Healthy eating is important for optimal health, yet many women struggle to meet their specific nutritional needs. 

Canadian data shows:

  • women 19 years and older are not meeting their daily needs for Vitamin A, D, B6, folate, magnesium, iron and calcium
  • about 50% of women are overweight or obese
  • the majority consume too much sodium. 

Healthy eating means choosing the appropriate servings from each of the four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide, according to your age. For many busy women, a few small changes can make a positive difference to their overall health and how they look and feel.  Keep these simple guidelines in mind:

1. Plan to eat 7 – 8 servings of Vegetables and Fruit each day

The majority of women fall short when it comes to their intake of produce

  • Make it easy to remember: commit to having at least two servings of vegetables at each meal, and a vegetable or fruit at breakfast and at each snack.
  • Make it colourful – the more colours, the better.  That’s because deep coloured vegetables and fruit provide more nutrients than most paler ones.
  • Look for new ideas on how to enjoy vegetables and fruit.

2.  Don’t skip meals

Having scheduled healthy meals and snacks is important, both for your waistline and overall health. 

  • In particular, research shows that women who eat breakfast on a regular basis are less likely to be overweight.  And if you skip breakfast or lunch, you likely won’t make up for missed nutrients later in the day. 
  • Skipping meals can lead to weight-gain.  Waiting until we’re starving usually results in overeating, and often means eating less nutritious options. 
  • Take the time to fit healthy meals and snacks into your schedule.   Too busy?  Not all meals need to be a sit-down affair.  Consider these simple Mix and Match (pdf) ideas and Healthy Snacking Tips (pdf).

3.  Include physical activity into your daily routine. 

It doesn’t have to be a fitness class, nor a structured sport.  But, building one hour of physical activity into your day – in small intervals if you have to – will help you feel better, improve your level of energy, and likely improve what you eat as well. 

Get your body moving:

  • take the stairs rather than the elevator
  • instead of watching tv after dinner, take a walk with your family
  • vacuum more often – even housecleaning can count towards your physical activity
  • do some stretches or lift weights while you watch tv why not try something totally new – like yoga, paddling or dancing?  Check with your local YMCA, recreation centre, or public health unit for new ideas.
  • make it a social affair -  go skiing, skating or cycling with a friend

4.  Maintain a healthy body weight.

Your body weight and waist circumference are two measurements that can help determine whether you are at a healthy weight.  

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