During the holidays, with all of the hustle and bustle it’s hard to just find time to spend with friends and loved ones… but it’s even harder to find time to eat well! It’s no secret that I love to mow down on popcorn, but I’ve found myself eating SECOND-DAY popcorn for dinner more than once over the past couple of weeks and the holidays haven’t even hit yet. YIKES.
I was thrilled to partner with the #FocusOnTheFacts campaign this year because I know I need to focus on my nutritional needs more, especially as I’m facing some health issues and trying to stay strong and well to beat them! As we all know, the holidays are prime eating ALL THE FOODS time, which means important things like serving sizes and nutritional guidelines for daily values can go out the window pretty fast.
If you’re not familiar, the Nutrition Facts Education Campaign was designed to help Canadians understand and use the Nutrition Facts table to make more informed food choices by starting with the Serving Size and then looking at the Percent Daily Value on food labels. The campaign encourages people to look more critically at the foods they consume to better understand how much of each nutrient they’re getting each day.
The campaign is a collaborative effort between the Food and Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), Health Canada, Retail Council of Canada and the Canadian Federation of Grocers (CFIG).
It’s really never too early (or late!) to learn about appropriate serving sizes and to read the labels on grocery items you’re picking up now or any time of year. But it’s also important to read them correctly. I had no idea until I met with the #FocusOnTheFacts team at the Halifax Tree Lighting that the “serving size” written on grocery items isn’t necessarily the actual suggested serving size! (Which makes sense, since we all have different nutritional values but I’ll still own up to my ignorance on this.) If you’re not sure how many calories you need every day, you should meet with a nutrition specialist to learn what dietary requirements you need to be aware of.
I also learned that 5% daily value is considered “a little” – which makes sense – but I was really surprised to discover that 15% is considered “a lot”! I’ve always thought 15% was a low amount but upon serious consideration, it makes sense considering it’s only one serving out of an entire day. It’s no surprise you should look for foods that have a little sodium and trans-fats, and I try to look for foods that have lots of vitamin C, calcium, fibre, and iron.
After scoring an impressive 9/10 (damn, those serving sizes fooling me!) on the nutrition fact quiz, and doing some math, F and I were both excited to head over to the Fact-O board to use up the chips we had earned together. I left the booth feeling much more knowledgeable about the nutritional facts than I had upon arrival and I really do urge you to check out the website and learn more about how this guide can help you eat better this season (and always!).
If you’re worried about staying on the straight and narrow with the temptation of decadent snacks (like these cookies RomCom and I couldn’t stop eating last night), I’ve got five simple tips to help you avoid overeating and keep your calories in check without depriving yourself this Christmas.
Look at the label.
It’s really that easy! Check out the Nutrition Facts label on all of your grocery items and make informed decisions about the foods you put in your body. Not sure how? Learn how!
If you’re looking to reduce your fats, try to choose foods with under 5% fat per serving. Make sure you don’t forget to adjust the daily value based on the number of servings you eat. For example, if the label’s serving size is 1/2 c. and it contains 4% of your daily fats, know that 1 cup of this food will equal 8% of your daily fat.
Keep a food journal.
I know, I know… it’s hard to keep track of everything you eat… but there are loads of fantastic, free apps to help you keep track. MyFitnessPal is my favourite, and it syncs with my Fitbit to help me manage my caloric intake vs. output.
Don’t drink your calories.
I know – I love me a glass of wine or some rum and eggnog as much as the next gal, but empty calories won’t fill you up… they just fill you out! Boo, I know.
Avoid sugar-y, high-calorie drinks like eggnog and alcohol, but be sure to stay well-hydrated by drinking lots of water… it’ll help keep your digestive system in check while you’re in a turkey coma!
Eating a high-protein, high-fibre breakfast is a great way to fill yourself up. Eggs with whole grain toast, steel-cut oats with fruit, a great smoothie with greek yogurt and chia seeds… whatever your preference, make sure you start your day right.
Remember… one meal or snack doesn’t make your whole day.
As the saying goes, “It’s not what you eat between Christmas and New Years but what you eat between New Years and Christmas that counts”. If you overdo it here or there, don’t fret: you can always hit the reset button at any time and start over by making the best nutritional choices for you and your family.
Food and Consumer Products Canada and the #FocusOnTheFacts team want to give you the gift of great food this season! Be sure to enter my giveaway below for your chance to win a $100 Grocery Gift Card, and then zip over to the Focus On The Facts page and take the quiz for your chance to win a $300 gift card! You could win up to $400 in free groceries!
You could win up to $400 in free groceries! (That’s a lot of Nutrition Fact Tables to read!)