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Healthy eating made easy

This year, make healthy eating a priority.
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I bet many of you are looking to make some healthy living changes — that’s no mean feat. And if you’re like me, this isn’t the first time you’ve decided to eat better or lose weight or shape up. If healthy eating is on your agenda, set yourself up for success by choosing small and specific goals. For example, instead of saying, “I want to eat better,” begin with “I will start eating breakfast” or “I’ll add an extra vegetable at dinner.”

Make sure your goals reflect your lifestyle and preferences. Make them real: Write them down, put them in your smartphone, share them with a friend and ask for support. And if you slip up, don’t chastise yourself. Learn from the experience and move on. Here are two goals with some tips to get you started.

Drink more water
Whether you’re playing golf or tennis or hunkering down at home, staying hydrated is a must. As you age, your thirst signal is not as strong, and you may need to remind yourself to pour a glass of water. And when it’s cold outside, it’s just as important to stay hydrated as it is on scorching summer days. There are many opinions on how much we need, but a common recommendation is to drink six to eight cups of water or other fluid every day. While this may seem like a lot, all drinks (except alcohol), including tea, coffee, juice, milk and soup, count. Water, of course, is number one, because it’s free of calories, sodium and sugar.

Here are seven ways to up your intake.

  • Drink a glass at each meal. Sipping from a straw may make it seem more “special.”
  • Start slowly. Add one cup a day as you get into the habit.
  • Not a fan of plain water? Consider sparkling or soda water. Add lemon or lime slices, or a splash of cranberry juice. Dress up a pitcher of ice water with mint, cucumber or berries.
  • Always have a bottle of water in the fridge and/or your car, and place a pitcher on the table at mealtime.
  • Set a timer alert on your phone to remind you to drink periodically throughout the day.
  • Include more watery foods, such as lettuce, celery, cucumber, watermelon, tomatoes, spinach and berries, in your diet.
  • The best way to check whether you are well-hydrated is to look at the colour of your urine. If it’s clear or light yellow, you’re good.

Eat out in a healthier way
After long months of COVID-19 and isolation, eating out is a big treat, and you can do it without throwing “healthy habits” away or feeling guilty.

  • Choose from the à la carte menu instead of the prix fixe.
  • If you are famished when you sit down, order something to take the edge off your appetite, such as a green salad with dressing on the side or a glass of spicy tomato juice.
  • Watch out for higher-fat starters such as Caesar salad, deep-fried appetizers, creamy dips or cream soups. Consider seafood cocktail, smoked salmon or a broth-based or puréed vegetable soup instead.
  • If you know portions will be large, ask whether smaller ones are available. Or share with your partner or order appetizers as a main course.
  • Choose steamed, poached, roasted, baked, grilled or broiled items. Steer away from sautéed, pan- or deep-fried, au gratin, creamed or crispy foods.
  • Call ahead to find out about the day’s specials so you can decide your entree in advance. You’ll be less tempted to overindulge if you’ve already made up your mind.
  • Something on the menu you just can’t resist? Share an order with the table.
  • Limit yourself to one alcoholic beverage, and have it with your meal.
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