Eating Healthy Foods: Care Instructions

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Your Care Instructions

Eating healthy foods can help lower your risk for disease. Healthy food gives you energy and keeps your heart strong, your brain active, your muscles working, and your bones strong.

A healthy diet includes a variety of foods from the food groups: vegetables and fruit, grain products, milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives. Some people may eat more of their favourite foods from only one food group and, as a result, miss getting the nutrients they need. So, it is important to pay attention not only to what you eat but also to what you are missing from your diet. You can eat a healthy, balanced diet by making a few small changes.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Look at what you eat

  • Keep a food diary for a week or two and record everything you eat or drink. Go to Canada's Food Guide at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/basics-base/quantit-eng.php to learn how many food guide servings you should aim for each day. Track the number of servings you eat from each food group.
  • For a balanced diet every day, eat a variety of:
    • Vegetables and fruit. Be sure to include a variety of colours. A serving is ½ cup of fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables or fruit; 1 cup of leafy raw vegetables; 1 piece of fruit; or ½ cup 100% juice.
    • Grain products. A serving is 1 slice of bread, 30 g of cold cereal, ½ cup of cooked rice or cooked pasta, or ¾ cup cooked cereal.
    • Milk and alternatives. A serving is 1 cup of milk or fortified soy beverage, 1 cup of cottage cheese, ¾ cup of yogurt, or 1½ ounces of cheese.
    • Meat and alternatives. A serving is 2½ ounces of cooked fish, shellfish, poultry, or lean meat, ¾ cup cooked beans, 2 eggs, or 2 tablespoons peanut butter.
  • Learn how to read food labels for serving sizes and ingredients. Fast-food and convenience-food meals often contain few or no fruits or vegetables. Make sure you eat some fruits and vegetables to make the meal more nutritious.
  • Look at your food diary. For each food group, add up what you have eaten and then divide the total by the number of days. This will give you an idea of how much you are eating from each food group. See if you can find some ways to change your diet to make it more healthy.

Start small

  • Do not try to make dramatic changes to your diet all at once. You might feel that you are missing out on your favourite foods and then be more likely to fail.
  • Start slowly, and gradually change your habits. Try some of the following:
    • Use whole wheat bread instead of white bread.
    • Use non-fat or low-fat milk instead of whole milk.
    • Eat brown rice instead of white rice, and eat whole wheat pasta instead of white-flour pasta.
    • Try low-fat cheeses and low-fat yogurt.
    • Add more fruits and vegetables to meals and have them for snacks.
    • Add lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and onion to sandwiches.
    • Add fruit to yogurt and cereal.

Enjoy food

  • You can still eat your favourite foods. You just may need to eat less of them. If your favourite foods are high in fat, salt, and sugar, limit how often you eat them, but do not cut them out entirely.
  • Eat a wide variety of foods.

Make healthy choices when eating out

  • The type of restaurant you choose can help you make healthy choices. Even fast-food chains are now offering more low-fat or healthier choices on the menu.
  • Choose smaller portions, or take half of your meal home.
  • When eating out, try:
    • A veggie pizza with a whole wheat crust or grilled chicken (instead of sausage or pepperoni).
    • Pasta with roasted vegetables, grilled chicken, or marinara sauce instead of cream sauce.
    • A vegetable wrap or grilled chicken wrap.
    • Broiled or poached food instead of fried or breaded items.

Make healthy choices easy

  • Buy packaged, pre-washed, ready-to-eat fresh vegetables and fruits, such as baby carrots, salad mixes, and chopped or shredded broccoli and cauliflower.
  • Buy packaged, pre-sliced fruits, such as melon or pineapple.
  • Choose 100% fruit or vegetable juice instead of soda. Remember that whole vegetables and fruit have more fibre than juice. Choose whole vegetables and fruit more often.
  • Blend low-fat yogurt, fruit juice, and canned or frozen fruit to make a smoothie for breakfast or a snack.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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Current as of: July 26, 2016