How to eat better: Top 12 healthy-eating tips

Feeling overwhelmed with healthy-eating tips and advice? Learn how to eat better the easy way with these tips from a dietitian.

By Fran Berkoff

How to eat better: Healthy-eating tips 1-5
This story was originally titled "My Personal Best," in the March 2008 issue. Subscribe to Canadian Living today and never miss an issue!

As a dietitian with 35 years of experience in the art and science of nutrition, I've learned what works and what doesn't. And I've picked up some truths and strategies along the way. Here are my top 12 healthy-eating tips.

1. Keep a food journal.
I've learned, both from research studies and experience, that the most important tool for weight loss or any dietary change is a food diary (in which you keep note of every single thing you eat throughout the day for at least a week). It helps you track what you're eating, makes you accountable and makes it easier for you to identify areas for change. 

2. Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
Even though I've sometimes had to skip it, I always feel more energetic and alert when I have it. My best mornings start with a tall, nonfat latte that I drink in a café after my walk. Back home, I eat either oatmeal (sometimes topped with fresh fruit), whole wheat bread with cheese or with peanut butter, or cottage cheese with fresh fruit. These are healthful choices, and the protein fills me enough to keep me going all morning.

3. Small steps can add up to big permanent changes – whether you are trying to lose weight, lower cholesterol or simply feel better. For instance, I measured the amount of oil I used in several of my recipes and cut it in half. I did this with stir-fry, one of my favourites; it still tastes delicious, and I save about 150 calories each time I eat it – which is about once a week. Over a year, that adds up to 7,800 calories – or a weight loss of two pounds.

4. Eat slowly. It's a wonderful way to savour your food – and to eat less. Slow eating has become second nature for me, and many of my clients have found it helpful. Start by putting your fork down between bites, chewing a bit more or cutting food into smaller pieces.

5. Give in to your love of sweets, but do it with control. I love chocolate (and wish it were one of the food groups), so I still eat it. But now I buy only top-quality chocolate, for its exceptional taste, and eat a small piece, really savouring it. If I need just a little chocolate fix, I sprinkle chocolate on my latte or make myself a sugar-free hot chocolate.

Page 1 of 2 – check out more healthy eating tips on the next page!


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