We are going to talk about healthy eating because eating a healthy diet is a very important part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle. So when someone says healthy eating, what do you guys think? Do you guys have any ideas of how to eat healthily?

First we want to talk about why healthy eating is important. It is important to eat a healthy diet because it lowers the risks of health problems such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes and cancer. Healthy eating gives the body energy and as well contributes to the mental health of a person. So we want to give you a few tips on how to maintain a balanced diet. First we want to ask you guys some questions to find out what you know about healthy eating and then we will discuss the answers.

What is the most important meal of the day?
(they answer we either say right or wrong). Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
Eating breakfast in the morning increases the metabolic rate and prepares the body for the food that it is going to process for the rest of the day. Your metabolic rate is how fast your body burns calories. If your body hasn’t been fed breakfast, the next meal you eat, your body will cling to the nutrients and take much longer to digest them. Not eating breakfast over the course of a long period of time could introduce the problem of obesity.

How many glasses of water should you have a day?
(they answer and we say yes to anywhere around 8 glasses) It is important to have around eight glasses of water a day. Water is an extremely important part of a healthy lifestyle! Water keeps you hydrated and prevents you from feeling sluggish while participating in exercise and sports. Water also helps you flush out toxins. So for example, if you eat or drink something that is not very healthy, water can help you flush it out of your system. Since it flushes toxins out of your system, it helps to improve your skin. If you do not drink a lot of water, the toxins in your body may try to come through your skin which can make your skin feel rough. However, drinking water is the healthiest way to excrete the toxins in your body. Water helps you feel more alert and prevents you from feeling sick or bloated if you have a big meal.

How many meals should you eat a day?
(around 4-5 small meals) It is common for people to people to think that you should have three big meals a day but it is actually better to have 4 or 5 smaller meals a day. The reason for this is that small meals are constantly supplying your body with important nutrients. As well, if you don’t eat for a while and then you have a big meal, your body is going to hold onto the food more and delay the digestion of it. This could leads to problems such as obesity and heart disease.

What kind of food should you eat during the day?
An easy tip we can give you guys is to colour your plate when you are eating! This means choose foods that are colours like red, blue, green etc.

Red foods such as tomatoes and watermelon are a good source of a nutrient called lycopene. Lycopene is a nutrient that can reduce the risk of developing cancer. As well it helps your bones grow strong.

Orange foods such as sweet potatoes, pumpkin, cantaloupe orange peppers and carrots contain vitamin A. This vitamin can help the overall texture of your skin, they help your eyes and they improve lung health.

Green foods such as broccoli, kale, and cabbage are cancer fighting foods. They contain a lot of fibre which helps your digestion system flush out toxins. Green vegetables also support bone health and eyesight.

Purple and blue foods such as blueberries, plums and eggplants have a lot of antioxidants which helps the body fight against things such as aging, heart disease and cancer.

Other than fruits and vegetables, it is important to include the other food groups such as dairy, grains and meat and alternatives.

Who knows what foods contain dairy and are part of a healthy lifestyle?

  • Dairy, cheese, yogurt etc. (contain calcium which is important for bone health) Who knows what foods are grains and are part of a healthy lifestyle?
  • Bread (whole wheat bread is the best option), oatmeal, brown rice and corn meal. Who knows what foods are meat and alternatives are a part of a healthy lifestyle?
  • Chicken, fish, pork, bacon, sausage, nuts, eggs, etc (important because it gives your body protein that helps your muscles grow strong)

It is important to have around 7-8 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, 6 servings of grains a day, 3-4 servings of dairy and 2 servings of meat and alternatives a day.

We have not discussed some food that would be considered a part of “other” on the food guide. This food would be deserts, and treats and some food that is not too healthy such as chips, cake and ice cream. We are not telling you guys to cut these foods out of your diet because that would be going to extreme lengths! However, it is important to consider how much of this “other category you are having” and to only eat treats in moderation. For example, if you have a bowl of ice cream for lunch, you should not have a big piece of pie a couple hours later.

Now we want to do an activity with you guys, we want you to design a healthy meal plan for one day of what you would eat. So use the information we have given you guys and write out what foods you would eat in one day that would represent a balanced diet. We are happy to help you guys and give you ideas. So here is some paper and pens and we’d like to hear some of your ideas when you’re done.