Government of New Brunswick
Introduction

Healthy eating is a key component of health. It includes enjoying nutritious food in the amounts our bodies need to perform their best. There is a lot of information available on nutrition and healthy eating which may leave people unsure of what healthy eating really means. It is not complicated once you know the basics. The rewards of healthy eating will be experienced in the short term as well as the long term. Good nutrition helps to protect against chronic disease such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, stroke and high blood pressure.

 

Healthy eating also . . .
  • provides the necessary nutrients for proper growth and development.
  • provides energy for our daily activities.
  • promotes a healthy body weight.
  • increases our ability to learn.
  • strengthens our immune system.
  • helps us enjoy life because cooking a healthy meal can be an enjoyable way to spend time, either on our own or with others
Did you know?
  • Youth obesity rates have tripled over the past 25 years
  • Obesity is the second leading preventable cause of death after cigarette smoking.
  • Canadian data show low intakes for most of the food groups in Canada’s Food Guide for both girls and boys in most grade levels.
  • Atlantic Canadians eat less vegetables and fruit than other Canadians. Only a third of Atlantic Canadians eat enough vegetables and fruit for good health.
  • Consumption of vegetables and fruit helps prevent many diseases and promotes good health.
  • Eating dinners as a family is associated with healthy food intake patterns, including more vegetables and fruit, less fried food and soft drinks, as well as higher fiber and nutrient intakes from food.
  • The increase in portion sizes has contributed to childhood obesity.
General Tips
  • Remember to eat a VARIETY of foods because no single food is perfect. To get all the nutrients you need, enjoy as many different foods as possible from each of the 4 food groups in Canada's Food Guide. Refer to foodguide for more info & tools. 
  • Eating breakfast every day can help improve concentration, reduce hunger and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Go for the whole grains; choose whole-wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, bran cereals, oatmeal and brown or wild rice more often. Whole grains are a great source of energy and fiber. Check the Nutrition Facts table on foods to find out if that food is a good source of fiber. Look for at least 4 grams of fiber per serving.
  • When reading labels, check the nutrition facts panel and look for products with less than 3 grams of total fat when looking for a low fat choice.
  • A serving is ½ a cup or what would fit in the palm of your hand. Refer to www.dietitians.ca/eatwell for a fact sheet called “Colour your world with Vegetables and Fruit”.
  •  Dark green and orange vegetables are loaded with vitamins, fiber and antioxidants which help to fight disease and allow your body to perform at its best. Eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day. Try vegetables such as carrots, spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and squash at least twice a day.
  • Consider the portion size that is right for you and your activity level. Eat only until you are comfortably full. If you are still hungry after a meal choose another serving of whole grain, vegetable or fruit. Try to avoid seconds of higher fat or sugary foods.
  • Purchase the leaner cuts of meat more often, trim off visible fat, and bake, barbecue, broil or microwave. Meat alternatives such as eggs and dried beans, peas and lentils are less expensive sources of protein.
  • Milk and milk products are a key source of calcium and other bone building nutrients. A healthy eating plan, including milk products, along with daily activity will help prevent osteoporosis. Refer to www.dairygoodness.ca for more information on milk products.
Family Tips
  • Home and family have a huge impact on a child’s nutrition and health. Parents and care givers have the opportunity to help children develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.
  • Make family meals a priority. Try not to schedule activities during usual meal times.
  • Make sure family meals are pleasant and relaxed. Spend time at the family meal talking about each others day.
  • Remember it is the parent’s responsibility to provide a variety of healthy foods, at regular times, in an appropriate setting. It is the child’s responsibility to decide if and how much they will eat. Never force a child to eat. Children have a natural ability to regulate their food intake.
  • Never use food as a punishment or reward.
  • Involve the whole family with meal planning, purchasing and preparation.
  • Be a positive role model for your children.
  • Be adventurous; try one new fruit or vegetable each week.
On a budget

Everyone is trying to get the most out of their food dollar. Here are some tips to help ensure you get the nutrients you need while sticking to a budget.

  • Plan your shopping list based on the grocery store flyer.
  • If you are feeling hungry, have a healthy snack before heading to the grocery store.
  • Shop around the outside of the grocery store first. You will find foods from the 4 food groups in Canada’s Food Guide. You may need to pick up a few necessary items from the aisles, but many of the “extra” items that are often low in nutrients, high in calories and expensive, are found in the aisles.
  • If possible, buy larger portions, then separate and freeze in smaller portions.
  • Choose fresh vegetables and fruit when they are in season. When not in season, frozen or canned are good options.
  • Look for choice grade canned vegetables and fruit. The nutritional value is still as good as grade A.
  • Fill your cupboard or freezer with staples such as whole wheat bread, pasta, rice, oatmeal, frozen vegetables,
Not Enough Time?
  • Today's busy lifestyles can make it challenging to provide healthy meals for the family. Here are some tips to help:
  • Plan ahead. Give some thought at the beginning of the week to what you would like to eat throughout the week. Check out www.dietitians.ca.
  • Keep prepared items such as prepackaged salads, frozen vegetables and mini carrots on hand. These can easily be added to a meal to boost nutrients and fiber.
  • Have a plan for leftovers. Make enough to last a few days then freeze unused portions. They can be easily pulled out of the freezer for a quick meal when you are in a hurry.
  • When you have a few minutes, wash and cut vegetables and fruit so they will be ready to eat when a quick snack is needed.
  • Most people have a small number of recipes that they use on a regular basis. Take some time to review some healthy recipes and add them to your inventory.
  • Set the table for breakfast the night before.
Other Resources