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FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The easy way to accommodate healthy eating

Do your eating habits need a makeover? Despite our good intentions, there are times we all get off track. To refresh your diet, simply start with the 3 E’s:

Early

Eat early. Breakfast is the best way to start your day. It “breaks the fast” after a night of not eating and boosts your energy for the day ahead. If time is short in the morning, try getting part of your breakfast ready the night before.  

Build a complete meal at breakfast. Include fruit or vegetables, grains and protein. Think outside the cereal box with these tasty suggestions:

  • Whole wheat tortilla spread with peanut butter and wrapped around a banana
  • Scrambled eggs, mashed avocado and tomato slices on an English muffin
  • Green smoothie (fruit, spinach,  yogurt and milk)
  • Oatmeal, ground flaxseed, berries and milk. In a rush? Try plain instant oatmeal. It is unsweetened, so you can control how much sweetness you add. 
  • Whole wheat waffles topped with banana slices and walnuts
  • Whole grain bagel topped with cheese and tomato
  • Yogurt parfait (Greek yogurt, fruit and dry cereal)

Every 3-5 hours

Eat small frequent meals and snacks to spread your calories throughout the day. This helps increase your energy and prevents overeating. When you go too long between meals, you get so hungry that it is hard to make healthy choices. Everything starts to look good, especially those high-sugar and high-fat comfort foods. You are more likely to eat quickly and eat too much. These extra calories can lead to weight gain.

Have a snack if there are more than three to five hours between your meals. Put healthy snacks on your grocery list so you always have them on hand.  

Speedy Snacks:

  • Apple slices with almond butter
  • Celery sticks with peanut butter
  • Chocolate milk
  • Canned fruit and cottage cheese
  • Homemade trail mix (dry cereal, dried fruit and nuts)
  • Melon cubes and cheese
  • Lower fat microwave popcorn 
  • Raw veggies and hummus  
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Homemade muffin

Enjoy

Good food is one of life’s greatest pleasures. It’s OK to treat yourself in moderation. The secret is to fully enjoy what you are eating.

  • Practise mindful eating. Allow yourself time to taste and enjoy every bite without feeling guilty. A small taste may satisfy your craving if you slow down and savour it. 
  • Eat slowly and chew your food well. Put your fork down between bites.
  • Stop eating when you are full or if you are not enjoying the food.

Crunchy Granola Parfaits 

Serves 8 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups (375 ml)    Rolled oats 

1/4 cup (60 ml)         Chia seeds

1/4 cup (60 ml)        Walnuts, chopped

1/4 cup (60 ml)        Apple sauce, sweetened 

1 1/2 tsp (7 ml)        Cinnamon

1/2 tsp (2 ml)        Nutmeg

1/2 tsp (2 ml)        Allspice

2 1/2 cups (625 ml)    Vanilla yogurt, fat free

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 F. 
  • Mix oats, chia seeds and walnuts together in a large mixing bowl. 
  • Whisk apple sauce and spices together in a small bowl. Pour over oat mixture and mix until well coated. 
  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread mixture over paper. 
  • Bake for 15 minutes. Stir granola and bake for another 15 minutes. The granola will be dry and golden brown when done. 
  • Portion out about ⅓ cup yogurt in each dish. Serve ¼ cup granola over the top. 

Nutrition Information per Serving: 

Calories 214; Fat 6 grams; Carbohydrate 32 grams; Fibre 6 grams; Protein 9 grams; 

Sodium 33 milligram

Tip: Make the granola ahead of time. It keeps well for one week in the fridge in an airtight container.

Source: Sobeys dietitians

Teresa Flynn is a dietitian with Sobeys, New Glasgow.

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