1. Swap your sweetener
Simple sugar is great, but golden honey brings more to the table. Research now supports age-old wisdom that honey has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, which may help to keep the immune system strong, says Toronto registered dietitian Rosie Schwartz. “A little honey goes a lot further to enhance flavour – it’s delicious drizzled on plain yogourt or homemade oatmeal – and you may get some of those nutritional perks as well.”
2. Spice things up
A sprinkle of spices and herbs couldn’t be easier to add and they heighten flavour without salt, says Montreal registered dietitian Karine Levy. They boast some body benefits too. Common herbs and spices – including cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, oregano, parsley, thyme and rosemary – contain antioxidants that may help protect against inflammation and disease. Try easy matches like fish and chicken with paprika, parsley or thyme; beef with mustard, garlic or peppercorns; and pork with marjoram or sage.
3. Look on the bright side
Here’s a reason to keep a cheery, optimistic outlook. Feeling positive about life helps contribute to both longevity and better health, while depression and pessimism are linked to higher disease rates and a shorter lifespan, says a new study by the University of Illinois.
4. Get more veggies
Getting a day’s worth of vegetables – seven to eight servings for women, eight to 10 for men – is easier than you think. Try this trick: fill up half your plate with vegetables (bonus points for the brightly coloured ones – see True Colours ) at least once a day. “The goal is to do this two meals a day, but this is a good way to start slowly,” Levy says.
5. Eat together
Want to feel better about your family’s nutrition? Call them all to the table. It’s not just important for family bonding – gathering everyone for mealtime means children eat better nutritionally and consume more fruit and vegetables, say the Dietitians of Canada. “What’s more, when you sit down with your kids, you’re also modeling healthy habits,” says Levy, like the importance of eating well and eating together.