If you know you should be eating better, but don’t, you’re not alone.
The national 2015 Tracking Nutrition Trends survey which asks Canadians questions about their dietary habits shows many of us appear to have just stopped trying, with 35 per cent saying they’re actually making less of an effort to improve their eating habits than they were a couple of years ago.
Are we giving up? It’s a worrisome trend, say dietitians, who see it rooted in too many of us trying to do too much per minute. Meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking at home drops off our to-do lists.
“People do report just being increasingly more busy,” says Gina Sunderland, a registered dietitian in private practice in Winnipeg and spokesperson for Dietitians of Canada.
“People are putting more of an emphasis on their busy-ness versus an emphasis on their overall health.”
Compounding the problem, of course, is a food system that races alongside us. It’s so easy to eat poorly, with cheap, fast, no-effort food always within reach.
At the other end of the spectrum, of course, are those living not hectic, but isolated lives. Long winters spent indoors, engaged in sedentary activities, is not a recipe for living well, let alone eating well.
That brings us to the theme of March 2016’s Nutrition Month. This year its focus is on trying to make just small changes to our eating habits. Dietitians of Canada, which has mounted the campaign every year since 1981 has dubbed this year’s to ‘Take a 100-Meal Journey.’
We generally eat about 100 meals a month, said Sunderland. If you can make one small change in that period, you’re on your way to developing a new, healthier eating habit. Those changes could be anything from reducing your portion size, to drinking a glass of milk instead of a sugary drink. The point is, to do something doable, and tell others you’re doing it. You’re more likely to stick with it then.
Little steps to eating better is, of course, much like the old adage, ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.’ Adopting a complicated diet, or swearing you’ll stop eating this or that again, is trying to go somewhere all at once.
“Too many changes at once can be overwhelming, which is one reason people give up,” says Emily Mardell, a Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month spokesperson in Edmonton.
“Instead, we want Canadians to pick one change and practise it over 100 meals.”
Dietitians of Canada chose eight special recipes from their Cookspiration app to help you get started along your 100-meal journey. Visit www.cookspiration.com for more ideas.
Baked Eggs With Lentils, Peppers And Tomatoes
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. coriander
- 2 large onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 bell peppers (mixture of yellow, orange, red), sliced into 1/2-inch strips
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp. chopped thyme
- 1/2 c. chopped cilantro (reserve some for garnish)
- 10 large Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- Sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 c. cooked or canned green lentils drained and rinsed
- 8 large eggs
- 1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled
Preheat oven to 400 F. Cook in a large, ovenproof sauté pan over medium-high heat, the cumin and coriander for two minutes, stirring often. Add onions and olive oil, and sauté five minutes. Add garlic, peppers, honey, bay leaves, thyme, cilantro, and cook for five minutes, stirring often. Add tomatoes, paprika, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cooked lentils and cook seven minutes longer. Remove bay leaves. Continue in your ovenproof sauté pan, or divide lentil sauce into eight individual ovenproof skillets or ramekins. Make eight indentations in the sauce and crack an egg into each. Sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese. Bake for 15 minutes or until eggs are cooked to desired doneness. Garnish with chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.
Serves: 8.Preparation time: 20 minutes.Cooking time: 55 minutes.
Recipe provided by Canadian Lentils. cookspiration.com
Chicken, Swiss And Vegetable Bulgur Salad
Similar to classic Tabbouleh but packed with vegetables, tender chicken and nutty Swiss cheese, this is a filling lunch that will really satisfy. The zesty orange dressing gives it a fresh flavour, even when made ahead and packed for lunch the next day.
- 3/4 c. coarse bulgur
- 1-1/2 c. water
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 large tomato, chopped
- 1/2 English cucumber, chopped
- 1/2 c. finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1-1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken breast
- 4 oz. cubed Swiss or washed-rind cheese
- 2 tsp. grated orange zest
- 1/4 c. freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbsp. wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. Dijon mustard
In a saucepan, combine bulgur, 1/4 tsp. salt and water and bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat, cover and let soak for 15 minutes. Drain and place in a large bowl. Let cool to room temperature. Add celery, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, chicken and cheese to bulgur. In a small bowl, whisk together orange zest, orange juice, vinegar, oil, mustard and pepper. Pour over bulgur mixture and toss to coat. Season with up to 1/4 tsp. salt.
Serves: 4. Preparation time: 20 minutes.Cooking time: 5 minutes.
Recipe provided by Dairy Farmers of Canada. cookspiration.com