The importance of good nutrition
Good nutrition is essential at any age. Healthy eating can :
- help you feel good
- provide energy and nutrients that are essential for good health
- prevent chronic diseases, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes
Many people think that eating well is difficult because :
- buying healthy food can be expensive
- they are faced with a variety of food choices
- it can be difficult to find the time to prepare healthy meals
- it becomes complicated to determine which foods are best because of conflicting messages
You can overcome these barriers to healthy eating by adopting new healthy eating habits.
Healthy eating habits
Adopting healthy eating habits can help you overcome these barriers and make it easier to choose healthy foods.
Choose a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and protein foods that you enjoy.
Each day, choose a variety of :
- vegetables and fruit, including:
- dark green vegetables like kale and bok choy every day
- orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes most days
- Whole grain foods, such as
- wild rice
- whole wheat pasta
- Protein foods, such as
- nuts and seeds
- fish and seafood
- beans, peas and lentils
- lean red meat, including game
- lower-fat dairy products such as milk and yogurt
- fortified soy beverages, tofu, soybeans and other soy products
Eating a variety of healthy foods is the best way to get the nutrients you need. Since vitamin D is found in very few foods, eat foods containing vitamin D or take a supplement of 400 IU (10 µg) of vitamin D every day.
If you are likely to become pregnant, you should take a multivitamin containing 400 µg (0.4 mg) of folic acid every day. Multivitamins may also contain vitamin D.
Make healthy beverage choices
Choosing healthy beverages is just as important as choosing healthy foods.
Make water your drink of choice.
Healthy drink options other than water can include
- white milk (unsweetened, lower fat)
- unsweetened fortified vegetable drinks
Plan meals and snacks
It takes less time than you think to serve healthy meals quickly. It’s all in the preparation.
Follow the healthy eating guidelines to help you plan what to eat:
- planning your meals and making a grocery list to make sure you have the ingredients in your kitchen so you can prepare meals quickly
- making certain foods and storing them in the freezer, for example
- cooked rice
- pizza dough
- pasta dishes
- lean ground turkey
Create a healthy eating environment
You can make healthy food choices by creating a healthy eating environment wherever you are. You can do this by checking food labels to help you make an informed choice
doubling up on recipes so you have leftovers for quick meals having easy-to-grab, ready-to-eat snacks such as vegetables or fruit:
- at work
- on the counter
- in the fridge
Keeping a container of water in the fridge or on the table, or carrying a reusable water bottle
Make healthy food choices
Use some of these ideas as inspiration for making healthy food choices:
- eat vegetables and fruit at every meal and snack
- eat beans, lentils and other legumes several times a week
- ask about nutritional information when eating away from home
- avoid biscuits, baked goods, chips and other salty snacks or sugary drinks