Many Canadians are looking for quick and easy ways to freshen up their weekly meal plan. Instead of a drastic overhaul or resorting to dieting, here are my five tips for quick wins and smart substitutions you can make to your daily meals and snacks.
1. PREP YOUR BREAKFAST
Mornings are tough and it can be a mad dash out the door. Instead of grabbing a breakfast sandwich on your way in, opt for a smart on-the-go option like overnight oats. They're an effortless way to start your morning off right and may help keep you feeling full until lunch. Step it up a notch and top it off with vibrantly colored fruit and nuts to help energize your mornings and tackle deadlines. Tip: Cook steel cut oats on the porridge setting in a rice cooker the night before for a set-it-and-forget-it fool-proof breakfast. Check out my favourite overnight oat recipe here.
2. LIMIT LIQUID CALORIES
Sometimes your morning coffee isn't enough to get you through the day. According to Dietitians of Canada, women should aim to drink at least 9 cups of water and men at least 12 per day to keep their body hydrated. While it might taste better to reach for a fizzy pop with your lunch, try to substitute pop with fruit-infused water to limit your liquid calories and still keep that great taste. You can also try sparkling water with a splash of 100% pomegranate or tart cherry juice for a beautifully refreshing beverage.
3. PICK THE RIGHT SNACKS
Snacking while binge-watching Netflix or to giving in to your 3 p.m. craving is an easy way to fall in the trap of eating processed foods like chips or donuts. Instead of careless snacking, always keep a few smart snacks on hand. My go-to is unsalted pistachios, they offer the perfect combination of fibre, protein and monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that may help keep you satiated. The left-over pistachio shells remind me of my portions, too.
4. LIMIT YOUR PROCESSED CARBS
While carbs can be good for you, it's easy to eat too many overly-processed refined grains in white bread, pasta, cookies, crackers, and many dry cereals. Instead of breading chicken or fish, try "breading" them with crushed pistachios. Or to upgrade from white pasta and add more veggies to your plate, try subbing in spaghetti squash. Check out a few Spaghetti Squash recipes you can make here.
5. SAY YES TO WHOLE GRAINS
Whole grains can contain many nutrients, including protein and fibre. If you're looking for a quick 30-minute dinner recipe, chances are you'll be making a pasta or rice dish. Instead of cooking with white rice, opt for brown rice. You'll get the added benefits of eating a whole grain and it may just help you feel satisfied throughout the night.
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