Total Therapy Blog

1 Simple Strategy to Eat Healthier At Every Meal

kirstie_hilverda_blogThis post was written by our Registered Dietitian, Kirstie Hilverda.

I have loved food and experimenting in the kitchen since I was a little girl, which lead me to pursuing a career as a dietitian. My goal is to help others embrace food as a way to nourish our bodies and our souls. When it comes to nutrition counselling, I emphasize personalized client-focused care because nutrition looks a little different for everyone! I also advocate for an evidence-based approach, so your treatment is based on science – not fad diets or the latest food trend.


Because I’m such a foodie, my free time is often spent experimenting in the kitchen, trying new restaurants, and perusing food blogs. I also love spending time hiking in the mountains, rock climbing, running, and cozying up with a good book.

Generally, Im not one to say that theres ever a one-size-fits-all strategy for meals and eating habitsthat is except for this one! This tip is easy to remember and fun to experiment with.

Ive said it in previous blog posts, and I will say it again: its always good goal to get more fruit and veg in your diet. You already know lots about the important benefits of a diet rich in fruits and vegetables – theyre a great source of fibre, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, flavour and colour, OH, and they lower your risk for several types of chronic disease. I think we can all agree with the what of this concept, but its the how that can be a bit tricky.

Half PlateSo, what’s my strategy? Its simple: aim for half your plate. To be fair, this concept is not new, and its not unique to me – its a message promoted by various national dietary guidelines across the world. That being said, Im not necessarily an advocate of this message because of its prevalence in public health messaging, but I do like it because its easy to understand, and it works! Choosing to fill half your plate with fruit and veg is a visual and tangible strategy that anyone can use. Lets talk ideas!

Boost your Breakfast

  • If you like oatmeal, try adding fresh or frozen berries, bananas, or stone fruits like peaches.
  • If you like eggs, try making a scramble with spinach and tomatoes, or enjoy an apple or an orange on the side.
  • If you like peanut butter and toast, try slicing banana on top. 

Level-up your Lunch:

  • If you like ham and cheese sandwiches or wraps, add sliced tomato, spinach or romaine, avocado, cucumber, shredded carrots, or sprouts. So many veggies are great additions here.
  • If you dont usually bring (m)any fruits and vegetables as part of your lunch, try it out. Many fruits are grab-and go, and chopped veggies like cucumbers, tomatoes, bell peppers, and carrots are always a solid go-to.


Smarten your Snacks:

  • If you like yogurt, try adding berries, bananas, or other fresh fruit.
  • If you like muffins, try recipes that have fruit or veggies as one of the main ingredients like carrots, zucchini, blueberries, or banana. Applesauce is also an excellent (and hardly noticeable!) swap for oil
  • If you like chips and dip, opt for salsa and enjoy those tomatoes! Better yet, try making your own pico de gallo – quick, easy, and full of flavour. All it takes is 5 minutes, two tomatoes, half an onion, a clove of garlic, some cilantro, a squish of lime, and if youre feeling spicy, fresh jalapeño.


Diversify your Dinner:

  • If you cant get excited about eating more salad, adding more veggie options to your evening meal might make it easier to reach your half-your-plate goals at dinner time. Filling up on salad doesnt seem like a very exciting idea to most people, including myself, but maximizing your options adds flavour and variety to your veggie routine! My favourites are roasted broccoli, cauliflower, and root veggies (beets, parsnips, carrots, squash, yams, rutabaga, turnip).
  • If you enjoy soup, try adding more veggies than the recipe calls for. Most soup recipes are fairly flexible, and extra colour from great soup veggies like carrots, peppers, sweet potato and kale make your soup that much more appetizing.

Stay tuned for my final post about nutrition-related new years resolutions next Friday!

Want more ideas for how to maximize your nutrition and work more fruit and veggies into your favourite meals? Call 604-620-9700 to book an appointment with me. :)


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