BY AMANDA HUNTER, HELEN YEUNG AND KATHY ROMSES
Spring is a great time to renew focus on our health and wellness from a holistic perspective. This includes nurturing our bodies in ways to support our physical as well as mental health.
Every day, the average person makes over 200 decisions about food.
These small decisions can add up to important impacts on health and happiness. However, if you’ve ever tried to sift through nutrition blogs, articles and other online information, you know that it can be overwhelming to figure out what, how and when to eat for optimal health and enjoyment.
This past March was Nutrition Month, with the theme Take the Fight Out of Food. This campaign was led by Dietitians of Canada and focuses on building happier, healthier relationships with food by tackling five food-related topics. The campaign helps consumers to cut the confusion and get straight to the science, when it comes to choosing well-balanced dietary habits that can be maintained for long-term health.
To help you separate fact from fiction when it comes to diets, here are three basic steps you can follow:
Spot the problem.
The diet and weight-loss industry in Canada isn’t tightly regulated, leaving room for sneaky marketing to spread unfounded nutrition claims. Spot the problem by keeping an eye out for red flags to help identify myths that seem too good to be true.
For example, is the diet or supplement promising “rapid weight loss,” an “easy cure” for a long list of diseases, or some sort of “full-body detox?” If so, it’s a good idea to do some digging before including it in your lifestyle.
Get the facts.
Good dietary recommendations should be based on evidence, given by qualified experts and be something you can follow for the long term. Look for blogs, articles, recipes or social media posts written by registered dietitians.
Food is so much more than the sum of its calories. The way we choose to eat can have strong ties to cultural tradition or lifestyle patterns, as well as our overall happiness. If you’re seeking to change your diet, the support of loved ones can help to smooth the transition, along with reliable resources like the ones listed below.
A great way to kick off a positive change is to find new healthy recipes and try them out with friends and family. Here is a delicious appetizer recipe for you to try at your next gathering!
- healthlinkbc.ca or call 8-1-1 to speak with a registered dietitian
- cookspiration.com is a great resource for recipes like the one included here.
Chorizo Tapas with Roasted Red Pepper
- 2 fresh chorizo sausages 2
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt 125 mL
- 1 cup roasted red peppers from a jar, drained 250 mL
- ¼ cup unsalted almonds 60 mL
- 15 slices baguette, diagonally cut 15 slices
Diagonally cut chorizo into slices. Cook in a large non-stick frying pan, over medium heat, 2 minutes on each side until golden (or barbecue whole sausages, then cut into slices).
Meanwhile, combine yogurt, peppers and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until creamy but still a little chunky. Add salt and pepper.
Toast baguette slices, if desired. Spread each with a generous spoonful of sauce, then top with one or two slices of chorizo. Transfer to a platter and serve as an appetizer.
Recipe by Danone, available at www.cookspiration.com
Amanda Hunter is a dietetic intern studying at the University of B.C. Helen Yeung and Kathy Romses are public health dietitians at Vancouver Coastal Health.