Lower the Salt, Raise the Consciousness

SaltOkay, so I missed Friday’s posting… that’s no reason not to round out the rest of 2015’s healthy habits! I think a big one for 2015 should also be forgiveness (hint, hint). So what is on tap for October, November and December? Eat less salt and be more aware of the food you eat, both in its size and quality. Over the past few years my mother has been drastically cutting down on the amount of salt she cooks with to help keep my step-father healthy. Upon looking in her pantry, I never realized a) how many low-sodium versions of products were out there and b) how much freakin’ salt is in EVERYTHING! Wanna see something scary? Check out the sodium levels on some of your everyday items. I’m not even talking about the bag of chips that you binge on. I mean regular everyday things. The sodium levels on a “regular” can of green beans? For ½ cup serving, you’re looking at 310mg of sodium. That’s 13% of your daily recommended limit! For green beans!

So what can we do about this? Well, this is where the portion control and mindful eating comes in. Be mindful of what you’re eating and how much of it you’re consuming. For that same ½ cup of beans that you nibbled on before, if you got fresh beans instead of canned, and just boiled them (though steaming keeps more nutrients), it would only cost you 7mg of sodium. That’s right, you’re looking at a difference of something like 98% (I cook, I don’t do math). So what would you rather? Some processed brownish-greenish, soggy beans, or crisp, brightly coloured emerald jewels laying deliciously on your plate? Yeah, I thought so. Eating healthy though doesn’t have to be boring. Market your food to yourself! Try and switch up your menus so that more colour is represented on the plate. It is more appealing to the eye AND brightly coloured foods tend to have more of the nutrients we seek in them (y’know, Mother Nature’s way of telling us that orange carrots and red peppers are chalk full of vitamins!). So keep in mind what you eat and how much of it, but most of all, ENJOY IT! If you’re not happy with what’s on your plate, you’re never going to feel satisfied at the end of your meal.

OctoberEat Less Salt!
Cut back on North America’s favourite seasoning.

NovemberBe Portion Aware
Find simple strategies that can help you eat a little less—without even thinking.

DecemberMindful Eating
Eat mindfully, be thankful. Learn the ways—in this busy season and throughout the year—to find joy in food and to share that joy with others.

Healthy Habits – Gear up for Grains and Cooking!

GrainsOkay, personally, I love the tips for March and April. I mean, who can resist encouraging people to cook more? Admittedly, there was a time when I ate out almost every meal. Besides the financial cost (which is staggering), you don’t realize how much more fat and sodium is in a restaurant meal in comparison to a home cooked one. The reasons are pretty simple, other than of course that fat and salt taste good (sorry, but they do!). A restaurant may use pre-made mixes and seasonings, full of sodium, MSG and a whole slew of unhealthy additives. Additionally, you may only use a teaspoon or so of oil at home to saute your veggies, but I can assure you, the restaurant is using a whole lot more. So, to combat this tasty, tasty enemy, we need to do more of our own cooking. Nothing complex or crazy, just simple, good, home-made meals. Yes, you can still eat out, I’m not banning you from your take-out menus, just try and keep things a little more in balance.

MarchCook More!
The third Healthy Habits is to cook at least 3 meals more per week than you are now, even if that means cooking breakfast or lunch. Try checking out some of the crock-pot meals that I posted a while back (check out the archives, dates 8/25 through 9/5) for ideas on how to prepare a great meal ahead of time.

AprilGo for Whole Grains!
The Canadian daily food guide says that an adult female (19-50 years old) needs 6-7 servings of Grain Products a day (8 for males). What does your intake look like? Try and add at least 3 servings of whole grains to your daily diet. See today’s recipe for Freekeh Chicken!

Tomorrow? May, June and July!