Tanya Alberts, Back to Basics Nutrition’s dietician offers these very valuable pieces of advice for changing your bad eating habits.

AVOID MINDLESS EATING

Pay attention to your food.

Tune in on your appetite signals to avoid eating just because you are board. Eat only when you’re actually hungry. Try a glass of water first because hunger can sometimes be mis interpreted as thirst. When you feel satisfied — but before you feel full — stop eating, even if there’s still food on your plate. Save it for later. Avoid sitting in front of the TV or computer when you eat. Multitasking leads to overeating.

INCLUDE FISH IN YOUR DIET

Naturally fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines, and tuna are good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

These are “good” fats that help keep your heart healthy. They may also help keep your brain sharp, especially as you get older. It is recommended to eat two – three servings of fatty fish per week. A serving is around 60g– about the size of a deck of cards. Try it baked, grilled, poached or from a tin (tuna in water or pilchards).

EATING HEALTHY AT PARTIES

Eat a healthy snack before you go, so you won’t overeat at the buffet.

Use a small plate and choose 3 of your favourite dishes and only have one spoon of each. Fill the rest of your plate plate with at least half fruit and veggies. Limit your portions of desserts and high-calorie dishes to just a taste — a bite or two. Once you’ve eaten, step away from the food. If you have a conversation around the buffet table, it’s too tempting to just keep snacking. Drinks can be high in calories, too. Whether you’re drinking alcohol or sodas, use moderation. Try to have a glass of water after each drink. HAPPY NEW YEARS EVE!!!

DECREASE THE SUGAR INTAKE

There are so many hidden refined sugars in our daily diet which contribute to increased triglyceride levels and other weight related problems.

Here are some tips that will help: Give up one sugary soda a day. Cutting just one can of SUGARY SODA means losing more than 30 grams of sugar — or about 8 teaspoons — from your diet. Replace sodas and other sugary drinks with water, diet soda or unsweetened tea. Other ways to cut sugar: Fresh fruit or fruit canned in water or juice has less sugar than fruit canned in syrup. Choose unsweetened cereals and products cintaining whole grains.

INCLUDE BEETROOT GREENS IN YOUR DIET

Beet roots’ edible leafy tops are loaded with vitamin K, which is linked to a lower chance of getting type 2 diabetes.

One cup provides nearly twice your daily requirement. How to cook: Saute a bunch of tender beet greens with some olive oil and garlic for a healthy side dish. Or chop them and add to frittatas, soups, or pasta dishes.

CHOOSE LATE NIGHT SNACKS WISELY

Mindless eating occurs most frequently after dinner, when you finally sit down and relax.

Snacking in front of the TV is one of the easiest ways to throw your diet off course. Either close down the kitchen after a certain hour, or allow yourself a low-calorie snack, like a 100-calorie pack of cookies or a half-cup scoop of low-fat ice cream. A much better choice would be a fruit.

TIPS ON SNACKING HEALTHY

Choose healthier snack options and have healthy snack options available in the house.

Rather go for a hand full of nuts, trail mix or low fat yoghurt (watch for added sugar), instead of reaching for cookies or chips. Take advantage of fresh fruit in season. And choose fruit that take time to eat so it will keep you busy like mangos and oranges. If you are on the go, apples and pears are easily transported in your bag. Eat pretzels or a few whole-wheat crackers with low-fat cheese. Raw carrot sticks, celery and cucumber slices can be great snacks with low fat cottage cheese. Only snack when you’re really hungry — not just bored or stressed — and only eat one serving.

PLAN YOUR MEALS

Don’t give up on healthy eating just because you’re out of time.

Have a healthy-eating plan in place for days when you work late or have errands to run. Planning your meals will assist in weight management by avoiding over eating and binge eating. Keep nutritious snacks with you, like trail mix, whole grain cereal, or fruit. Keep healthy foods in your freezer. Learn which restaurants and supermarket delis have salad, soup, or grilled chicken so if you have to eat “to go,” you can make healthy choices.

SHAKE THE SALT HABIT

Feeling bloated? Salt may be partly to blame.

Too much salt can cause you to retain water. Salt can also contribute to high blood pressure. Cut back on salt by choosing fresh (not canned or processed) foods and experimenting with other seasonings such as curry powder, garlic, cumin, or rosemary to give food some zing. Here is a thought: make your own spice, by combining non-salt containing herbs, garlic and other flavours. You’ll expand your culinary horizons and may find that you feel more energetic, too.

INCLUDE MORE FRUIT AND VEGETABLES IN THE DIET

Include one more fruit or vegetable at every meal. 

  • Try to include 5 fruit or vegetables per day.
  • Load vegetables into sandwiches, pizza, omelettes, salads and soups.
  • Keep fruit visible on the counter and cut up vegetables in the fridge. Pureed vegetables like butternut and cauliflower can thicken soups and mash while adding extra nutrients.
  • Have healthy dips at hand like hummus, low fat yogurt and peanut butter