Small Steps to Big Change
Every little choice counts.
every little choice counts. From the time we crawl out of bed (and maybe
choose to grab breakfast) to when we fall into bed (and work up a sweat trying
to sleep), we’re confronted with choices. how will i get to work? Will that be
fries or salad for lunch? Do i have the energy for a walk before picking up the
kids? What’ll i throw together for supper?
Along the way, we all make questionable choices. Max out the credit card,
reach for the chips, watch too much TV, try to beat the traffic light or avoid
family and friends. We don’t often stop to consider how these small daily
choices add up, or their effect on our health and quality of life.
Fortunately, small positive changes also accumulate over time, pumping up
mental, physical, social, financial and social health. By choosing to make small
changes, you can make a big difference in your life – and outlook on life –
without necessarily committing to a complete personal overhaul.
The following 10 baby steps offer a fine place to start. Make even a few of
these changes and before long you’ll greet the world as a happier, healthier you.
Just remember to consult your doctor before making significant changes in diet
12Know your portions. larger plates, bowls and glasses can lead to bigger portions. To eat less, fill only the centre of your plate or downsize to a lunch plate. Use half your plate for vegetables (yes, half!), leaving one-quarter for
protein and one-quarter for grains like brown rice or whole wheat pasta. To top
off the meal, treat yourself to some fruit. it’s easy to check serving sizes without
sophisticated tools. A serving of meat is the size of a deck of cards; a serving of
cooked vegetables or a small potato is the size of a hockey puck. A teaspoon or
5 ml of fat (oil, margarine, or butter) equals the tip of your thumb, and a serving
of fruit is the size of a tennis ball.
To learn more, visit healthcanada.gc.ca/foodguide.
Learn to read nutrition labels. health Canada brought in mandatory nutrition
labelling on prepackaged foods more than eight years ago, making it easier to
choose healthy foods. Check the nutrition Facts table, which gives serving size,
number of calories per serving and the percentage daily value key nutrients in each
serving. You can use this percentage to help you understand if your foods contain
a lot or a little of certain nutrients. For vitamins and minerals you want to have
more of (like vitamins A and C) choose products containing 15 per cent or more.
For ingredients you want less of (like fat and sodium) choose products containing
five per cent or less. ingredients are also listed, from most to least, by weight.
like many other Canadian magazines and cookbooks, Apple includes nutrition
information with recipes to help you make informed decisions about the foods you
To learn more, visit healthcanada.gc.ca/dailyvalue.
You don’t need a complete personal overhaul to make a real difference to your health.
As freelance writers Jeanie Vanderwell and Cheryl Mahaffy report, small, positive changes can accumulate over time.