Happy Birthday Canada: Nutritionist Offers Nutrition & Healthy Eating Tips
By: Julie Mancuso, B.A., R.H.N., JM Nutrition
In this post:
153 nutrition tips & healthy eating tips
Happy 153rd, Canada! In keeping with the ‘Canada 153 theme’, I compiled a list of 153 nutrition and healthy eating tips to help you be a healthier Canadian. I then organized them into sections, in case you’re more interested in one topic more than the other.
You’ll find just about everything here:
- weight loss,
- low-carb ideas,
- food and digestion,
- nutrition and mental health
- beauty and nutrition,
- nutrition and drinks
- vitamins, minerals and nutrients
- and a great deal of miscellany
So, without further ado, here they are:
153 Nutrition & Healthy Eating Tips
Nutrition & Healthy Eating Tips: Weight Loss and Carbs
1. Low-carb lunch idea for weight-loss: wrap the contents of a sandwich in a lettuce or cabbage leaf instead of bread.
2. Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid) can contribute to the difficulty losing weight.
3. With age, we all need to change our eating habits. We cannot continue to eat like we did in our youth because our metabolism changes.
4. A good way to start losing weight is to cut back on the portion size of a given food, instead of completely cutting it out of your diet.
5. Use a smaller plate to reduce portion sizes. You’ll still get the same satisfaction of finishing a full plate without the extra calories.
6. Try eating sweet potatoes as an alternative to regular potatoes. The former have more fibre, more Vitamin A and have a lower glycemic index.
Additional nutrition tip: According to Healthline, boiling sweet potatoes gives the potatoes a much lower glycemic index than baking them.
7. Cookie-cutter diets don’t work on certain people because our bodies are made differently. We respond differently to foods. We have different sensitivities. Therefore, we may require a different approach.
8. The keto diet carries potential risks, as per Harvard Health, and these include: kidney stones, increased levels of uric acid and various nutrient-deficiencies.
9. Share treats and less healthy indulgences such as cake to cut your intake in half, reducing sugar and empty calories while still being able to indulge.
10. See a nutritionist or dietitian to learn about proper food portions and proportions, to get support and accountability and to help you achieve overall health and wellness. Accountability is often the difference maker.
11. Most cereal is high in sugar and contributes to weight gain. The few nutrients and vitamins found in cereal are negated by this drawback.
12. Learn how to read food labels properly: serving sizes, sugar content, carbohydrates portions, etc. This is one of the most important healthy eating tips. It’ll go a long way in helping you stay healthy and lean.
13. When eating dinner, stop eating for 15-20 minutes, if possible, to see if you’re full, before eating more. It takes your body time to register the feeling of being sated.
14. Keep a log of the food you eat, for your yourself and for your nutritionist. Actually seeing the food you’re eating written out before you can lead to self-reflection, which can be an impetus for change.
15. Eat chicken breast, which is lean and high in protein; it also has zero carbohydrates—making it a great weight loss food.
16. Use extra-virgin olive oil along with apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar as salad dressing. They’re much healthier alternatives to store-bought salad dressing and, in turn, great for weight loss.
17. There are many reasons why people gain weight: genetics, unhealthy eating habits developed as a child, medical conditions, stress, anxiety, et al. How can any cookie-cutter diet address these areas?
18. Do not eat late in the evening, especially just before going to sleep, because your body cannot burn off the calories like it would via normal bodily functions when awake.
19. People often struggle with losing weight because their portion sizes are just too large, particularly carbohydrates. Reduce.
20. To lose weight, eat fewer carbs. And when you eat carbs, eat the right ones. Avoid refined carbs.
21. Movie popcorn with butter can be a calorie bomb, depending on the size. Avoid, if weight loss is your goal.
22. Exercise does not give you a free ticket to eat unhealthy food because the long-term cumulative harm is difficult, if not impossible, to reverse.
23. Is pepperoni your favourite pizza topping? Pepperoni contains 500 calories per 100g. Eat rarely, if at all.
24. To reduce carbohydrates by 50 percent eat open-faced sandwiches.
25. Dieting implies something temporary, a phase. A more healthy, sustainable lifestyle is what you should seek.
26. Looking to reduce your carbohydrates intake? Try a rice cake instead of bread.
27. Beware of unsuspected highly caloric foods masquerading as healthy ones. Caesar salad is one such food. All that thick dressing, croutons, cheese and bacon will hit you above the belt.
