7 Easy Ways to Eat Better This Year

7 Easy Ways to Eat Better This Year

Try chia pudding for breakfast

This super-trendy dessert-like confection is a perfect morning meal. “It’s so popular, it has  become the new yogurt,” says Vanessa Perrone, a registered dietitian and owner of Motive Nutrition in Montreal. Chia seeds are loaded with omega-3 fats, and a one-ounce serving contains roughly one-third of your daily recommended dose of fibre, which is essential for digestive health and weight management. Here’s how to do it: In a bowl, combine 1/3 cup chia with 1 3/4 cups milk or almond beverage, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons honey. Divide into individual-size Mason jars, top with frozen berries and cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, you’ve got a delicious – and portable – breakfast ready to go.

Use smaller (or vintage) dinnerware

Old-fashioned dinnerware is much smaller than the pieces we’re all using today, and this could be tricking us into eating too much. According to a recent study from the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, participants who were served cereal in larger bowls consumed 16 percent more food – but didn’t know it. Using smaller bowls, plates and glasses reduces the amount we serve ourselves but not our feelings of satisfaction, or satiety, say researchers. (That’s right, you’ll eat less and still feel full.) We think this is the perfect excuse to use Grandma’s china more often!

7 Easy Ways to Eat Better This Year

7 Easy Ways to Eat Better This Year

Be the first to order your meal

“Research shows that when we sit down to dinner in a restaurant, we tend to mimic what our dining companions are ordering, often resulting in poor food choices,” says Perrone. Take control by scoping out the menu online ahead of time. She advises arriving with an idea of what you’d like to have so you can be the first to speak up when your waiter arrives.

Add turmeric spice

Turmeric, which is often used in Asian and Indian meals, is believed to slow and even prevent the growth of cancer cells. Add a few teaspoons to your favourite weeknight stew, or broaden your repertoire and try a new recipe such as Aloo Phujia, a spicy potato dish.

Make dessert count

“You don’t need to give up your favourite foods, but you should make treats worthwhile,” says Abbey Sharp, a registered dietitian in Toronto. That means skipping the packaged diet cookies, which are as low in flavour as they are in calories, and having a real treat instead. Bake your own banana nut muffins, for example – and have one. Or, if you love chocolate, try this trick: Melt 1 ounce high-quality dark chocolate (70 percent or higher) and drizzle over 3 cups of air-popped popcorn. “Chocolate-covered popcorn is more filling than the few squares of chocolate are, so it feels more satisfying,” she says. Bonus: The popcorn provides an extra three grams of fibre and only adds another 100 calories to your snack.

Drink black tea

We’ve gone green, white and lavender, but now it’s time to go back to the beginning. Black tea can keep us young and healthy, according to mounting research that shows the antioxidants it contains prevent DNA damage, helping to protect against certain forms of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Prepare more meals at home

When you spend a bit of time washing, chopping and sautéing, the result is always worth the effort, says Perrone. “When you prepare dishes yourself, you can see exactly which ingredients are going in and avoid all of the unhealthy fats and added sugars you don’t want,” she says. No time to cook most nights? “People are batch-cooking again – that’s a good option for a lot of families,” she says. Cook a big pot of soup or stew on Sunday night to use a few times during the week and, while it’s simmering, prep the veggies you’ll need for the rest of the week’s meals. If the work is half done when you get home, then you’re much more likely to finish the job instead of ordering in.