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Food and Nutrition

Overcome Barriers

Canada's Food Guide

If you think you don't have time to eat well - think again. Here are some ideas to help you overcome some common barriers to healthy eating.

Barriers and Solutions

I don't have enough time to prepare healthy meals.

Solution: Getting healthy meals on the table in a hurry takes less time than you might think. It's all about being prepared.

  • Plan your meals and make a shopping list to ensure you have the ingredients in your kitchen to pull together meals quickly.
  • Ask your family to help get meals started.
  • Choose some healthy convenience products to help speed up preparation time. For example, canned or bottled pasta sauces, frozen vegetables or bagged salad greens.
  • Prepare some foods in advance and keep in the freezer. For example, soups, stews, lasagna, cooked ground beef, cooked rice or pizza dough.

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It costs too much to eat well.

Solution: Eating well does not have to cost more. Many pre-prepared foods are high in calories, fat, salt or sugar and cost more. Cutting back on pre-prepared and low nutrient snacks can save you dollars and can be good for your health and waistline.

  • Buy vegetables and fruit fresh when they are in season and freeze extras for later.
  • Choose canned or frozen vegetables and fruit - they are affordable and nutritious options.
  • Use beans, lentils and other legumes in place of meat several times a week.
  • Stock up on canned goods and staples when they are on sale. Store them safely and use them up by their "best-before" date.
  • Skip the cookies, baked goods, chips and other salty snack foods, soft drinks and other high calorie beverages. They cost a lot and are low in nutrients. Stick to the four food groups and buy the basics.

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I don't know what foods are best to eat!

Solution: Knowing what healthy food choices are is easy if you just follow Canada's Food Guide. You can also look at food labels on packaged foods to compare foods.

Remember to:

  • Eat at least one dark green vegetable and one orange vegetable each day.
  • Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
  • Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.
  • Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day.
  • Drink skim, 1% or 2% milk each day. Drink fortified soy beverages if you do not drink milk.
  • Have meat alternatives such as bean, lentils and tofu often.
  • Eat at least two Food Guide Servings of fish each week.
  • Select lean meat and alternatives prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
  • Include a small amount of unsaturated fat each day.
  • Satisfy your thirst with water.
  • Limit foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar or salt.

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I eat out a lot and find it hard to eat well!

Solution: Use Canada's Food Guide to eat well and get your recommended number of Food Guide Servings whether you are eating fast food, "take out", cafeteria food or in a restaurant. Make wise food choices wherever you go.

  • Look for places that offer whole grains, vegetables and fruit and lower-fat choices. Some restaurants provide nutrition information about their food choices that you can check to find healthier choices.
  • Order small or appetizer portions or share a meal with a friend when eating out.
  • Treat your taste buds and try something different. Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Caribbean, Greek, Indian, Middle Eastern and other ethnic cuisines offer some healthy choices.
  • Choose water, milk, fortified soy beverages or 100% juice instead of highly sugared beverages.
  • Fill up on tossed salad, but order dressing on the side and use sparingly.
  • Avoid cream sauces, gravy, deep-fried or battered foods, cakes, cookies and pastries.

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