Have you made a New Year’s resolution to eat well this year?
If not – it’s not too late! Whatever you resolve to do, don’t make your goal too ambitious. Try to make small changes throughout the year. You don’t have to do it all at once. Modify your plan and goal as needed to stay on track.
Are you unsure about what area of your diet your resolution should address? The BC Dairy’s FoodTrack™ series can help you identify areas that could be improved and help you make a plan to address them.
Start by using Check on Balance to assess what you eat and compare it to your recommended intake. If you identify a food group that needs attention, focus on improving it until you are consistently meeting your recommended servings. Typically, the two most under-consumed food groups are Vegetables and Fruit and Milk and Alternatives. Once you’re on track with the food groups you identified, use Check on Balance a couple of times a year to make sure you continue to meet your needs.
Do you need some help meeting your recommended servings for a food group? Here are some ideas:
Vegetables and Fruit
- Keep a bowl of washed fruit in plain sight in the kitchen. You are more likely to eat it if it is visible.
- Freeze sliced, over-ripe bananas in separate freezer bags or containers. For a delicious snack, blend one with some milk and one tablespoon of cocoa powder until smooth.
- Add extra vegetables to omelettes, casseroles, and soups.
- Have fruit for dessert – roast apples and pears with cinnamon and a touch of maple syrup. Eat leftovers with oatmeal or yogurt in the morning.
- Keep a bag of mixed frozen vegetables in the freezer to add to a stir-fry during the week.
- Roast a batch of vegetables each Sunday to add to meals on busy nights.
- Are at least half of your grain products whole grain each day? If not, here are some good ideas for action:
- Explore different grains. Replace white rice or pasta with whole wheat pasta, wheat berries, kamut, teff, or bulgur.
- Start slow by replacing half of your usual refined grain with a whole grain.
- Check out the bulk section at your grocery store and try a new whole grain every week until you find some new favourites.
- Use barley to make risotto instead of arborio rice.
- Replace half of the white flour in a recipe with whole wheat.
Whole grains are a great source of fibre. Do you get enough? To find out more about how much fibre you’re getting, take a look at FoodTrack Check on Fibre.
Milk and Alternatives
- Use plain yogurt to make creamy dips.
- Swap your americano for a latte in the morning.
- Add plain Greek yogurt to your smoothie instead of a protein powder. Some Greek yogurts contain as much as 18 grams of protein per 3/4 cup! Check the label.
- Use milk to make hot cereal and soups instead of water or broth.
- Try kefir! It is a fermented milk beverage that provides a large dose of probiotics to support gut health.
Want to learn more? Try the Calcium Calculator™️ interactive tool to assess your intake and plan change if needed.
Meat and Alternatives
- Considering 2016 is the year of the pulses, embrace these delicious meat alternatives this year! Pulses include lentils, beans, peas and chickpeas. Add pulses to salads, soups, stews, grain dishes, and casseroles.
- Make sure each meal (yes, breakfast too!) includes a good source of protein. Keep grab-and-go sources on hand, such as hard boiled eggs, canned fish, or containers filled with a ¼ cup of nuts and seeds.
See FoodTrack Check on Protein for more ideas and to find out if you are on track.
While eating well is important to feel good and maintain health, is it also important to enjoy the foods you are eating. So make it a priority to pick foods that support health that you also enjoy!
The BC Dairy Association’s FoodTrack series will keep you on track this New Year and give you many ideas to support eating well. Want to see what other nutrition resources we have? Check out our store here.
Best of luck making a fresh start to eating well in the New Year! Have questions about our FoodTrack series? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Melissa Baker, MHSc, RD