Doing little things over and over is easiest way to develop new, good habits
Nutrition Month has rolled around again.
Having a month designated by Dietitians of Canada to direct attention to healthy eating and good nutrition always serves as a reminder to me that I could treat myself better. The distractions of everyday life can direct my attention away from healthy eating, and it’s a treat to be reminded to do this for myself.
You see, I’m greedy about life, and I want to get very old, but I don’t want to just be old. I want to be old and healthy. And until that time, I want to be the age I am and healthy.—
I can’t do anything about the genes I inherited from my parents, but I can do something about the way I eat, and there is good evidence that eating well is one way to support health and well-being.
This year’s Nutrition Month theme is “Take a Hundred Meal Journey! Make small changes one meal at a time”. The idea is that we consume close to 100 meals every month, and by focusing on a particular behaviour regularly over the course of those 100 meals, we can develop a new habit.
Aiming to completely overhaul your eating habits in one swoop is likely to be overwhelming and counterproductive. It’s like making an overly ambitious New Year’s resolution and casting it aside before the end of January.
Change is more likely to stick when you choose one small change at a time and practise it consistently before starting on a new one.
Dietitians of Canada (DC) has some suggestions for people wondering what type of change to work on: fill more of your plate with vegetables; choose whole grain instead of white bread; serve smaller portions; enjoy fruit for snacks instead of sweet or salty treats; drink water in place of sugary beverages, like pop.
There are many changes I could make to improve the way I eat, but I will follow the advice of DC and keep my mind on changing one thing at a time.
My hundred meal journey will be to increase my consumption of vegetables and fruits by having two servings of vegetables or fruit at every meal.
The website www.dietitians.ca lists some strategies for getting started. Some of them involve articulating the goals that you want to work on by writing them down and posting them as a reminder to yourself and by talking about them with people close to you, so that they can support your efforts. Another strategy is to make sure there are enough healthy foods on hand. That goes hand in hand with another strategy they mention: planning meals in advance, which enables you to plan a good grocery list so that you’ll have what’s needed when it’s time to make a meal.
Dietitians of Canada have tools on their website and apps for mobile devices to help Canadians eat well. One of them is www.cookspiration.com, where this recipe is found.
A Buddha bowl is an attractively arranged meal in a bowl, usually sporting a grain, a protein, vegetables and dressing.
Recipe provided by CanadianLentils, recipe source: Cookspiration.com
45 mL (3 tbsp) tahini (sesame paste)
45 mL (3 tbsp) rice vinegar
5 mL (1 tsp) grated ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
45 mL (3 tbsp) canola oil
45 mL (3 tbsp) boiling water
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
500 mL (2 cups) cooked brown rice
250 mL (1 cup) cooked black (beluga) or green lentils
salt and ground black pepper, to taste
45 mL (3 tbsp) chopped dill
500 mL (2 cups) thinly sliced baby spinach
250 mL (1 cup) thinly sliced red peppers
250 mL (1 cup) grated carrots
250 mL (1 cup) enoki or other mushrooms sliced
125 mL (½ cup) pumpkin seeds
Whisk tahini, vinegar, ginger, garlic and canola oil together until smooth. Add boiling water to thin out. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.
Toss hot rice and lentils with dill in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Divide into serving bowls.
Divide spinach, peppers, carrots, mushrooms and pumpkin seeds on top of lentil blend in bowls.
Drizzle dressing on top of veggies and serve immediately.
Margaret Prouse, a home economist, can be reached by writing her at RR#2, North Wiltshire, P.E.I., C0A 1Y0, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.