attention to your serving sizes.
A serving is:
- 1 slice of bread
- ½ bagel, pita or tortilla
- 175 mL (¾ cup) hot cereal
- 30 grams cold cereal
- 125 mL (½ cup) rice or pasta
2. Load Up on Vegetables and Fruit
Vegetables and fruit are packed with nutrients and fibre, so enjoy a wide variety of them. Try to include at least one dark green and one orange veggie daily.
- Try a new vegetable or fruit each week
- Sprinkle some berries over whole grain cereal at breakfast
- Pack a couple pieces of fruit and some raw veggies with your lunch
- Start dinner with a salad of dark greens like spinach or romaine lettuce
- Fill half your plate with vegetables at dinner
- Add a handful of spinach or kale to a fruit smoothie
A serving is:
- 1 medium fresh fruit
- 125 mL (½ cup) chopped fruit or veggies
- 250 mL (1 cup) raw leafy vegetables
- 125 mL (½ cup) 100% juice
3. Make Your Day with Milk Products
Milk products are packed with protein, calcium and B vitamins. And they’re delicious! Enjoy 500mL (2 cups) of milk or fortified soy beverage every day for bone-boosting vitamin D.
- Add milk to soups, casseroles and other home-prepared dishes
- Add defrosted frozen raspberries to plain low fat Greek yogurt for a tasty breakfast
- Bring a few small cheese cubes along with whole grain crackers to work for a quick snack
- Have a frothy latte instead of a cup of coffee for your morning break
- Enjoy a small bowl of whole grain cereal with milk as an after dinner snack
A serving is:
- 250 mL (1 cup) milk; choose lower fat options like skim, 1% or 2% milk
- 50 g (1 ½ oz) cheese
- 175 mL (¾ cup) yogurt
- 250 mL (1 cup) fortified soy beverage
4. Go Lean & Alternative!
Meat and meat alternatives are a good source of protein, iron, zinc and other nutrients. Make lean choices and prepare them with little or no added fat. Enjoy alternatives like legumes (kidney beans, chick peas and lentils) and tofu often.
- Bake, roast or poach meat, fish and poultry
- Enjoy at least two servings a week of fatty fish like salmon, trout and mackerel
- Try meatless meals such as lentils with rice, omelettes, or tofu burgers
- Keep boiled eggs in the fridge for handy, quick snacks
- Sprinkle seeds on stir-frys and salads or enjoy a handful of nuts for a protein-filled snack
A serving is:
- 75 g (2 ½ oz) or 125 mL (½ cup) cooked meat, poultry or fish
- 2 eggs
- 175 mL (¾ cup) cooked legumes
- 175 mL (¾ cup) or 150 g tofu
- 30 mL (2 tbsp) peanut butter
- 60 mL (¼ cup) nuts or seeds
5. Choose Healthier Fats
Fats and oils add a lot of flavour to food, and they help us absorb some nutrients. But diets higher in unhealthy fats are also linked to health risks such heart disease. Enjoy a small amount – 30 to 45 mL (2 to 3 Tbsp) – of healthier unsaturated fat each day. Limit saturated and trans fats.
Healthier unsaturated fats come from foods such as avocados, nuts and seeds as well as oils such as olive, canola, flaxseed or nuts oils.
- Reduce the oil and add a splash of flavoured vinegar or fresh lemon juice to salad dressings.
- Try a little mashed avocado on sandwiches instead of butter or mayonnaise.
- Use herbs and spices to season your food without fat.
- Use small amounts of vegetable oils, such as canola or olive oil instead of butter for stir-frying or sautéing.
- Nibble on a small handful of almonds or walnuts with a piece of fruit for a simple snack