Let me preface this conversation by saying that I LOVE food (did you hear the enthusiasm with those capital letters?). I also love junk food. Despite growing up eating salads with every dinner and being introduced to health foods like rice milk as a small child, I somehow developed a taste for horrible, no good, junk food. So, my journey to consuming a healthy diet was a challenging one. I have a natural propensity to reach for Kraft dinner and French fries. I have taught myself how to consume a healthy diet on a regular basis and allow less-healthy foods as treats.
I compiled a list of my top 5 healthy food habits. I’ve cultivated these along the way and I hope they help you take those steps to a healthier diet!
1. Add more vegetables
You can sneak these guys into practically anything – chilli, soups, stews, tomato sauces, curries, stir fry, pasta dishes. There is no dinner that can’t be supplemented by adding more vegetables. As a rule, I include at least 4 different types of veggies in each of the above-suggested meal items. Think carrots, celery, kale, mushrooms, spinach, zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes…the list goes on!
2. Swap out the noodles
This one is decidedly an unpopular choice and is no doubt an advanced move. You have to be ready for a change because guess what, the kelp noodles or spaghetti squash doesn’t actually taste like pasta. Noodle replacements like spiralized zucchini, kelp (seaweed) noodles, glass noodles, or spaghetti squash are higher in nutrients, lower in calories and less aggravating to the digestive system than flour-based foods like pasta. They won’t taste exactly the same, but they are pretty tasty in their own right and are worth the substitution.
3. Reduce your starch by half
I’m talking about breads, pastas, potatoes, rice, etc. Restaurant portions are WAY too heavy on the starches and typically so are the meals you make at home. A great place to start is reducing this portion by half. If you have ½ plate of pasta, make that ¼. If you eat one big baked potato, only eat half and save the rest for lunch. However, I don’t want you to be hungry and I typically won’t remove foods from a diet without adding anything back. So…you know what I’m going to say right?? You can double your vegetable portion in order to compensate. 😉 Feel free to double up your asparagus, broccoli, green beans or cauliflower.
4. Add nuts and seeds
I love adding soaked almonds to my morning smoothies, ground flaxseeds to my oats, chia seeds to my coconut yogurt, and walnuts to my salads. These are all great ways to increase nutrients and fibre to your meals.
5. Increase your water intake
Have a large glass of water before each meal and aim to consume 2-3 L of water each day.
This doesn’t affect the quality of the food you choose, but it may affect the quantity. Sometimes we confuse thirst for hunger and we overeat, when really we could just benefit from increasing our fluid intake. Bonus – drinking more water can improve all kinds of other things like energy, skin health, and immune function.
Healthy eating shouldn’t feel like punishment. You just need to keep working at it until you identify those meals and strategies that you love. Good luck and feel free to make comments if you have questions!
Dr. Natalie Bozinovski ND MSc., is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor, Master of Nutrition, published author, speaker, and founder ofwww.healthandthecity.com, a web-based resource designed to provide fresh insights, tools and guidance to busy professionals on how to make wellness a daily habit.
Known for her personal warmth, comprehensive knowledge across multiple disciplines and an unwavering commitment to her patient’s success, Dr. Natalie’s ultimate ambition is to help individuals achieve optimal energy and lifetime wellbeing.
In clinical practice, her approach is based on a personalized evaluation of the patients physical, emotional and lifestyle goals. By blending an integrated knowledge of complementary medicine and biomedical science with specialties in nutrition, Chinese medicine, acupuncture and botanical medicine, Dr. Natalie believes high-quality health care must be evidence based and individualized.
With a practice focused on patients overwhelmed by stress and experiencing depleted energy, Dr. Natalie treats a variety of concerns including insomnia, weight optimization, skin issues, mood changes and anxiety, digestive complaints as well as a range of female-specific health concerns.
Dr. Natalie has an Honours B.Sc. with Distinction in Biomedical Sciences and Economics from the University of Waterloo, a Master’s degree in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto and a Doctor of Naturopathic degree from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. She is trained in First Line Therapy®, live blood cell microscopy, and cosmetic mesotherapy and facial acupuncture for anti-aging.
Having grown up with a Naturopath/Chiropractor father, Dr. Natalie has both a personal appreciation and direct experience of the benefits of complementary medicine to both a healthy body and a healthy mind.