Healthy Eating 101

Healthy eating means eating a wide variety of foods and having a positive relationship with food and eating. This section has information about finding balance in how you view food and choose what to eat.

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Healthy eating means eating a wide variety of foods and having a positive relationship with food and eating. It’s about having balance in how you view food and choose what to eat.

This section has information about healthy food choices and healthy eating habits. Check it out for tips to reach your healthy eating goals and improve your health and wellness.

What are the Benefits of Healthy Eating?

There are a lot of benefits to healthy eating. It can help you:

  • Handle stress
  • Maximize your energy
  • Maintain focus
  • Get the nutrition you need
  • Build a stronger immune system and improve your overall health

If you want to make changes to your eating habits, start with small, realistic goals. For example, eat one extra serving of vegetables a day. Or try a new recipe each week. Try to have fun with it!

It’s All About Balance

As you’re making changes to your eating habits, don’t be too hard on yourself if you eat foods that are considered “unhealthy” from time to time. What’s important is to eat a variety of foods so your body has the energy it needs.

Dieting is not the same as healthy eating. Dieting is when you restrict what you eat to lose weight or achieve a certain body shape. Healthy eating is a life-long way of eating and choosing a wide variety of foods.

It’s also important to be aware of food marketing and how it can influence your food choices. Food marketing is advertising (through celebrities, social media, commercials, etc.) that promotes the sale of certain food products – but these products may not always be good for you.

Take a look at what you’re choosing to eat, how much you’re eating, how often, and your overall way (or pattern) of eating. Try to focus on feeling good about eating, eating enough and eating a variety of foods that you enjoy.

Do your best to avoid foods and drinks that are highly processed. These are foods and drinks that add too much salt, sugars or saturated fat our diets. Examples include:

  • Ice cream and frozen desserts
  • Fast foods like French fries and burgers
  • Bakery products like muffins, buns and cakes
  • Processed meats like sausages and deli meats

Too much salt, sugar and saturated fat can increase your risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and other chronic diseases.

Here are some healthy alternative dessert ideas to help satisfy that sweet tooth:

  • Banana ice cream: cut half a banana and half an avocado into chunks, freeze and then blend!
  • Fruit and yogurt granola parfait
  • Fruity ice pops: purée your favourite fruit with a bit of honey and some water, pour into popsicle moulds and pop into the freezer until set!
  • Apple berry crisp

It’s also important to take a look at what you’re drinking. You can lower the amount of sugar in your system by drinking water instead of sugary drinks.

Sugary drinks can include:

  • Fruit juice and soft drinks
  • Sports and energy drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages

Drinking water is important for your health. It’s a great way to quench your thirst and to stay hydrated. Our bodies lose water by sweating, breathing, and when we go to the bathroom.  It’s important to stay hydrated, and replace the water that is lost.

A common recommendation is to drink six or eight 250 mL (8 fl oz) glasses of water every day. But this can vary depending on whether you have any health concerns, how much you exercise, and how hot and dry it is where you live.

These tips can help to make water your drink of choice:

  • Drink it hot or cold
  • Drink water with your meals
  • Carry a water bottle (reusable) when you are out
  • Drink water during and after physical activity
  • Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge or on the table for easy access
  • Try adding some natural flavor to your water such as:
  • Blackberries + mint
  • Raspberries + cucumber
  • Strawberries + fresh basil

If you’re looking for some variety, try these great options:

  • White milk (unsweetened lower fat milk)
  • Drinks that are unsweetened and plant-based such as:
    • Soy beverage
    • Almond beverage
    • Coconut milk
    • Oat milk

Check Canada’s Food Guide for ideas and tips on how to change your eating habits.

If you have concerns about your eating habits, talk to your doctor or call 8-1-1 to speak with a dietitian at HealthLinkBC.

Information about eating disorders and how to find support and resources is available here.

What Next?

Want to explore and learn more? Here are a couple options that will help you.