Skip to content
Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities Home

Nutrition Month 2021: Daily Tips to Improve Your Health

May 9, 2022

March is nutrition month, here are some tips and information to consider to help improve your health

Did you know that March is Dietitians Month in Canada? Dietitians can give you personalized nutrition advice to help you #FindYourHealthy!

A dietitian can help you to make the best food choices and take care of your health. They will give you support, knowledge, skills and advice. You don’t have to have a health issue to work with a dietitian, here are 5 reasons on why you should see a dietitian.  Many dietitians offer services virtually and most employee benefit plans cover dietitian services. You should check  your plan today but first here are some tips from our staff which you can read below and implement into your daily lives.  

Prior to implementing dieting changes, there are a few questions you need to be mindful of your eating habits and creating a healthy eating environment.

Create a healthy eating environment

Your eating environment changes depending on where you live, learn, work and play. Regardless of where you are, try to make changes to your surroundings so that the healthy choice is the easy choice.

Use your senses

Being mindful of the foods you eat encourages you to pay attention to the aromas, textures, flavors and taste of food. Pay attention to your likes and dislikes using these senses.

Consider your eating habits

  • How you ate?
    • Did you eat slowly? Were you distracted? Did you eat with others?
  • Why you ate?
    • Were you hungry? Was it offered to you?
  • What you ate?
    • What did you have to eat and drink?
  • When you ate?
    • What time was it? How long had it been since the last time you ate?
  • Where you ate?
    • Were you in a space meant for eating?
  • How much you ate?
    • How much food and drink did you have?

Being able to recall and describe answers to these questions means you were likely being mindful of your eating habits. However, in life different events can occur unexpectedly, and stress will arise. If your eating habits change when you feel stressed, you are not alone! Everybody reacts differently to stress, but there are healthy habits you can develop to help cope.

  • Enjoy movement. Get outside for a walk, stretch or do some yoga, play an active game with your family.
  • Get enough sleep. It’s recommended to get 7-8 hours a night. Start to develop a calming bedtime routine and limit screen time an hour before bed.
  • Engage in activities you enjoy. Call a friend or family member, cook or bake, spend time with your kids, listen to your favourite music.
  • Reach for brain nourishing foods. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats such as nuts and seeds, avocado, and fish all support brain health to cope better with stress.

To help implement this while also fueling your body, you can start by eating healthy snacks throughout the day to help maintain stable blood sugar levels and lead to more consistent energy throughout the day. Snacks can also curb your appetite and prevent overeating at meals.

Here are 8 great ideas!

  1. Carrots and peppers with hummus
  2. Almonds butter on banana slices
  3. Greek yogurt topped with berries
  4. Whole grain toast with peanut butter
  5. Cheddar cheese and apple slices
  6. Small handful of trail mix made with nuts, seeds and raisins
  7. Whole grain toast with avocado and sesame seeds
  8. Whole grain cereals with milk 

Of course you still need to have your main meals, which starts with breakfast. However, do  you struggle to make time for breakfast? Preparing it the night before can help save time the next morning and start your day off great! For example, a great way to enjoy this is having overnight oats: ½ cup oats mixed with ½ cup milk topped with your favourite fruit, nuts and cinnamon! Allow to sit in the fridge overnight for the oats to soak up and “cook” in the liquid.

Another great breakfast idea is a Pear Raspberry Yogurt Muesli. ​

Something else you probably heard about when it comes to dieting and nutrition is your sodium intake and cholesterol level. Fortunately for you, we have some tips to help you! 

Cholesterol is a fat-like substance that is part of your body’s cells and helps you to make vitamin D and certain hormones.  However, having high cholesterol levels put you at higher risk for heart disease. Here are actions you can take to prevent or lower higher cholesterol levels:

  • Make sure you get adequate soluble fibre.  Aim for 10-25 g/day.  Choose whole grain breads and cereals, oats, oat bran, psyllium, beans, peas, lentils, eggplant and okra
  • Read labels and avoid foods made with trans, hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat, such as fried foods, potato chips, donuts, crackers, and baked goods.
  • Increase your intake of foods that contain unsaturated fat, like avocado, unsalted nuts & seeds and fish.
  • Be physically active
  • Quit smoking 

Some facts about sodium:

  • Healthy adults need 1500mg of sodium per day
  • Healthy children need 1000 to 1500mg of sodium per day.
  • Most Canadians consume 3400mg of sodium per day, which is too much.
  • Too much sodium can lead to health problems like high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. 

Some tips to help you reduce  sodium intake:

  • Try fresh or dried herbs and spices, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, lime juice, onions and pepper to flavor your foods instead of salt, kosher salt, sea salt, celery salt, garlic salt or onion salt or soy sauce
  • Try reduced sodium tomato sauce, homemade pasta sauce made with tomatoes, herb and spices instead of store bought pasta sauce
  • Try quick cooking oats made with water or milk instead of instant hot cereals
  • Try fruit and vegetables, unsalted popcorns or unsalted nuts instead of chips, salted pretzels or other salty snacks.

That’s just some of our tips from our SCHC staff but if you need to make an appointment to speak with one of our dietitians you can definitely contact us by calling 416-642-9445!