28. When trying to lose weight, eat a healthy snack before going to dinner or a party. This way you’re more likely to eat less while there.
Nutrition & Healthy Eating Tips: Digestion
29. If you suffer from digestive distress and consume a great deal of dairy, try lowering its intake and see if there’s improvement.
30. Eat oatmeal in the morning because it is high in fibre and takes longer to digest. This keeps you full for longer, allowing you to resist drive-through pit stops on the way to work.
31. Raw onions and garlic can be hard to digest for some people.
32. Maintaining beneficial bacteria in the gut is critically important. If you’re considering taking probiotics or taking them already, read this: When Should You Take Probiotics
33. Limit the consumption of gluten if plagued by digestive problems because it can act as an inflammatory agent in some.
34. Avoid whey if you have a sensitivity to dairy. It can cause digestive discomfort.
35. Fermented foods can help to ensure a balance in your digestive system through the introduction of good bacteria.
36. Don’t be afraid to try gluten-free breads—they’re now much better-tasting than they used to be.
37. Lend your gut a hand and eat kimchi—for its good bacteria.
38. Eat slowly to help digestion.
39. Corn contains cellulose, which is hard to digest.
40. Probiotics can replenish good bacteria after a round of antibiotics.
41. Oil of oregano has been shown to kill bad bacteria in the gut.
42. Foods such as tomatoes, oranges and lemons have been found to increase acid reflux.
43. Because most processed foods lack fibre for proper digestion, they can cause constipation.
44. Beans are high in protein and fibre, but contain a sugar called oligosaccharide that is hard to digest, causing gas.
45. Goat cheese is better for human digestion than cow cheese.
46. Fermented sauerkraut is incredibly good for you: it carries probiotics and contains various vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Nutrition & Healthy Eating Tips: Mental Health
47. Poultry contains an amino acid called tyrosine, which allows the human body to cope with stress more effectively.
48. Brazil nuts contain selenium, which combats anxiety, tiredness and irritability.
49. Take magnesium before going to bed: it keeps blood pressure normal, it’s great for bone health, it may help relieve premenstrual symptoms, anxiety and migraines.
Do you need any other reasons to take it? Please seek the help of a qualified health practitioner to help you select the right product.
50. Vitamin D has been shown to regulate mood and fight depression.
51. Take a high-quality Vitamin D, especially in the fall and winter, to help beat seasonal affective disorder.
52. Nutrient deficiency can lead to depression.
Nutrition & Healthy Eating Tips: Beauty
53. Beta carotene-rich foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes can help your skin complexion. Nutrition and beauty go hand-in-hand.
54. Consume zinc because its deficiency impairs the immune system, can result in acne and the thinning of hair.
55. To reduce cellulite: reduce salt because it causes water retention, drink water to keep the connective tissue strong, cut back sugar because it reduces collagen production and consume Vitamin C-rich foods.
56. Food sensitivities can cause skin conditions such as acne, eczema and dermatitis.
57. Common allergenic foods such as milk, soy, sulphites, tree nuts, gluten and others can contribute to dark circles under your eyes. Iron deficiency can do so as well.
Nutrition & Healthy Eating Tips: Drinks
58. Celebrate Canada 153 with a glass of dry white or red wine because most dry wine tends to be low in sugar. How to choose wine and drink it without gaining weight
59. Use Stevia, a natural sweetener, to sweeten coffee because it has zero calories and zero carbs. It’s also great for weight loss and has a non-glycemic response.
60. Avoid the Canadian summer favourite: iced-cappuccinos. 40 percent of its calories are from fat–the bad kind.
61. Drink plenty of water daily for hydration, to keep you full and to avoid drinking fewer unhealthy beverages.
62. A 12-ounce (355 ml) Margarita can pack several hundred calories.
64. Down a glass of green supplement every morning to top up your vitamin, mineral and nutrient intake. Your body will thank you.
65. Add a slice of lemon to your water to improve taste while avoiding sugar-laden sodas and juices.
66. If you feel you must drink, drink vodka (in moderation, of course) to limit the carbohydrate and calorie intake, and help with weight loss. How to make healthier alcohol selections
67. Give sports drinks a pass. They are enormous sugar-bombs. Unless you just ran a marathon and/or are severely dehydrated, give these a pass. Try a healthy electrolyte drink instead.
