(NC) Healthy eating isn’t what it used to be. Between the advice your bestie dishes out over brunch and the conflicting information from Dr. Google, it can be hard to sort out fact from fiction. “A registered dietitian can help you wade through the nutrition information you find to personalize an eating strategy that works for you,” states Desiree Nielsen, a registered dietitian in Vancouver.
While nutrition fads may come and go there are a few sensible steps that can help anyone wishing to eat healthier and surprisingly, they don’t involve cutting out your favourite foods. “One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is getting too rigid with their diets,” says Nielsen. “I prefer to focus on positive, additive changes that feel good and eventually crowd out less healthy habits.” With that in mind, why not challenge yourself to introduce these healthy eating tips, one at a time?
Get to know seeds
Seeds, the often-overlooked cousins of nuts, can boost nutrition in our modern, nutrient-deficient diets. Pumpkin seeds are rich in zinc, which supports immune and skin health. Hemp seeds are protein-rich; chia and flax seeds introduce soothing soluble fibre and anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acids to the diet. Add seeds to salads, smoothies and morning oatmeal or look for products, such as Nature’s Path Pumpkin Flax Granola (6 grams protein, 5 grams fibre per serving), that feature seeds.
Power up with plant protein
After decades of being told that plant protein is incomplete, research is revealing reasons to embrace it. “We used to think that you had to combine plant proteins at a single meal, but that is no longer valid,” says Nielsen. Plant based protein is economical, versatile and loaded with fibre to help you feel satisfied and feed the growth of beneficial bacteria that protect your health and fight inflammation. Try swapping lentils for ground beef in favourite recipes. Replace salt-filled luncheon meats with baked tofu or add roasted chickpeas to a salad for protein-rich crunch.
Fill half your plate with produce
Fruits and vegetables are packed with water and fibre, which Nielsen says will help you fill up without over-consuming calories. Simply double the portion of fruits or vegetables in your favourite recipes. In addition to filling fibre, fruits and vegetables contain anti-inflammatory phytochemicals that help protect you from chronic disease.