Celebrate Food, It’s Nutrition Month

I had no idea it was nutrition month until I saw the post from my teammate, Andrea Seccafien. An excuse to celebrate food? A chance to share some of my nutrition tips? Yes please.

Starting the day Right: Breakfast
It’s also a good time to check in on those New Year’s resolutions and/or goals. One of my struggles with nutrition is breakfast. I get so excited to drink coffee in the morning, then get caught up with my routine, and forget to eat. My naturopath, Dr. Liz Mingay, asked me to eat before coffee hit my lips; I tried that but couldn’t quite quit the coffee to my lips habit, and I’d often forget to eat again. The trick that finally worked to get me to eat, plan it like you would a training session; I put it in my daily calendar and I planned what I would eat too. On Sundays, I sit down with my computer and put my training sessions in the calendar, so I decided to put in a breakfast plan everyday.

They say it takes 3-weeks to form a habit. Success! I have not missed breakfast in a long time, and while I don’t necessarily put it in my calendar anymore, I know that I’ve created a routine for myself with breakfast, often a bowl of Stoked Oats made with milk and peanut butter for some additional protein and fat.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and when you start your day off right, it all just comes together. Not everyone has time to sit down with breakfast, so if grabbing something before you go is what you need to do, then go for it. Homemade breakfast cookies, protein pancakes, or a packaged bar (i.e. CLIF or PickyBars), just try to have something balanced with protein, fats, and carbohydrates. And of course enjoy that cup of coffee!

Let’s Take the Fight Out of Food
That’s the theme for the 2017 Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month to help “Canadians improve their relationship with food to find joy in eating.” I am really fortunate, I do not fear food, in fact, I grew up enjoying the family time around meals, but I know I’m not the norm. There is so much information out there, so many trends, so many temptations, so much terrible information, and a lot of people have a terrible relationship with food. 

One of the things I have learned over the years with food is to not feel guilty. Sure there are days where I may not make the best decisions. But it’s not the one day that counts, it’s the overall, the holistic approach to nutrition. Look at what you do overall; 99% of the time I eat really well so when I don’t, I let it go.

The other thing I learned to do, figure out what your temptations are and learn to work them into your diet. Deprivation causes internal fights, and we all have enough conflict in other areas of our life. Instead work with the things you like, then start adding in all the colours, all the micro and macronutrients, and the things that keep us healthy.

Fats. Fats gets its own discussion with the food fight. Fat gets a bad name. But it’s really, really good for you. One of my secrets to success, ensuring that I get lots of ‘good’ fat in my diet; nuts, seeds, olive oil, full fat dairy, etc. The only fat I really try to avoid, is transfats, because they are just not good for you! There is science out there that says when your diet is less than 20% fat that your body goes into a starvation mode (and you may actually have a higher body fat percentage). Fat is a building block. Fat is an energy source. And fat in the right quantities makes you an overall healthy person.

Some Nutrition Tips
1. Set a Goal: Do this by creating a habit. My next goal is to eat a carrot everyday (no not a baby carrot, full size one). I watched Kristen Marchant crush a bag of carrots recently at a training camp. I need to do a better job at eating a variety of vegetables.
2. Let Go: Didn’t eat the perfect diet today? That’s ok. Just don’t dwell on it. Figure out what went wrong and how you can change that in the future (if you even need to change it).
3. Accommodate your guilty pleasures: Treats, candy, baked goods, alcohol, whatever your favourite treats are plan for them. Again deprivation leads to disaster, so instead just plan to have them as part of your diet, just not the foundation of your diet!
4. Plan: the best way to have a balanced, healthy diet is to plan for it.  From meals to snacks, start with a grocery list and when plan to grocery shop each week. We have also started using Chefs Plate in our house as a way to introduce some different, healthy meals for the kids.