January 22nd, 2021

Healthy eating is about more than just the food

By Submitted Article on March 24, 2020.

Pat MacIntosh


The theme for Nutrition Month 2020 is “More Than Food.” Healthy eating is not only what you eat but also how you eat. This theme highlights messages from the new Canada’s Food Guide such as: be mindful of your eating habits, cook more often, enjoy your food and eat meals with others. Visit http://www.canada.ca/foodguide to view the complete food guide.

1. Be mindful of how you eat to help you make healthier choices more often and make positive changes to your habits. Create a healthy eating environment where you live, work or play so the healthy choice is the easy choice. At home, stock your fridge and pantry with healthy items. If your gym or work has mostly unhealthy choices, bring food and drinks from home. Use your senses when you eat. Take in the smells, feel the textures, enjoy the tastes of your food. Pay attention to your likes and dislikes. Consider how, why, what, when, where and how much you ate. Were you distracted? Did you eat with others? Were you hungry? Did you stop when you were full? When did you eat? Was it in a space meant for eating? Being able to answer these questions means you were likely being mindful.

2. Cook more often. Cooking allows you to choose your own ingredients and change recipes to make them healthier. You will rely less on highly processed foods and spend less money on eating out. Want to save time as well? Cook once and eat twice. For example, cook twice as much lean ground meat and use the extra for another meal like tacos or spaghetti sauce.

3. Enjoy your food. You will likely enjoy your food more when you use your senses to pay attention to what you are eating. Your enjoyment may also come from growing, shopping and preparing your own food. And don’t forget the importance of your eating environment. Turn on some quiet music; enjoy the company of eating with other people.

4. Eat meals with others. Not only will this help you enjoy your meals, it may help you try new healthy foods you may not normally try. Plan a supper date with friends or neighbours. Eat lunch with a co-worker or friend at school. Put away cellphones, turn off electronics. Take the time to connect with others while you eat.

Hopefully you feel inspired to think about meals as more than just food. Make a goal based on one of the four messages above to help you improve how you eat. One example my friend gave me was, “Our family will turn off phones and electronics at supper time so we can all eat together.” My co-worker has decided to remove the candy bowl that was on her desk. What changes can you make?

For more information about Nutrition Month go to http://www.nutritionmonth2020.ca/.

Pat MacIntosh is a Registered Dietitian with Alberta Health Services, Nutrition Services. She can be reached by email, Patricia.MacIntosh@albertahealthservices.ca.

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