Talking Nutrition with South Georgian Bay's Community Dietitian

By Courtney O'Neill, RD, MPH, DE

Well it looks like you are going to be hearing from me a lot more often! Hi, my name is Courtney O'Neill and I am the Registered Dietitian here at the centre. I am starting a monthly column in our centre's newsletter in response to the volume of questions I receive everyday around health, nutrition and disease management. My intention of this column is to provide people with all the information they need to make better decisions about the food they eat.

It's fitting that I am starting this column in March, as this month is appropriately labelled Nutrition Month. Dietitians across the country use this time to creatively promote information and guidance to help Canadians choose, eat and enjoy healthy food. This year, we want Canadians to think about making small changes to their eating with every meal, and that's why the theme has been titled Take a 100 Meal Journey: Make Small Changes, One Meal at a Time.  We eat close to 100 meals each month and that means at least 100 opportunities to make small changes.    


So how does this relate to you? The reality is that many of us are slowly losing touch with what it means to "eat healthy". Our lives are busy, our time is limited and our cooking skills are weaker than ever. These factors have led us to be more reliant on convenient foods and our health is starting to suffer. I don't think we can blame ourselves for this shift in food but let's start taking responsibility for what's on our fork.   Let's make sure we know that Nutella© has more calories, fat, sugar than chocolate frosting, that juice has almost the same amount of sugar as pop, that Vitamin Water© has 8 tsps of sugar and that you can exceed your daily sodium recommendation with just 2 Tbsps of some soy or stir-fry sauces. Crazy right?

Instead of being overwhelmed, start small - I mean really small. Maybe it's the same meal every day or maybe it's your daily drink choice or a healthier snack at night. Whatever it is, make it specific. Here are some of my favourite ideas that I try to do daily or weekly:

  • Plan your meals for the entire week before you go shopping. You will be less stressed and have more money.
  • Start eating protein at all meals, breakfast included.
  • Cut up all your vegetables and fruit on days off. Trust me, you will never be mad at yourself.
  • Only keep fruit on your counter.
  • Add dried or canned beans to your next dinner. They work in almost anything.
  • Make half your plate vegetables at lunch and dinner. So important!
  • Eat at least one meal with someone every day.

Takeaway: The month of March highlights tips and strategies that Canadians can use each and every day of the year. So be honest with yourself, can you change anything?  Start today. For more ideas, visit http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-Month/Nutrition-Month.aspx





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