5 Tips to Help You Unlock the Potential of Food

March is Nutrition Month!

Nutrition Month is a campaign run by Dietitians of Canada and this year, the theme is helping Canadians unlock the potential of food to fuel, discover, prevent, heal and bring us together. This week I’m going to focus on the potential to fuel by sharing my top five tips for choosing healthy snacks that will keep you satisfied and energized throughout your busy day.

Tip 1: Bring on the Fibre

Fibre is slow to digest so it keeps you feeling full longer, which is good for weight management. For men age 19-50, aim for 38 grams per day. For women age 19-50, aim for 25 grams per day. To help meet these recommendations, incorporate more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds into your daily snacks. Here are some of my go-to snacks that pack at least 5 grams of fibre:

  • 1 medium sliced apple (skin on) with 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 slice whole grain toast with ¼ avocado and ground pepper
  • ¾ cup spicy roasted chickpeas
  • ½ cup vanilla yogurt with ½ cup raspberries and 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup baby carrots with 2 tablespoons hummus

Tip 2: Ditch the Added Sugar

High intakes of sugar are linked to an increased risk of adverse health effects, such as diabetes mellitus, heart disease, obesity and cancer. When choosing packaged snacks, read the nutrition facts table and ingredient list and limit items with added sugars in the first 3 ingredients. If you have a sweet tooth, reach for fresh fruits to get your sugar fix and reap the added benefits of vitamins and fibre.

Tip 3: Go for the Good Fats

Fat promotes satiety, meaning it helps keep you satisfied after a meal. Opt for monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats over saturated and trans fats by choosing plant-based sources like avocados, olive oil, nuts and seeds. These “good” fats help to lower your risk of heart disease and atherosclerosis. For a healthy heart, aim for just 2-3 tablespoons of unsaturated fat every day.

Tip 4: Power Up with Protein

Protein provides satiation, meaning it helps you feel satisfied during a meal. You can add protein powder to your smoothies or baked goods, or include whole protein sources in your snacks like eggs, beans, lentils, Greek yogurt, or hemp seeds.

Tip 5: Try to DIY

Making your own snacks can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! You can save quite a lot of money doing this, and you get to control the ingredients. Be creative and try making your own hummus, granola, muffins or energy balls. Stay tuned for next week’s blog post because I will be sharing my personal favourite energy ball recipe!

Erin Martin

Ryan Stallard