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  • November is Good Nutrition Month!
    Added by My Identity Doctor
    With the holidays around the corner, it’s a great time to talk about good nutrition. Practicing healthy nutrition throughout the year can help make it easier to not feel guilty when special occasions come around and we indulge in more sweet and salty treats than we’d perhaps like to admit! Getting a head start on eating well in November and before the December holidays ramp up can help you learn to control what you’re eating, before all the opportunities to overindulge in treats are staring you right in the face!
    school aged girl eating balanced lunch in lunchroom
    What is good nutrition?
    Good nutrition is the simple-seeming act of eating a “healthy, balanced diet”. When you start digging in, though, that can appear a lot more complex than it sounds! And even more-so when you begin to put good nutrition into the context of food preferences and dislikes, social situations, and even the grocery aisle!
    Good nutrition is getting enough energy to sustain your activities—some people need more, some need less—and taking in enough of certain nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals, to keep your body functioning optimally.
    Good nutrition is not a diet—it’s meant to last throughout your life. And, in my opinion (and that of many professionals like dieticians!) good nutrition includes reasonable amounts of “treats” that you enjoy! A healthy, balanced diet is about moderation of everything, not deprivation!
    How do I know what to eat?
    Most countries have a guide to healthy eating. Here in Canada, we have what’s called Canada’s Food Guide, which now also has a version geared towards our First Nations, Inuit and Metis populations that may follow more traditional diets of their people. In the United States, My Plate has taken over for the Food Pyramid. In England, a similar version to My Plate is used, called the Eatwell Guide. These plans are all very similar, allow for flexibility, and help visualize healthy food choices and portion sizes. Healthy Eating Guides are guidelines only, however, and they do not necessarily work for everyone’s nutritional needs. Explore them all and see what might work best for you.
    Finding guidance: Registered Dietitians
    If you need further assistance in determining what to eat, visiting a Registered Dietitian is a great way to help you learn how to eat in a way that is healthy and does not deprive you of the occasional treat you enjoy! Registered Dieticians are health professionals who are able to help you determine your personal nutritional needs based on medical conditions, food energy and nutrient needs, exercise and activity level, and more, and help you develop a plan to feel your best by managing what you eat. Dieticians may be available through public health services, universities or colleges, public libraries, grocery stores, and in some cases may be covered by your health insurance.
    Often, people with chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, or those who wish to manage obesity, will be referred to a dietitian as part of their chronic care program. Your doctor can be an important part of your journey to eating better for your health, by referring you to a registered dietician. In some cases, doctors will provide nutrition advice, however, I have heard of several cases of unfounded nutritional claims promoted by general physicians who have very limited education in this area, and not enough time to invest in providing nutritional counselling to patients. A registered dietitian can be your best resource to ensuring what you are eating is right for you, and will consult with your doctor or specialist if needed to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding what you need! If you are on a special medical diet, wearing a medical ID bracelet or necklace identifying your condition can also help ensure your condition is managed in an emergency.
    Getting on track
    It is easy to get “off track” with healthy eating, but tools exist to make it easier. Mobile apps can help keep nutrition tracking close at hand, and even provide reminders and encouragement to track what you are eating. These can be simple apps that help you log foods from each food group, like Eat Right or MyPlate, to more complex management of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats), vitamins and minerals, such as the free MyFitnessPal app or MyPlate from Livestrong. There are tons of apps to explore, and you may have to find a few that are right for you—my go-to is MyFitnessPal, but I’ve tried many others, too!
    By practicing good nutrition most of the time, you can feel better about indulging on special occasions where a treat is truly a treat!
    Published by My Identity Doctor on November 27, 2018


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