68. Teach your kids to drink water instead of juice boxes. Why? The vast majority of juice and drink boxes just carry too much sugar to form a part of healthy eating habits.
69. A stimulant such as caffeine can help to reduce fatigue and improve athletic performance.
70. Drink Pukka Detox tea to aid digestion.
71. Avoid coolers, sweet wines and heavy cocktails as they are very high in calories and loaded with spoonfuls of sugar. These often sabotage otherwise healthy eating habits.
72. Drink beer… sparingly… because it is highly caloric. The beer belly is not a myth. A good rule of thumb to follow: the higher the alcohol content, the higher the calorie count.
73. Dehydration decreases energy levels, can cause headaches and impair brain function.
74. If trying to reduce sugar intake, beware of most apple and orange juices because they often teem with sugar, especially added sugar.
75. Drink a wine spritzer with soda or Perrier instead of cocktails.
76. Keep in mind that a 5-ounce glass of wine contains 150 calories, on average. Many restaurants and bars serve larger glasses.
77. You don’t need all that Gatorade after most workouts. Don’t believe the ads. The sugar found in it will be much more harmful than the benefit of replenishing electrolytes.
78. Drinking sufficient water helps to maintain regular bowel movements and prevents constipation.
Nutrition & Healthy Eating Tips: Sugar
79. Many condiments, dressings and sauces contain sugar. While these small amounts may seem insignificant, they add up fast. Let the buyer beware!
80. Sleep deficiency can contribute to sugar cravings, and in turn, weight gain.
81. Reduce your consumption of refined sugar and you shall reap benefits: no raised insulin level, no energy rollercoasters, fewer calories and less belly fat, amongst others.
82. Avoid or limit Splenda, an artificial sweetener. Try Sweet Leaf Stevia instead.
83. Trying to beat the sugar craving? Try almond butter on a date, or an even healthier alternative, almond butter on an apple slice.
84. Eat a low-sugar, low-carbohydrate protein bar as a snack instead of a muffin or cookie.
85. Dried fruit is very high in sugar. Use sparingly in your salads.
86. Ditch sugar-laden granola bars. Replace with a low-sugar protein bar.
87. Don’t feed processed fruit snacks to your kids: they’re brimming with sugar and/or corn syrup, additives and artificial flavours. Don’t get fooled by the claims of added vitamins.
Nutrition & Healthy Eating Tips: Vitamins, Minerals and Nutrients
88. Eat dark chocolate (70% or higher cocoa value) as it contains iron, magnesium, manganese and fibre.
89. Add chia seeds to your meals—for energy, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids.
90. Consider adding hemp seeds to your meals—for protein.
91. Consume flax seeds—for fibre, which keeps you full for longer.
92. Tryptophan, found in bananas, raises serotonin levels, helping people relax.
93. Take a lysine supplement to help prevent cold sores.
94. Drink green tea for its anti-oxidative properties.
95. Calcium-rich snack: dried fig with tahini.
96. Eat eggs: contain many nutrients, high-quality protein, low in calories. Read more about eggs.
97. Don’t use bleached flour because it’s treated with chemicals and carries fewer nutrients than unbleached flour.
98. Add quinoa to your meals because it has protein, fibre, magnesium, potassium, manganese and more. It’s also gluten-free and versatile.
99. Consume lemons: they have an alkaline effect on the body and contain Vitamin C, potassium, Vitamin B6, folate, niacin, et al.
100. Eat broccoli for calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, fibre, Vitamin B6 and many others.
101. Dip your vegetables in hummus, albeit sparingly, to improve the taste. Hummus contains protein, fibre, iron and B Vitamins.
102. Both blueberries and raspberries are antioxidant in nature.
103. Consume salmon, sardines, anchovy, tuna, mackerel and herring because they contain omega-3s.
104. You can obtain sufficient calcium from leafy greens such as spinach, collard greens, watercress and kale.
105. Consume Vitamin C-rich foods such as red peppers, oranges, kiwi, papaya, guava and broccoli.
106. Eat pumpkin seeds for zinc and protein.
107. Consume almonds regularly for calcium and essential fats.
108. Eat vegetables because they’re full of water, fibre and antioxidants. They’re also low in calories and carbohydrates. How to introduce more vegetables into your diet
109. Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids instead of the long-chain ones, which is one of the reasons it is recommended by many health practitioners.
