Make These Your Top 5 Nutrition Resolutions For The New Year

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It’s a brand new year. Have you promised yourself that this year you will eat better and exercise more? Even with good intentions it can be hard to stick to your New Year’s resolutions. That’s why we’ve come up with five sensible healthy eating goals that can make this year your healthiest one yet.

Resolution #1: Eat more fish

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that we eat two servings of fish every week (that’s about 1 cup). Fish is an excellent source of protein, low in saturated fat and a source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help keep your heart healthy and help babies in normal brain and eye development.

Some fish have high levels of mercury which can be a health concern. So it’s important to choose fish that are both high in omega- fatty acids and low in mercury. Eating a variety of fish is another good way to keep down mercury levels.

Here are some examples of low mercury fish: salmon, herring, sardines, char, Atlantic mackerel and rainbow trout. 

Canned tuna: Another good fish choice is canned light tuna made from the skipjack or tongol varieties. Albacore and yellowfin tunas are higher in mercury and can be a concern if you eat tuna frequently. Read the ingredients on the can so you know what tuna you are buying.

Some types of fish are very high in mercury, such as fresh or frozen tuna, swordfish and orange roughy. Limit how much you eat of these fish to 1 cup (150 g) per week. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, do not consume more than 1 cup (150 g) of high mercury fish per month.

Here’s how to put this resolution into action:

1) Wrap halibut in parchment paper along with vegetables and herbs and bake in the oven. The fish will pick up the flavours from the veggies and will be moist and tender.

2) Mix a can of salmon with an egg and breadcrumbs to make mini patties, and serve with low fat sour cream or yogurt and dill dip.

3)  Play around with different flavours. Try lemon, garlic, dill, orange-ginger, teriyaki or soy sauce.

Try this recipe for a unique taste: Tea Poached Salmon with Fruit Salsa

For more information:

Fish and Mercury, UnlockFood

Mercury in Fish – Questions and Answers, Health Canada

Resolution #2: Make vegetables and fruit part of every meal

Health Canada recommends choosing one dark green and one orange vegetable each day. Dark green vegetables are rich sources of folate. Folate prevents birth defects and keeps your heart healthy. Orange vegetables and fruit are high in beta-carotene, which becomes vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps protect you from infection and is important for night vision.

Here’s how to put this resolution into action:

1) For breakfast: Make a tropical smoothie with frozen mango, papaya and melon with orange juice and yogurt.

2) For lunch: Have a salad with a dark leafy green like spinach or arugula, or a soup with Swiss chard or kale.

3) For dinner: Add broccoli or Brussels sprouts to pastas and stir fries.  Switch up sweet potato for mashed or roasted potatoes. Make a soup with butternut or acorn squash. 

Try this recipe for a quick and tasty lunch: Swiss Chard Frittata in a Pita

Resolutions #3: Choose water and milk over pop and fruit drinks

Canada’s Food Guide recommends that you satisfy your thirst with water and choose lower fat milk products or fortified soy beverages everyday.   Pop, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit drinks contain lots of calories but are often low in nutrients. And while 100% fruit juice does contain vitamins, you will get more nutrients and fibre by actually eating the whole fruit instead.

Here’s how to put this resolution into action:

1) Drink water before, during and after being active so you stay hydrated. While sports drinks are useful for some types of activity, energy drinks are not appropriate.

2) Sip water throughout the day when you feel thirsty. We often mistake hunger for thirst, so keep a glass of water nearby while you work.

3) Chocolate milk makes a great afternoon snack or nutritious dessert.

Resolution #4: Experiment with whole grains

Health Canada recommends that half of your grain choices, breads and cereal be whole grain. Whole grains are higher in fibre and have more vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals than refined grains. And even though refined grains (such as white flour and white bread) are often fortified with nutrients, it is likely that the whole grain “package” has more benefits for your health.   

The fibre in whole grains can also help you feel full, keep off hunger, and therefore help in maintaining a healthy weight. Try a variety of whole grains such as amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, pot barley, quinoa, spelt, whole oats, whole rye, whole grain wheat and wild rice.

Here’s how to put this resolution into action:

1) Once a week make a pot of oatmeal either in the slow cooker or on the stove. Reheat a breakfast sized portion each morning and top with nuts, fruit and cinnamon.

2) Look for bread that says “100% whole grain” on the ingredient panel. Fill sandwiches with healthy fillings like nut butters, lean meats and lots of veggies.

3)  Try experimenting with a new grain every week like quinoa, barley or buckwheat. Use in soups, rice dishes or salads.

Try this new recipe: Vegetable Quinoa Salad

Resolution #5: Go vegetarian at least once a week

Health Canada recommends having meat alternatives more often. Beans, lentils, tofu, nuts and seeds are high protein, inexpensive alternatives to meat and poultry. Beans and lentils are sources of fibre and folate. Nuts and seeds are also healthy vegetarian foods and provide heart healthy unsaturated fats.

Here’s how to put this resolution into action:

1)  Add chick peas, kidney beans or black beans to salad and soups.

2) Try a tofu stir fry. Sauté tofu with loads of vegetables and add a whole grain like brown rice or quinoa. Top with walnuts or sesame seeds.

3) Experiment with new protein sources such as tempeh, edamame beans, almond butter and red lentils.

Try this for dinner: Quinoa and Lentil Pilaf

You may also be interested in:

Your guide to setting healthy living goals

10 “SMART” physical activity goals 

For tips on keeping New Year’s resolutions: Keeping your New Year’s Resolutions for Good

Last Update – May 10, 2018

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