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Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy eating doesn't have to be difficult. Click the list below or scroll down for tips on incorporating more nutrition into your diet.

Choosing the right foods
Healthy shopping
Reading nutrition labels
Eating healthy on a budget
Preparing healthy meals
Eating more fruits and vegetables
Drinking more water
Eating healthy on the go

Choosing the right foods
  • Knowing what healthy choices to make can be easy if you follow Canada's Food Guide.
  • Look at food labels to compare foods (see below for more details). Avoid high calories, fat content and sodium.
Fruits and vegetables:
  • Eat at least one dark green vegetable and one orange vegetable each day.
  • Choose vegetables and fruit prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
  • Have vegetables and fruit more often than juice.
Grains: Make at least half of your grain products whole grain each day.

Dairy and alternatives: Drink two cups of milk each day, or try soy beverages if you do not drink milk.

Meat and alternatives:
  • Have meat alternatives such as bean, lentils and tofu often.
  • Eat at least two Food Guide Servings of fish each week.
  • Select lean meat and alternatives prepared with little or no added fat, sugar or salt.
Oils and fats:
  • Include a small amount of unsaturated fat each day. Good fats include oily fish (e.g. tuna, sardines and salmon), nuts, olive or canola oil, and avocados.
Other tips:
  • Satisfy your thirst with water, not pop or juice.
  • Limit foods and beverages in calories, fat and sugar or salt.

Healthy shopping

  • Shop the outer aisles at the grocery stores, where the fresh foods are.
  • Select plenty of vegetables and fruits, and switch up your selections from week to week.
  • Choose lower-fat milk and alternatives. Buy skim, 1% or 2% milk and dairy products, or fortified soy beverages.
  • Choose leaner meats. If you regularly buy luncheon meats, select varieties that are lower in sodium and fat.
  • Limit the less healthy food and beverage purchases. Chances are, if you have these items in the house it will be hard to resist them. Buy healthier choices instead.
  • When buying snacks, choose baked and low-sodium options.
  • Many grocery stores have a natural food aisle. Check it out for healthier alternatives to your regular grocery choices.
  • Read nutrition labels and select foods lower in calories, salt and fat.

Reading nutrition labels

The Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods list calories and 13 core nutrients calculated from the serving size.
  • Serving size: listed at the top, this is the amount the food manufacturer has used to calculate the nutritional label information.
    • Often this figure is less than the full amount in the container.
    • Make sure the serving size is the same when comparing products.
  • Calories: in general, choose foods with lower calories.
  • Fat: in general, choose foods with lower fat content, particularly saturated fat.
    • Saturated fat is what your body uses to make cholesterol, which can build up and narrow your arteries.
    • Transfats raise the levels of your bad cholesterol and should be avoided. There are no safe levels of transfats.
    • Unsaturated fats are the healthiest fat options.
  • Cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease and should be avoided.
  • Sodium listings are based on a daily value of 2,400 mg per day. Look for lower-sodium and salt-free products.
  • Carbohydrates are compounds found in bread, cereal, pasta, rice, vegetables and fruit, among other foods. On labels, carbohydrates include starches, fibre and sugar.
    • Fibre: 21-38g are recommended per day for adults.
    • Sugar and starch: choose foods with lower sugar and starch levels.
  • Protein is a compound found in animal products, nuts and legumes. On a daily basis, it is generally easy to get enough protein to keep your body healthy. Healthy options include lean meats, beans, fish and soy.
  • Vitamin A is important for healthy vision and bone growth.
  • Vitamin C is found in many fruits and vegetables and is an important antioxidant.
  • Calcium is essential for bones and teeth, but many adults fall well short of achieving their recommended daily intake. Look for products with a high % daily value.
  • Iron plays a key role in transporting oxygen around your body and the health of your cells. Lean meats, lower-fat dairy, beans, whole grains, fortified cereals and dark, leafy greens all contain iron.

Eating healthy on a budget

  • Avoid pre-prepared foods, which are generally less nutritious and more costly.
  • Buy vegetables and fruit fresh when they are in season and freeze extras for later.
  • Choose canned or frozen vegetables and fruit - they are affordable and nutritious options.
  • Use beans, lentils and other legumes in place of meat several times a week.
  • Stock up on canned goods and staples when they are on sale. Store them safely and use them up by their "best-before" date.
  • Skip the cookies, baked goods, chips and other salty snack foods, soft drinks and other high calorie beverages. They cost a lot and are low in nutrients. Stick to the four food groups and buy the basics.

