Here is the 2nd part to the canada food guide - in a HOW TO increase whole foods consumption without more work or stress…
In looking at the Canada Food Guide, there are many different thoughts and comments, but one thing we can’t deny is the benefit of eating more whole foods daily.
So, what happens when we have full schedules, so many tasks on our TODO lists, and limited time?
How do we make small, but repeatable changes that will improve our health by using whole foods?
Here are a few ideas to find some ways to create do-able steps, in your busy week, to ease possible meal stress and insert more whole foods into your day.
Maybe you are already are doing some of these ideas, or have found other solutions that work great for you. If so, that is perfect! There are many ways and each of us is different and have different resources, needs, and schedules. Where ever you are at right now, making 1 change, that is easy for you to do, is a huge step forward. My list below is just a few ideas that may be of interest.
This week, I am focusing on vegetables and whole grains for now, as those tend to be the main questions, in how to make positive changes, that I get asked. However, proteins and fats and beverages as well as sugars are important to talk about as well, and I will focus on those next week.
ADD 1 MORE
Add 1 more cup of vegetables each day…. Regardless if you make homemade soups or use store bought options of soups, chilli, and spaghetti sauces, all are a great way to add in 1 more cup of veggies. Puree cooked broccoli or cauliflower or zucchini and add to those items to thicken and increase nutrients. Double the recipe or store bought preparation, and save the left overs for the next day so you have easy meal options, even lunch.
Pureeing sounds like too much work? Steam a big batch of broccoli or cauliflower and puree many cups at once. Freeze the puree in muffin tins, remove and store in the freezer to then toss in soups or chilli, or sauces when cooking.
Another way to get more veggies, is to add sautéed onions and garlic to most meal recipes regardless if homemade or store bought.
BATCH where its at!
Batch cooking is your friend when time is limited. Cook ONCE and eat many times. It is a true time saver, both in preparation, grocery shopping, and even thinking about WHAT to eat/make for dinner.
How to do that? Take a favourite recipe, and double or triple or even quadruple it. Use it up within 3-4 days in the fridge, or freeze some portions for later enjoyment. 1 litre glass mason jars make it easy to store in the fridge or freezer. Having a freezer full or ready homemade foods is an incredible feeling. NOTE: leave about 2 inches space at the top if freezing or the glass may crack!
And More BATCHES!
Now, you can take that left over soup, and cook up a large batch (enough for 3 or 4 meals) of brown rice or quinoa, and part of it to be a companion to your soup. With enough additions, your soup becomes a full meal. Toss in chickpeas or meat for protein.
The whole grain rice or quinoa can also be used as a side dish, in a salad, or rice/quinoa bowl, where you mix veg and protein (meat or beans), as well as nuts and seeds and a healthy fat type of dressing.
A Note on Whole Grains
Reducing our reliance on white flour, white rice, white pasta and refined baked items, is an important step to increasing fibre and nutrients in our daily meals and snacks.
Try some swaps in those products that are comparable to the more whole grain options. Breads can be a big one to change. Soft white bread feels good and smells and tastes amazing. But it is lacking in nutrients and can cause a blood sugar spike due to its lack of fibre and leaving just the starch.
Find whole grain options when shopping, where the product lists the word “WHOLE” in the ingredients for the grains. Seeds and such are nice additions to breads and snack items as well.
Snack bars are something that are pretty easy to make at home and can be an amazing source of great ingredients. Recipes such as Oh She Glows Glo Bars, are a favourite snack, but there are MANY other recipes and options for snack bars that you can find using your Google Machine :).
If you can swap 1 regularly consumed item that is not whole grain, for a more whole grain option, maybe even homemade, that is great!
Have a great week!