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Our weekly food tracker lets you journal your eating habits so you can learn how to eat better. Image by: Thinkstock
Our weekly food tracker lets you journal your eating habits so you can learn how to eat better.
Crunchy-Top Blueberry Muffins
Photography by Mark Burstyn Image by: Crunchy-Top Blueberry Muffins <br /> Photography by Mark Burstyn
Are you suffering from any of these bad nutrition habits? Read on for easy ways to get back on track with your weight-loss goals.
When it comes to nutrition, we all have certain habits that need to be broken. While some treats and indulgences are harmless in moderation, some habits can have negative effects on your general health such as weight gain, fatigue, irritability and faulty digestion.
Here are 5 of the worst nutrition habits and advice on how to break them.
1. Drinking too much coffee
A certain amount of morning java can help to boost alertness, performance and concentration. In addition to containing anti-oxidants, research also suggests coffee contains health benefits that can lower the risk of heart disease, decrease the risk of Parkinson’s disease and help prevent gallstones. But, when your body has had too much caffeine you can experience numerous ill effects such as increased in heart rate and blood pressure, the jitters and dehydration. Also, too much coffee can interfere with proper absorption and elimination and can upset optimal weight loss results.
While you do not have to retire your coffee mug completely, the key to drinking coffee is moderation. Research suggests you can safely consume one to two cups of coffee a day.
2. Eating after dinner
After a long hard day, many of us turn to snacking after dinner to soothe emotions, deal with stress or as a treat in front of the TV. Unfortunately, late-night snacking is a one-way ticket to weight gain. Ideally, after dinnertime, the kitchen should be considered closed. If you have eaten a sufficient dinner with a protein source, you should be left feeling satisfied. If you still are feeling the need to snack at night, opt for lighter calorie foods that do not create excess weight gain such as unsweetened apple sauce, a small yogurt, vegetables, soup broths or air popped pop corn.
3. Skipping breakfast
When Mom told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, she was right. Research suggests those who skip breakfast make poorer food choices throughout the day and tend to gain more weight then those who enjoy a healthy breakfast. While you do not have to consume a huge meal first thing in the morning, it is important to spark your metabolic engine and eat a small balanced meal in the morning hours. Natural yogurts, low fat cottage cheese, steel cut oats, fruit, whole grain bread and natural nut butters and fruit are all terrific options to start your day off on the right foot.
4. Falling prey to the afternoon slump
Is it usually the mid or late afternoon when you start to feel groggy and your craving for sweets rears its ugly head? Before you know it, you have grabbed a muffin, cookie or some other starchy carbohydrate to satisfy your hankering for refined, sugary goods. While grabbing a treat mid-day might make you feel better temporarily, you are encouraging the cycle of energy and blood sugar fluctuations, eventually causing weight gain.
Instead of grabbing a processed sweet treat, opt for natural sweets such as a handful of healthy trail mix with raisins, protein bars, fruit, yogurt, vegetables and hummus, a salted hard-cooked egg or a small piece of dark chocolate with at least a 70-per-cent cocoa.
5. Not drinking enough water
Symptoms of dehydration include fatigue, headaches, bloating and weakness, and can cause premature signs of aging. Drinking your six to eight glasses of water every day needs to become a habit. To get in the habit, put a dot on your hand as a reminder. Whenever you look at the dot, take a few sips of water. Keep your water handy at your desk, in your car or invest in a home water dispenser unit. Squeeze fresh lemon to you water for a refreshing taste and reap the benefits from its detoxifying properties.
If you identify with one of the bad habits listed above, just remember the key is moderation. Small changes such as making better choices when wanting sweets, drinking more water or eating a balanced morning meal can have positive effects on your health, weight and energy.
The times have changed when it comes to meat consumption, according to Renelle Briand of Health Canada. “Many of us grew up in households where meat took center stage on the dinner plate. Today, there is a greater emphasis on meat alternatives, vegetables, fruit and whole grain foods,” she says.
Last week, University of Waterloo’s school of public health became the first in Canada to endorse Meatless Mondays—and if a major university in Canada can do it, so can you.
Here’s why cutting back on meat is beneficial for your health:
1. Reduce saturated fat intake
The most recent Canada’s Food Guide suggests that people choose more beans, lentils, and tofu among other meat alternatives as a way to minimize saturated fat. “Though some saturated fat in our diet shouldn't be harmful, if you're eating a lot of it, that may negatively affect your health,” says dietitian Abby Langer. Since the majority of saturated fat comes from animals and animal by-products, cutting out meat is an easy way to decrease your saturated fat intake.
2. Curb the risk of cancer
“Processed meats such as lunch meats and bacon have been connected to an increased risk of some cancers,” says Langer. In 2015, The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified processed meat as carcinogen, and red meat as a probable carcinogen. To reduce your risk, limit your intake of both.
3. Improve heart health
Meat alternatives provide nutrients such as iron, zinc, magnesium, B vitamins, and protein. “While nuts and seeds are meat alternatives that can be high in calories, they contain monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fats, which are beneficial for cardiovascular health,” says Briand.
The best part about Meatless Mondays is that it’s so simple! Here are five veggie-friendly recipes to get you started.