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March is here, which means it is Nutrition Month! The goal of nutrition month is to encourage Canadians to eat well, and this year’s theme is: “More than Food: How you eat is important too.” This means focusing on healthy eating habits: cooking more often, eating mindfully, enjoying food, and eating meals with other people.

 

Cook more often

Exploring different recipes and cooking at home is one way to learn new skills and try different flavours. You can use cooking time to spend quality time with other people! Check out these tips for cooking at home with children: Click Here  

 

An added bonus from cooking at home is that you are in control of what you eat. Cooking at home from scratch allows you to control how much salt, sauce, fat and sugar is added to your food. Making sure not to eat excess salt, fat, or sugar is healthy for everyone, but can be particularly important in managing diabetes. Portion sizes at home also tend to be smaller, so you are less likely to eat too much.

If you are just starting out with cooking, try some simple recipes (aim for 10 or fewer ingredients) and set a goal of cooking at home occasionally, such as once per week. Once you are more comfortable, increase the amount of cooking you do. Also, don’t be discouraged by cooking mishaps (such as spills, or accidentally over-cooking something), or recipes that don’t turn out the way you were hoping, these things happen to everyone!

 

If you are looking for some recipes and tips for some fun home-cooking, check out: Cart2Table.ca

Cart2Table Recipes

Or get inspired by Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month 2020 recipes: Recipies

 

 

Mindful Eating

What is mindful eating? It is a process where you take time to eat, and notice what and why you are eating in a non-judgmental way. People eat for many different reasons, not just hunger, and it can be helpful to understand whether emotions like boredom or stress, or simply habit, are contributing to food choices. Mindful eating also involves getting in touch with your body and noticing sensations of hunger and fullness. You can use a hunger and fullness scale to help you assess how hungry you are.

While practicing mindful eating, it is important to take time for meals. This involves sitting down to eat, turning off any screens, and enjoying every bite of food. Research has shown that eating mindfully can improve eating habits and help with weight management.

To learn more, take a look at LMC’s guide to mindful eating: Learn More

 

Enjoy your food

Enjoying your food is important for healthy eating and developing a positive relationship with food. Enjoying food leads to greater satisfaction with meals, which is important for everyone to sustain healthy choices over the long-term, whether or not you live with diabetes. Take the time to chew your food, taste and really savour your food.

Part of enjoying your food is engaging with culture and food traditions that are important to you, and sharing these traditions with others. Connecting with friends over food can also introduce you to new healthy foods to enjoy. This can rekindle a sense of adventure or spark a new passion for cooking.

The dining environment is also important for creating an enjoyable meal, and it also can influence what and how much you eat and drink. Sitting down at a table with other people, making the dining area more attractive (perhaps a table cloth?), or turning on your favourite background music while turning off the TV and the computer  all contribute to a positive experience.

 

Eat meals with others

Eating meals with other people enriches life by allowing you to spend quality time together, share food traditions and ideas, and try new foods you might not have tried otherwise. If you live with other people, mealtimes are an opportunity to bring the entire household together, talk about the day, connect with each other, and relax together. Children develop eating habits and behaviours through meal experiences, so eating together as a family can support healthy habits across generations.

If you struggle to find others to eat with, try scheduling get-togethers with friends, participate in community celebrations and pot-lucks, invite friends or co-workers to join you over lunch, or ask about groups that meet over meals at a local community centre. Another option may be connecting with others at a diabetes support group and suggesting meeting up over a meal.

For people with diabetes, social dining might be daunting, especially if concerned about eating away from home or whether healthy options will be available. If this is a concern, offer to bring some healthy items that you enjoy.  Always remember, there is no such thing as a “diabetes diet” and the plate method is healthy eating for everyone, so lead the way by demonstrating and encouraging healthy habits.

 

 

For more information about healthy eating habits, visit Canada’s Food Guide – Healthy eating habits: Learn More