How to make informed nutrition choices

Nutritional choices

March is Nutrition Month, the perfect time for Kelowna community members to reflect on the foods we choose to help nourish our bodies.

With so much information available it can be overwhelming to know where to start, so going back to the basics is the first step.

Whether you’re packing a lunch for day trip to Knox Mountain Park or preparing dinner for the family, here are my tips to making informed nutrition choices for a healthier life.

Check food labels while you shop – By law in Canada, all prepackaged food items must include a label with nutrient content. The labels are there to help you make informed choices and the package provides information on serving size, calories, certain nutrients, and percentage daily values (% DV). Five per cent DV or less is a little, whereas 15 per cent DV is a lot. Try to get more fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium. Aim for less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and cholesterol.

Follow Canada’s Food Guide – Canada’s Food Guide is an eating plan created by Health Canada to help you make healthy nutrition choices. Overall, the guide emphasizes eating a variety of healthy foods each day. To do this, your ‘healthy plate’ should consist of half vegetables and fruits, a quarter of protein-rich foods including a focus on plant-based proteins in addition to traditional protein sources, and the remaining quarter should be whole grain foods. You should also make water your drink of choice, but feel free to get creative by adding fruits and veggies to enhance the flavour.

Don’t get caught up in food trends – It can be easy to get swept up in the latest food trends, but that doesn’t mean you need to follow them exclusively. Focus on eating a variety of whole foods with various nutrients, instead of only eating a handful of foods touted for their superior quality. All bodies are unique, so it’s important that we fuel our bodies with foods that make us feel good. For some that might mean whole grain toast and eggs for breakfast, while for others it might mean a chia seed breakfast bowl with fruit.

If you would like to learn more about how to prepare nutritious meals and creating a healthy routine, I am here to help. As a registered dietitian at Peter's Your Independent Grocer in Kelowna, I can work with you one-on-one to develop a unique and easy to follow plan.

To book a virtual appointment with me, go to yourindependentgrocer.ca/dietitians.

Here is an easy but nutritional recipe to get you started:

One-Pan Zucchini Noodle and White Bean Puttanesca

• 2 tbsp olive oil

• 1 cup cherry tomatoes

• 2 cloves garlic, minced

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

• Pinch hot pepper flakes

• 1 can white kidney beans

• 1/4 cup kalamata olives

• 1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed

• 1 pkg zucchini veggie noodles

• 1/4 cup torn fresh basil

1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Add garlic, salt, black pepper and hot pepper flakes; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beans; cook, stirring often, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in olives and capers. Transfer to large bowl. Set aside.

3. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add veggie noodles; cook, tossing and stirring often, until tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato mixture; cook, stirring to coat, until heated through, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with basil.

Zahra Tromsness is a registered dietitian at Peter's Your Independent Grocer in Kelowna.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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