The turkey dinners are almost done and you’ve likely had your fair share of sweets and treats, too. This inevitably leads many people to start the new year with a resolution to eat healthier, which can sometimes seem difficult after a season of feasting.

Aside from will power, we think that a healthy eating resolution boils down to menu planning and going back to the basics of following Canada’s Food Guide recommendations.

The suggested servings in the Food Guide are of course different depending on your age, gender and your lifestyle (e.g. if you do a lot of intense physical labour or not), so check out the guide itself to figure out what your body needs. But there are also some general tips to follow to ensure that you’re getting all of the nutrition you need each day.

The first rule of eating well is that you need servings from each food group – vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk and alternatives and meal and alternatives. You should also include a small amount (two to three tablespoons) of unsaturated fat in your diet each day. Such fats include oils, salad dressings, margarine and mayonnaise. And, it’s very important to drinks lots of water, especially on days that are hot or you’re planning to be very active.

To make each Food Guide serving count, there are some choices that will be better than others that you should aim to stick to whenever possible. When it comes to fruits and veggies, dark green and orange vegetables are great choices and both fruit and vegetables should be prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.

Half of your grain products should be whole grain and try to choose grain products that are lower in fat, sugar and salt. To get your dairy without all the fat, it’s suggested that you stick to skim, 1% or 2% milk and for milk alternatives, like yogurt and cheese, pick ones with lower fat.

Many people assume that meat is the only protein out there, but it’s actually very good for you to eat meat alternatives like beans, lentils and tofu often. Fish is also a great source of protein and it’s much lower in fat than other meat. Cooking methods will also make a difference – roasting, baking and poaching will reduce the fat content.

Following these tips and the suggested servings specific to you will help you meet your vitamin, mineral and nutrient requirements, reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer and osteoporosis and help you be healthy overall.

And, on nights when you don’t have time to cook, don’t go for fast food – it might be easy but it’s not good for you! Instead, stop by our Food Shoppe at 90 Earl Martin Dr. in Elmira where we offer pre-made soups and meals with local produce and no preservatives.

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