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How You Can Take Action to Eat Healthier

Recognizing that we can all do better in our personal behaviour to eat healthier, below are a few easy actions that might help all of us along the road to good nutrition:

  • Assess your pantry, fridge and freezer for items you would consider whole foods. These foods provide great nutrition since they are a source of more complex micro-nutrients that provide essential dietary fiber and naturally occurring protective phytochemicals, compared to the prepared, processed, heat & serve items that may be in there, too.  What are you dedicating more space to?
     
  • Contemplate a few purchases of raw, fresh foods and pantry staples that would give you some basic ingredients to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Also look at your storage/travel containers to ensure you have what you need to bring home-made food along as you and your family members go about their activities. Food basics may include:
     
    • In the fridge:  eggs, milk, 10% cream, unsweetened not from concentrate fruit juice, butter, yogurt, raw vegetables, fruit, cheese, tomato or vegetable juice, mushrooms, fresh herbs, mayonnaise, pesto, fresh made salsa, hummus
       
    • In the storage pantry:  garlic, onions, vegetable oil, olive & other oils, salt, sugar, dry herbs, long grain rice, dry beans, dry pasta, grains (oats, quinoa, barley), split peas, potatoes, preserved simple tomato sauce, pickled vegetables, flour, corn starch, baking power, baking soda
       
    • Dry snacks:  tortillas, whole wheat grain or rye bread, whole grain crackers, bread sticks, popcorn, natural peanut or nut butters, seasonal fruit, honey, seeds, nuts, whole grain cereals and granola
       
    • In the freezer:  frozen in-season fruit & vegetables, sustainably caught or farmed fish, poultry, and meats. Home-made casseroles, pasta dishes, soup stocks, locally made sausages.

  • Try to increase the number of home-made meals you make each week that can be eaten for lunch and dinner.

  • Avoid saturated oils and sodium-rich breaded and fried foods when cooking
     
  • Allocate some weekend time to prepare soup, chili or stew using fresh ingredients, allowing you to eat easily throughout the week
     
  • Prepare a constant salad bowl or raw veggies stored in the fridge with a selection of simple vinaigrettes, yogurt or sour cream based dressings or dips
     
  • Make sure there is a constant fruit bowl available and accessible
     
  • Start an indoor herb or leaf lettuce garden in a window container. If you have some sunny outdoor space prepare a garden bed (any size will do), start seeds indoors or out, and transplant in succession for a constant fresh supply of greens.
     
  • If you don't have access to outdoor land for a garden, consider applying for a community garden plot or asking a friend, family or neighbour for a little space (backyard sharing).
     
  • Make visiting a farmers market a habit that works with your schedule (weekly, bi-weekly or monthly) and develop relationships with the vendors so you can get to know the farmers and food source.
     
  • Use a grocery store or visit a restaurant that consistently offers a selection of locally sourced fruit, vegetables, meats and other items. Don't be afraid to ask the managers questions, they need to know what their customers want.