110. Take fish oil daily.
111. White and red beans contain calcium—perfect for those who cannot consume dairy products. Read more about calcium-rich foods
112. Shiitake mushrooms have antioxidant properties.
113. Eat whole grains because they’re much lower in sugar and full of fibre.
114. Consume bell peppers because they contain more Vitamin C than most fruits and vegetables.
115. Eat garlic for its anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.
116. Garlic has been shown to boost the immune system as well.
117. Eat avocados because they contain good fats along with Vitamins E and C.
118. Studies show that Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells, which are instrumental in fighting infections.
119. Raw honey acts an antioxidant and has antimicrobial powers.
120. Kale contains Vitamins A, C and K—more than the 100% of the recommended daily value.
121. Eat oranges for potassium and B vitamins.
122. Eliminating fat altogether is a mistake. Our bodies need good fats to maintain daily functions.
123. Good fats examples: eggs, avocados, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, extra-virgin olive oil.
124. Beware of sodium found in canned foods. It can reach astronomical levels.
125. Avoid fried food because it is highly caloric and contains trans fats.
126. Choose light over dark turkey meat because it contains less saturated fat.
Nutrition & Healthy Eating Tips: Miscellaneous
127. When cooked, chicken releases an amino acid called cysteine, which fights congestion and mucus. Chicken noodle soup is indeed beneficial when you’re sick.
128. Prep meal staples on the weekend and just heat them up during the week. This way you’ll avoid unhealthy food impulse purchases.
129. Chew gum that contains xylitol, a natural sweetener. Xylitol does not allow bacteria to attach to the teeth.
130. Spinach contains iron, an energy booster.
131. Use a pan to heat up your food instead of a microwave. A little more time-consuming but better for you.
132. Nuts and seeds are high-energy snacks that contain good fats.
133. Educate yourself on current nutrition, even just a little. A little pro-action can go a long way as a preventative measure.
134. Teach your kids the importance of nutrition because your current eating habits will have a lasting impact on those of your children. Help your children grow up healthy. Learn more.
135. Don’t feed pre-packed lunches with a peelable lid to your kids because they’re often loaded with preservatives and sodium.
136. Avoid hydrogenated oil because it is a trans fat, which raises bad cholesterol.
137. Cook at home, so you know exactly what goes into your food.
138. Looking to cleanse your body? Start by eliminating unhealthy ingredients from regular consumption before looking for quick-fix cleanses.
139. Generally speaking, the greener the vegetable, the healthier.
140. Eating vegetables throughout the day helps to regulate blood sugar level.
141. Avoid foods with a high glycemic index to keep blood sugar level in check.
142. Carbs are the primary fuel source for high-intensity physical exercise as as soccer or basketball. More on soccer nutrition
143. Healthy snack: cucumber slices and hummus.
144. Avoid bottled salad dressing because it’s often high in sodium, additives, preservatives, fat and sugar.
145. Take an occasional bite out of a high-quality dark chocolate to prevent fatigue. Chocolate contains iron and magnesium.
146. A great way to spruce up eggs is to add salsa or avocado.
147. Complex carbohydrates provide constant energy without spiking your blood sugar.
148. Almond butter is a healthier, and arguably better-tasting, alternative to peanut butter.
149. Eating healthy food is not an expensive proposition when we think of all the money we spend on to-go coffee, take-out food and restaurants. We can’t use that as an excuse to buy pre-made, processed, unhealthy food.
150. Steaming vegetables retains much of the nutrient content.
151. Zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash are two great low-carb alternatives to regular pasta.
152. Cauliflower rice can be used in place of regular rice. It’s actually quite good. Give it a try!
153. Fasting or taking extended breaks from eating can bring down insulin levels, according to Dr. Fung, Obesity Code.
For more in-depth explanations and extra tips, visit my blog or subscribe to JM Nutrition Latest, a form of newsletter.
Julie Mancuso is a registered nutritionist and owner of JM Nutrition, who has been counselling clients for over 15 years. Julie’s personalized approach has helped thousands reach their health, wellness and nutrition goals.
Julie regularly lends her expertise to a variety of health publications such as Livestrong, Business Insider, Food Network, MyFitnessPal, Toronto Star, Elle Magazine and many more. For more information, see In The Press.
Julie’s blog has been named one of the Top 100 Nutrition Blogs, Websites and Newsletters to Follow in 2020 by Feedspot. So don’t miss out and subscribe to both her newsletter and blog.