1. Which most resembles your breakfast
on most days?
Here’s a wake-up call: studies show
breakfast eaters maintain healthier
weights and perform better on tests. A
protein- and fibre-filled breakfast with at
least three of the four food groups from
Canada’s Food Guide, such as “c,” is your
best bet. As for “a,” flavoured oats are
typically full of sugar, so prepare plain
oats and stir in your own add-ins, such as
cinnamon, sunflower seeds and berries.
An egg-and-sausage sandwich is okay on
occasion, but sausage and other processed
meats are higher in fat and sodium.
2. Which most closely resembles your
Eating a small snack between meals can
help to balance blood sugar and prevent
overeating at meals. If you circled “c,”
you’re snacking smartly: vegetables, fruit
and whole grains provide energy and
filling fibre, and the protein in hummus
will help to hold you over until your next
meal. As for “d,” pretzels provide little
staying power on their own. Satisfy your
hunger by pairing lower-sodium pretzels
with a spoonful of protein-packed peanut
3. Where do you eat dinner most nights of
The all-star answer is “c”: dining at
a table with family or friends, with
few distractions other than good
conversation, is ideal. Eating with others
helps strengthen relationships. It’s easy
to overeat when you’re not focusing
on eating, so wait until dinner is done
to watch TV, read or surf the Internet.
Otherwise, “a” is acceptable if you order
wisely. Opt for smaller portions, grilled
For helpful nutrition information, visit:
items and salads (dressing on the side)
and skip battered and fried foods. An
occasional fast food meal won’t derail
your health, as long as it’s not a habit.
4. Do you read nutrition labels on foods
Give yourself a gold star if you circled
“c.” Scoping the Nutrition Facts table
and the ingredient list on packaged
foods and drinks are the keys to tracking
your nutrient intake and to comparing
products. Even seemingly nutritious
foods require a once-over. For example,
some yogurts and juices are high in
natural or added sugars, and soup,
cottage cheese and salsa are often loaded
with sodium. For a tutorial on label
reading, visit Health Canada’s website:
5. How much fibre do you think you
consume each day?
If you answered anything but “c,” bulk
up! Fibre promotes regularity and may
lower cholesterol. It also steadies blood
sugar levels, helping to manage cravings
and weight. In fact, research finds that
people who eat more fibre are less likely
to develop obesity and diabetes. To boost
your fibre quota, include vegetables and
fruit at meals and snacks, swap white
flour and bread for whole grain varieties,
and eat more beans and lentils. To prevent
intestinal discomfort, increase your fibre
intake gradually and drink plenty of
6. What’s your eating philosophy when it
comes to holidays and celebrations?
Birthdays, weddings, vacations, sporting
events . . . celebrations and food often go
hand in hand! However, the “b” and “d”
mindset can cause weight gain. Answers
"a" and "c" are the healthiest approaches.
Small portions, buffered with a bit of
extra activity, are the secret to partaking
in special occasions while sticking to
healthy eating habits. At parties, survey
the buffet table before choosing the items
you want most. Fill a smaller plate just
once (load half with vegetables and fruit).
Enjoy a small slice of cake or dessert. Aim
to make healthier food choices even when
food is part of the celebration.
7. When do you grocery shop?
If you chose “d,” you’re likely to make
less healthful choices and spend more
money. After all, you’re hungry and in
a hurry, and supermarkets are set up to
encourage impulse buying. Once again,
the top answer is “c.” Additional tips on
shopping include: block off time each
week to grocery shop—and stick to a
list. Also, avoid shopping when you’re
8. How large is your usual portion of
meat (after cooking)?
If you picked any answer but "c," it's time
to downsize! A serving of meat, according
to Canada’s Food Guide, is 2½ ounces or
½ cup (75 g and 125 ml) of cooked meat.
Men need three servings of meat and
alternatives daily and women need two
servings. Opt for poultry or fish (with
little added fat) and meat alternatives
such as beans, lentils and tofu.
9. How many servings of vegetables do
you eat on most days?
If you picked “c,” kudos! You’re meeting
Canada’s Food Guide recommendations,
which advise that adults eat seven
to 10 servings of vegetables and fruit
daily, including at least one dark green
vegetable (e.g., broccoli, spinach) and one
orange vegetable (e.g., carrots, squash).
Aim to eat a variety of vegetables (not
fried) with all your meals and snacks.
10. What do you most often drink with
lunch and dinner?
The healthiest answer is “c.” Drink water
throughout the day and skim, 1% or 2%
milk at meals; for children under age two,
serve whole-fat ( 3.5%) milk. Adults need 2
cups (500 ml) of milk a day and children
need 2 to 3 cups (500 to 750 ml) a day.
Soft drinks not only have lots of sugar
( 10 tsp., 50 ml or 10 packets of sugar in a
regular can of cola) and sugar-sweetened
beverages are linked to higher weights.
And while wine contains heart-healthy
compounds, alcohol may raise the
risk of some cancers. The maximum
recommended intake is one to two
alcoholic drinks per day.
The results are in . . .
If you answered mostly “c,” you’re an
A+ nutrition student!
If you checked mostly “a,” you’re on the
right track, but you could score even
If you circled mostly “b” or “d,” a little
studying is needed. Incorporate these
suggestions to fast-track to the healthy
eating honour roll!