Preparing healthy meals:
  • Plan your meals and make a shopping list to ensure you have the ingredients in your kitchen to pull together meals quickly.
  • Ask your family to help get meals started.
  • Choose some healthy convenience products to help speed up preparation time. For example, canned or bottled pasta sauces, frozen vegetables or bagged salad greens.
  • Prepare some foods in advance and keep in freezer. For example, soups, stews, lasagna, cooked ground beef, cooked rice or pizza dough.

Eating more fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables have important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fibre. They usually are low in fat and calories and may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.
  • Top your cereal, yogurt or pancakes with fruit - fresh, frozen, canned or dried.
  • Always have vegetables and fruit on hand. Keep them on the counter or in the fridge, washed and ready to go.
  • Children love to dip. Include cut vegetables in their lunches with a yogurt dip or low-fat salad dressing. Try carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, pepper strips, zucchini strips and rutabaga.
  • Fruit is great for dipping as well. Flavoured yogurt, low-fat cream cheese or even peanut butter make great dips and spreads for cut fruit.
  • For a quick healthy snack, microwave a potato or sweet potato for 10 minutes and add low-fat sour cream and salsa.
  • Stuff your sandwiches with veggies.
  • Make it a habit to have a salad every day. Use a variety of greens and vegetables and top with a low-fat dressing or vinaigrette. Buy prepackaged and cleaned lettuce to save time.
  • Add extra fresh or frozen vegetables to your usual recipes, including lasagna, pasta sauces, stews and casseroles.
  • Make pizza at home with lots of veggies. Try zucchini, summer squash, mushrooms, onions, pepper strips, broccoli, cauliflower, grated carrots, diced/sliced tomato, chopped spinach, arugula or pineapple.
  • Add zest to cooked vegetables by adding herbs, spices, garlic, a small amount of butter or brown sugar, grated cheese, bread crumbs or crushed cornflakes.
But Be Careful…
Some products with “vegetable” or “fruit” in their names are  composed mainly of fat or sugar and generally high in salt. Fruit candies, vegetable chips, fruit jams, ketchup as well as vegetable or fruit drinks or punches do not belong in the vegetable and fruit food group. Make informed choices by reading labels on packaged foods carefully and choose products with 100% fruits and vegetables.

Drinking more water

Drinking water is a calorie-free way to quench your thirst. Young children and older adults are at a higher risk of becoming dehydrated and need to be reminded to drink fluids. Tips:
  • Keep a jug of water in the fridge.
  • Have every family member carry a water bottle around throughout their day, or keep a filled glass of water at your desk to sip on.
  • Add lemon, lime cucumber or orange wedges for flavour.
  • Have water with your main meals instead of other fluids.

Making healthy choices on the go

  • Use Canada's Food Guide to eat well and get your recommended number of food guide servings, wherever you are.
  • Check out the Brand Name Food List for nutritional ratings for packaged and fast foods and beverages.
  • Look for places that offer whole grains, vegetables and fruit and lower-fat choices. Some restaurants provide nutrition information about their food choices.
  • Order small or appetizer portions or share a meal with a friend when eating out.
  • Treat your taste buds and try something different. Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Caribbean, Greek, Indian, Middle Eastern and other ethnic cuisines offer some healthy choices.
  • Choose water, milk, fortified soy beverages or 100% juice instead of highly sugared beverages.
  • Fill up on tossed salad, but order dressing on the side and use sparingly.
  • Avoid cream sauces, gravy, deep-fried or battered foods, cakes, cookies and pastries.
  • At vending machines, avoid chocolate, pop and potato chips and choose healthier options such as water, juice, animal crackers, pretzels, baked chips, nuts and dried fruit.
  • Choose healthier side dishes at fast-food outlets. Instead of fries, most outlets offer salads or soup as an alternative. Make sure to choose low-fat salad dressings.

Contact Us
What to learn more about PoCoMotion?
Healthy Resource Centre
c/o Hyde Creek Recreation Centre
1379 Laurier Avenue
Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 2B9
Phone: (604) 927-7983
Email: info@pocomotion.ca