By Karen Kwan
Consider what you eat day to day. For most of us, our diets are not terrible, but you know you could do a little bit better at eating more balanced meals and incorporating some healthier foods. The good news is that making a few small changes to how you eat is fairly easy to accomplish and stick to. Here are some ways to increase the nutrition of your meals, simply.
Eat more vegetables. You know you should eat more vegetables, but have found it difficult to follow through on it. “Make a concrete goal of where, when and how you are going to eat them,” says Edie Shaw-Ewald, a registered dietitian based in Halifax. “Decide that you are going to eat a half-cup of raw vegetables at lunch every day, for example, and then it won’t take much time or thought at all to cut up some cucumber or throw some baby carrots into a bag every day,” she says.
Start your day off with a better breakfast. This all will depend on where you’re starting from. If you currently don’t eat breakfast at all, commit to a slice of whole-grain toast with peanut butter. Also, remember you will also have to commit to devoting 10 to 15 minutes in the morning to breakfast, says Shaw-Ewald. “Prep smoothie ingredients in a blender in the fridge and blend in the morning and take it in a travel mug for your commute to save time,” she suggests. If you’re already having cereal in the morning, up the nutritional value of it. If you love rice puff cereal, switch to bran flakes for more fibre (or mix some into your rice puffs) and top with some berries for added antioxidants. If, on the other hand, you’re a muffin first thing in the morning kind of girl, consider that muffin as cake and the oiliness of it may just turn you off. Or at least try to wean yourself off of the sugar by switching to a small biscotti instead. “It’s still got a lot of sugar, but it’ll be slightly better for you than that muffin,” says Shaw-Ewald.
Try new-to-you methods of cooking. So many of us boil our veggies—it’s how our moms prepped them and it’s so easy to do. But you’re losing a lot of the water-soluble vitamins that are being leached out into the water and literally going down the drain. For veggies just as delicious and simple to prepare, try steaming instead, says Shaw-Ewald. “If you have a rice cooker, add the steamer basket or the one that came with your pots and pans set when you’re making something on the stovetop and you’ll retain more of those vitamins in your vegetables.” And, of course, winter’s root vegetables lend themselves well to being roasted in the oven.