The second most important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle involves how you fuel your body. The first article in the Leading a Healthy Lifestyle trilogy discussed the importance of exercise and the variety of ways you can maintain a regular exercise regimen while holding yourself accountable. Now it’s time to discuss how to hold yourself accountable for what you put in your body. The Canadian Food Guide recommends that females 19-50 years of age consume 7-8 vegetables and fruits, 6-7 grain products, 2 milk and alternatives, and 2 meat and alternatives per day. For males ages 19-50 the recommended consumption is 8-10 fruits and vegetables, 8 grain products, 2 milk and alternatives, and 3 meat and alternatives per day. If you haven’t seen the recommended guidelines you can visit the Health Canada website to see how you compare. As you read this article you are probably thinking that you’ve not eaten along Canada’s recommended food guidelines. Either you are eating too little or too much. The Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology created a Canadian Obesity Report in March of this year. The committee found that the majority of Canadians do not following the food guidelines set forth in 2007. Rather, there has been an increase in consumption of processed, ready-to-eat and snack foods contributing to obesity, and less of the natural non-processed foods. If you’d like to see the results of the study and their recommended changes here. Your body is a temple, so treat it like one. Just as it’s crucial to make time to exercise, it’s even more important to pay mind to what you eat. Pre-packed ready-to-eat foods are not the way to go. Full of additives, sugar and unnecessary oils, pre-packaged and prepared foods just contribute to increased fat and weight gain. The best way to eat is to cook at home from scratch, with simple ingredients. This way you know exactly what you’re putting in your body and what you’re feeding your family. Turn your favorite recipes into healthier versions of themselves. There are a variety of ways to incorporate superfoods into things you are currently making at home. Black beans provide an excellent source of protein and can be used in place of flour. Other flour alternatives include the simple wheat flour substitute, coconut flour and nut flour or meal. Nut meal is a fancy way of saying ground nuts. If you have a food processor or really good blender you can make your own meal by just putting the nuts in the food processor and grinding them into a fine mixture. Sugar is always a tough one to substitute, but is also the most addictive component of many processed foods. Rather than using sugar try vanilla extract, stevia, unsweetened apple sauce, all natural honey or maple syrup. It typically won’t taste as sweet, but the effect is still the same. If you don’t want to use processed apple sauce you can make your own in a food processor or blender by just grinding the apples to your preferred thickness. There are many copycat substitutes out there for the ever dreaded butter, but margarine and the tubs of butter in the store can be even worse for you. It might sound strange to try mashed avocados or bananas in place of butter, however they are used as alternatives in a variety of recipes. Canola oil is another fat, like butter, that can be replaced with other things. If a recipe calls for canola oil try coconut or flax seed oil instead. When baking try replacing oil with Greek yogurt or applesauce, which is even better than using a different type of oil. Speaking of Greek yogurt, what a great replacement Greek yogurt can be for things like sour cream and mayonnaise. For those who don’t eat either sour cream or Greek yogurt you would never be able to tell the difference. Greek yogurt can replace items like sour cream and mayonnaise in potato, tuna and chicken salad recipes. Continuing with dairy, evaporated milk and unsweetened almond or coconut milks are a good alternatives to cream and heavy cream. Use evaporated, unsweetened almond, or unsweetened coconut milk in your sauces, coffee, tea, etc.… For those chocolate lovers out there just make a smart choice. Choose dark chocolate or cocoa nibs instead of milk chocolate, and maybe add a handful of almonds or dried fruit. Just because you have a sweet tooth doesn’t mean you have to cut it out, it just means you have to be more strategic about your choices. If you believe you already eat healthy, but can’t seem to get your weight under control or you are feeling sluggish, you may be forgetting one key thing. What you might be forgetting are those sauces and condiments that typically contribute to your daily intake of sugar and unhealthy fats. Salad dressings, pasta sauces, sauces on chicken and fish all contribute to your daily caloric intake. There is no need to worry that you have to dump the sauce! If you have children you might know how difficult it is to get them to eat healthy and how that can contribute to your unhealthy diet. There are ways to foods with better ingredients and you’re kids (or spouse) won’t notice. For example, check out this Fettuccini Alfredo recipe from the Food Network. The recipe utilizes Cauliflower in the sauce to add vegetables, while still maintaining taste. Other ways to “hide veggies” so they taste better is to put them into things you already like. For example, throw in a handful of fresh or frozen spinach or kale to a smoothie. Make sure to really grind it in with the rest of the ingredients to disguise the flavour and consistency. You can also add veggies to your omelettes, or make a frittata with veggies like peppers, spinach, broccoli and onions. Some vegetables can also substitute for noodles. Spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles are of the most common choices. You can also mask vegetables in casseroles, burgers and meatloaves. Chop them up finely so that they stir into the mixture evenly. The added spices will help distract you from the fact that veggies are already in there. If you enjoy vegetables then these ideas for hiding veggies are just a plus for some of your favourite recipes! Track What You Eat One of the easiest ways to ensure you eat the correct amount of each recommended daily serving from all of the food group is to track what you eat. Although it sounds tedious there are different tools that help guide you through the process. The simplest tracker can be found here on the Health Canada website. The EATracker mobile app or website, or My Fitness Pal mobile app are virtual ways to track your intake of food if you don’t want to keep a physical journal or log book. Not only does tracking your food provide you with a realistic idea of what you eat every day, it also provides accountability. Tracking your food is somewhat like regulation. If you can see what you’ve eaten for the day then you know which foods, and how much of each food group you will need to eat throughout the rest of the day. In addition, tracking allows you to visualize goals. Especially in the instance of trying to lose weight. The ability to see yourself meet a goal is invaluable. Or if you have yet to set a goal, begin with tracking your food to make the goals more realistic and attainable. Do you want to avoid being one of Canada’s poor food choice related statistics? If so, Warrior Packs can help! In addition to our outdoor boot camps and personal training we also feature nutrition counselling. Our supportiveness extends beyond our boot camp classes and onto your dinner plate. We don’t believe in judgement, deprivation, punishment, guilt or, all-or-nothing rules. Our nutrition counselling reinforces current skills, so that you can break free from dieting rules to move toward a more natural, balanced, self-led form of nourishing your body. Our motto for food is: eat what you like, learn to moderate certain foods and make informed food decisions. Whether you are looking for some advice or you are completing revamping your diet our nutrition counselling services can help. Contact us today to learn more about how our nutrition counselling could help you improve upon your eating habits. Make smart choices and your body will thank you for it! Take these food related tips and tricks and apply them to your plate so that you can fuel your body for success! The final Leading a Healthy Lifestyle article will discuss the benefits of taking care of your mental and physical health. It’s not just about how much you move and what you eat. Keeping up a healthy lifestyle also means taking care of your body and mind!