Eating right doesn’t need to be about obtaining the perfect body. It’s all about having energy, feeling good and living a long, healthy life! We want your brain to be happy when you go in for that job interview and your heart to be happy when you wake up in the morning and fall asleep at night. We talked to dietician Christine Shaddick to get the low down on the best foods to put in your body to get all that and more!

Include starch at every meal. If you normally forgo starch in favour of just veggies and protein at lunch or dinner, you could really set yourself up for cravings after the meal. This is because starch is essential to feeling satisfied immediately after eating. They key is to choose starches with adequate fibre for more lasting energy. Keep servings of starch to ¼ of your plate (or the size of your fist). Excellent choices include barley, quinoa, potato/sweet potato with the skin, and whole grain bread & pasta.

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Eat a smart breakfast every day. Always include some high fibre starch with adequate protein to stay satisfied and energized until lunch. Try ¾ cup non fat greek yogurt with 1 cup fresh fruit and ¾ cup Kashi Go Lean Crunch Cereal. Drizzle with little honey and sprinkle with cinnamon!

Shop local! Did you know that nutrients in fresh fruits and vegetables deplete with time after harvesting…..So the closer to the source you buy your fresh produce, the more nutrient-dense it is likely to be. Local farmers markets are popping up everywhere in BC; to find the one nearest you go to http://met.bcfarmersmarket.org/market-search.

Skip juice and eat the fruit instead. Juice is sugar, in liquid form, and behaves very similarly to pop which causes your energy levels to spike and crash.  Instead, have the fruit, which contains fibre which will help you to feel satisfied and stick to water dressed up with a wedge of lemon or fresh mint! Watch out for other liquid sugars like specialty coffees, vitamin water, sports drinks and even coconut water.

Go meatless more often! Pick one night a week and plan to build your meal around healthy plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh, beans, lentils, and edamame. Eating less meat, particularly red meat, has been associated with a lower risk of many diseases, has less environmental impact, and is delicious. So next time you make a stir-fry for dinner, swap out the meat for edamame beans or tofu!

Eat more fatty fish—A minimum of two servings a week is what experts recommend. Oily fish contains omega 3 fats (EPA and DHA) which are linked to protection from heart disease, heart attack, coronary death and Alzheimers disease. For an alternative to salmon, try Arctic char or Sablefish which harbour about the same amount of omega-3 fatty acids as salmon and have a higher sustainability ranking.  Arctic char can be used in any recipe calling for salmon or trout.

Listen to your body. We are not all created equal when it comes to health and nutrition. Some people are sensitive to gluten, while others may react to dairy. At its core level, the food on your plate is meant to energize your body and make you look and feel your very best. If you feel tired, bloated or unwell after eating, pay attention to the food you’ve just consumed – and avoid it in the future. Stick to eating energizing foods that are good for your body, such as vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, essential fats and whole grains.

Written by Christine Shaddick, Registered Dietitian in Vancouver, BC.  You can connect with Christine on Elletourage.