5 small diet changes that you can make today

Tiny tweaks can make a positive difference.

Tiny tweaks can make a positive difference

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It's that time of year to find balance, get into a good routine and try new things. While many are making grand fitness and diet goals, there is no real need to be extreme. Making tiny tweaks to your meals, from how you compose them to how you consume them, can make a positive difference. Here are five simple dietary changes.

1. Spread your protein throughout the day

Protein is the power nutrient for strength, satiety and stamina. Not only does protein build and repair muscle, but it also helps you feel full for longer and gives you sustained energy. Aim for about 20-30 grams of protein per meal rather than overloading in a single meal. For many of us, this may mean actually downsizing the amount of protein on our dinner plate and pumping up the protein at breakfast. Take a look at the protein chart below to see how this amount can add up.

2. Enjoy food with probiotics

Probiotics are "good" or "friendly" bacteria. You can find probiotics in fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut and yogurt. Some yogurts may contain one billion probiotic bacteria. Our bodies contain a hundred trillion bacteria! Probiotics can contribute to a healthy gut flora.

3. Add one more fruit or vegetable at every meal

Fruits and vegetables are Mother Nature's super heroes — they're packed with disease-fighting antioxidants and plant nutrients. The problem is, most of aren't eating enough. You can change that easily. At every meal, add in one extra portion: add sliced bananas or berries into your yogurt parfait, toss a handful of spinach into an omelet or a cup of snap peas into your stir-fry. You get the idea. Work towards filling half your plate with fruit and vegetables at every meal.

4. Put pulses on your plate at least once a week

Pulses are dried beans, dried peas, lentils and chickpeas. They're great in so many ways, perhaps the best of which is that they are so nutritious and versatile. Pulses are packed with fibre, iron, zinc, folate and they are gluten-free – which is important if you have celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity. You may not know that pulses actually provide pre-biotics which act as food for probiotics. If that weren't enough, pulses are a sustainable, plant-based protein, economical and many are grown right here in Canada.

5. Eat until you're 80% full

You know that feeling of being "stuffed" — you can't move, you have to loosen your belt and you might even need a little snooze on the couch. So what does 80% full feel like? You're satisfied, you're not hungry anymore, but you still have room to take a few more bites. Eating until you're 80% full is a practice in mindful eating. It encourages you to be in tune with your hunger and fullness cues. Over time, this will become second nature and you might even see a change in your weight — and in the immediate, you will feel so much better than the alternative.


About Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc: As a Registered Dietitian and chef's daughter, Sue has a passion for delicious, wholesome food and its connection to health! She is President of Nutrition Solutions and a recognized media dietitian expert, appearing regularly on national TV. Sue was named the 2017 Dietitian of the Year by the Dietitians of Canada Business and Industry Network. NutritionSolutions.ca Twitter / Instagram @SueMahRD


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