It’s hard to believe that exams are just around the corner. That means classes are over and summer is fast approaching! We hope that you get an opportunity to relax and recharge as we move into a period of nicer weather. But the upcoming change in your schedule doesn’t mean you need to give up or eliminate established routines in your life.
When it comes to healthy eating, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start. There’s so much information out there, so we’d like to break down our best advice into two practical tips:
Think about variety and portions and plan accordingly!
This past March we celebrated Nutrition Month and during our Nutrition Week we distributed our Building the Perfect Plate passport where we promoted the Eat Well Plate model for healthy eating (see sources below). For a meal that you can be confident is healthy and balanced, try to fill ½ of your plate with vegetables, ¼ of your plate with protein sources (i.e. meat, legumes or tofu), and ¼ of your plate with grains or starches (i.e. rice, potatoes, noodles). Including lots of vegetables in your diet is important because the vitamins and minerals you get from vegetables, such as potassium, fiber, folate, and vitamins A, E, and C, are vital for your health and can reduce your risk of developing many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes. Try to eat a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables, in other words, eat the rainbow! The more variety your diet has, the better the chances of getting all of the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.
To ensure that your eating is balanced overall, try to make healthy food choices at least 80% of the time, and restrict indulging in less healthy foods, such as those high in fat and sugar, to no more than 20% of the time! Remember that treats are okay in moderation! After all, who doesn’t love an ice cream cone or a popsicle on a hot summer day?
Congratulations on making it through the year and have a great and healthy summer break!
By Tanya Hill MPH Nutrition & Dietetics (candidate) for Food Services with files from Pooja Mansukhani, RD, BA Registered Dietitian and Food Safety Officer, University of Toronto