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Thankful on Thanksgiving: Healthy Food

There are so many things for which I am grateful. Many are things over which I have little to no control–wonderful family, growing up in comfort, opportunities for education, foundational good health, etc. Some are things that I’ve created for myself through choices I make every day.

This latter group of things I’m grateful for includes health and wellness. And it takes effort. This is a short list of some of the things I do for my health.

Exercise regularly. Eat healthy food. Strive to be mindful and practice gratitude to manage life’s stresses. Learn about health and its many varied aspects and approaches. Trial and error different things to see how/if they work for me. 

Sometimes people tell me that these things are too hard to do. That they cost too much. That they take too much time. That they take the fun out of life. 

But they needn’t be any of these things. Let’s talk about it in reference to food.

Making Eating Healthy Food Easier and Tastier

I get it. Unhealthy food is often convenient. It’s everywhere. It’s served in large portions. It’s made to tempt. It’s even sometimes made to look like it’s healthy. 

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Size. Fake healthy. Really? Why is there a super-sized can of nacho “cheese” sauce? And they label it 0 trans fat. As if that makes it healthy.

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Temptation. I’ve seen all kinds of food with Star Wars on the container. Cereal, KD, granola bars, flavoured creamers, soups, and so forth. They make the food you see regularly seem somehow special.

Just...what?! This does not look tempting to me. This looks inedible. It was part of a Halloween themed scary meal option, and scare it does. But it was also intended to be consumed and people buy it.

Just…what?! This does not look tempting to me. This looks inedible. It was part of a Halloween themed scary meal option, and scare it does. But it was also intended to be consumed, and people do buy it.


So, what can you do to make healthy food choices? 

  1. Avoid the aisles when you shop the grocery store. Really. Most of the bad, the worse, and the ugly is found in the supermarket aisles. Skip the chip, pop, and cookie aisle altogether. Be focused if you want to enter the cereal aisle–I know it’s easy to get distracted in that sugar-filled, colourful box, faking healthy aisle. Just get the rolled oats or steel cut oats, for a healthy breakfast option. There are some decent cereal options, but read the labels. That leads me to point two…
  2. Read labels. Is it mostly foods you can identify? If not, then skip it.
  3. Choose mostly foods that don’t need labels.
  4. Be prepared. Have some simple recipes and meal plans organized. Some of my go-to easy prep foods for fall and winter include roasted veggies (so easy to chop up root veggies–they also keep well) with canned legumes, slow cooked stew, baked salmon with steamed veggies and rice. 
  5. Understand that it gets easier. Your taste buds will start to pick up subtle sweet, lightly salty, and other tempting food flavours that they can’t taste when they are bombarded by the heavy stuff. 

Alternative Options for Healthy Food Picks

Sweet tooth? Instead of cookies, cakes, candies, fruit juice, and table sugar, choose dates, figs, sweet potatoes, yams, roasted vegetables (cooking them makes them taste sweeter), and berries. Choose good quality, organic dark chocolate if you are a chocoholic. Savour a small square or two instead of the whole thing. Watch for hidden sugar in sauces and supposedly healthy snacks like granola bars. Include protein, good fats, and fibre to your sweet foods in order to help stabilize your blood sugar. For example, cut open a date, remove the pit, put some hummus in it, and add an almond. Sweet, savory, soft, and crunchy. Easy and yummy!

Swoon for salty? Instead of chips, salty canned soups, and frozen dinners, make your own yam fries with a little pinch of sea salt, kale chips, baked chips (portion out a serving size and put the bag away), and low sodium soups. Taste your food before you add salt. You may not need to add as much as you think. Add crumpled bits of seaweed (nori, dulse, kombu) to your soup or stew. You’ll get the salty taste while adding beneficial minerals and other nutrients. 

Flavour with spices–there are many to choose from. 

Keep some frozen vegetables available for easy steaming or stirfry. Nut butter spread on a piece of fruit, avocado, smoothies, a handful of nuts and/or seeds, or a boiled egg are healthy foods you can keep on hand. 

What are your fave quick, easy, and tasty healthy food choices?

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