A healthy diet is essential for our health. To eat well, we need to understand our body’s need for nutrients and make good food choices.
What is a nutrient?
Nutrients are all the substances provided by food that our body absorbs and consumes in order to function properly.
What foods does our body need?
To function optimally, our body needs a balanced diet. According to Canada’s Food Guide, we should include three food groups in our meals every day: fruits and vegetables, whole grains and protein.
Fruits and vegetables
In addition to being tasty, fruits and vegetables contain many nutrients: vitamins (A, C, B2, etc.), dietary fibre, minerals (potassium, iron, etc.) and several antioxidants. Here are some examples of fruits and vegetables: broccoli, carrots and apples.
Whole grain foods
This group also contains a lot of fibre, minerals and vitamins. Whole grain foods are more complete and are a better choice than refined foods. Examples include quinoa, whole grain breads and whole grain brown or wild rice.
Proteins are the main components of the structures of all cells in the human body. They are necessary for the growth, repair and defense of our body tissues. Examples of foods that contain protein include chicken breast, beef, tofu, almonds and eggs.
How much to eat from each food group?
According to Canada’s Food Guide, here’s how to prepare a well-balanced plate:
Step 1: Fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruit. Vegetables and fruit should always make up the largest proportion of the food you eat.
Step 2: Choose whole grain foods. This food group should fill out ¼ from your plate.
Step 3: Add protein foods. Choose plant protein foods more often, for example: legumes, nuts, tofu.
Some tips for healthy eating:
- Cook more often and eat as a family.
- Use fresh, good quality food. Eat local!
- Refined products and hydrogenated fats should be avoided.
- Avoid consuming too much sugar or too much salt.
- Eat a reasonable amount. Try to measure your portions.
- Take the time to savour your dishes, chew slowly.
- Follow the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide
Some resources on healthy eating :
- Canada’s Food Guide, available in several languages. Download it in your language.
- Site Passeport Santé contains a lot of information on health and nutrition.
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In our next article, we will share some recipes for a healthy and tasty cuisine!
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