When it comes to nutrition and healthy eating, people tend to look for a quick fix! The ketogenic diet, intermittent fasting, and weight watchers are currently amongst the most popular fad diets. Although these diets may assist in short-term weight loss and management of some illnesses, they may promote the restriction of food and unsustainable dietary changes. These diets are often very strict and require the restriction of foods and/or food groups. Eating healthy is all about balance and small sustainable change! If you are looking to eat healthier without dieting, try incorporating these 3 recommendations.
1. Use the Balanced Plate Method
In 2019, Canada’s Good Guide got a makeover! Instead of emphasizing food groups and portion sizes, the balanced plate method was promoted as a tool to help Canadians build a balanced plate. The recommendation is to include ¼ plate of grains and starches such as potato, rice, or pasta, ¼ plate of protein, such as chicken, beef, or lentils, and ½ plate of fruits and non-starchy vegetables. Some examples of non-starchy vegetables include lettuce, carrots, and peppers. The balanced plate method can also be applied to soups, wraps, and bowls. For example, when preparing a balanced and hearty soup, try incorporating beans, pasta, carrots, and spinach.
2. Eat Every 2-4 hours
When the body goes long periods of time without food, it is difficult to keep blood sugars stable. Unstable blood sugars can lead to a lack of energy, overeating during mealtimes, and cravings for sugar later in the day. To stabilize blood sugars, aim to have a morning and afternoon snack with both protein and carbohydrates. The carbohydrates offer the body energy, while protein helps to sustain that energy over time. Some examples of a balanced snack include:
- Peanut butter and apple slices
- Hummus, carrots, and celery
- Greek yogourt and fruit
- Cheese and whole-grain crackers
- Trail mix and mixed berries
3. Ditch the “Junk Food” Mentality
Do you remember learning about “healthy” and“unhealthy” foods? The truth is that no food will directly cause illness or make one “unhealthy”. Yes, some foods are more nutritious than others, however, all foods fit in a healthy and balanced diet. The “junk food” mentality may lead to feelings of guilt and shame when eating certain foods deemed “junk”. Next time, you are craving a bowl of chips or a pizza slice, enjoy it and move on. You can also try pairing it with more nutritious food, such as fruit or a side salad.
Thus, if you are looking for a sign to quit dieting for good, this is it! Using the balanced Plate Method, eating every 2-4 hours, and ditching the “junk food” mentality are 3 simple and sustainable changes can you make to achieve a healthier and more balanced diet.
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