Happy Nutrition Month! Did you know Canadians consume almost 100 meals each month? That's 100 unique opportunities to make small simple changes to your diet that will stick. Need some ideas of where to start? Check out these easy tips!
Break the habit of relying on processed convenience foods by cooking meals in bulk. This takes planning but will save you time during the week. Commit to cooking just one night or afternoon a week. Choose recipes that store or freeze well: homemade steel cut oatmeal, chilli, soup, stew, grain salad, lasagna, homemade burgers, roasted root vegetables, etc. Quadruple the recipes, portion and pack them up into enough breakfasts and lunches for the week that you can just grab on your way out the door. Freeze any extras for future meals or when you don’t have any time at all to devote to cooking. To fill in any meal gaps, rely on containers of pre-washed mixed greens. These transform easily into quick salads when combined with canned tuna, beans or legumes, nuts and seeds.
When it comes to healthy snacking between meals, make every bite count. Refuel with snacks that provide fats, protein and fibre for energy and satiety. This will keep blood sugar levels from plummeting between meals. Have fruit on hand (grapes, apples, oranges, bananas) and pair with a protein (nuts, seeds, low-fat cheese or yogurt). Pre-cut vegetables (celery, peppers, carrots, radishes) keep well all week and are delicious with hemp-seed filled hummus.
Lastly, enjoy a meatless dinner once a week. By cutting out meat once a week, you can improve your health and reduce your carbon footprint. Try incorporating pulses, which are the edible seeds of plants in the legume family such as dried beans, chickpeas and lentils. Pulses have twice as much protein as whole grains; they are high in fibre, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Plus from an environmental standpoint they have a lower carbon footprint and leave behind nitrogen, a valuable nutrient, in the soil for future crops.
For the month of March, take the 100-meal journey and make these simple changes to save time and improve your health.