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Whether travelling or staying home this March Break, you’re invited on a ‘100 meal’ journey this month to make small steps that will lead to long-lasting changes in your eating habits.

The trip is slated to take place during Nutrition Month in March, and it’s one on which the Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge District Health Unit is encouraging area residents to book their ticket today. “By making smarter and better food choices at snack and meal times, people can boost their health so they feel better at home and work,” says Elsie Azevedo Perry, a Registered Dietitian with the HKPR District Health Unit.

According to Dietitians of Canada (, more than half of all Canadians (52 per cent) who are 20 years and older live with a chronic disease like diabetes or heart disease. Eating habits and lifestyle choices are very important to manage chronic diseases, and also to reduce the risk of developing problems later in life, Azevedo Perry adds. “People eat close to 100 meals every month, so we want to inspire individuals over the next few weeks to make small, lasting change and stick with it,” she notes. “It’s all about eating better… one meal at a time.”

The Health Unit recommends this step-by-step approach to developing healthier eating habits:

  • Get ready. Pledge to make a small healthy eating goal and stick with it. Start with a positive, easy change that can be carried out at each meal. For example, fill more of your plate with vegetables, or choose whole grain instead of white bread, and stock your pantry with healthy foods. For resources and downloadable apps to help on your 100 meal journey, visit
  • Quality counts. Healthy foods promote wellbeing and help you feel your best. Take small steps to bump up the quality of your meals and snacks. Get clever with cooking and add in more healthy options. For example, forgo high-sodium choices at fast food restaurants and pack a healthy lunch for work. Cook extra chicken for dinner, and then for lunch the next day, use the leftover meat in a chicken wrap with crunchy cabbage, shredded carrots and a sprinkle of feta.
  • Prioritize portion size. How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. Eating portions that are too big can lead to overeating and weight gain, so be wise to portion size. Manage your munchies by keeping treat-type snack foods out of sight. Buy in bulk without bulking up by using small reusable containers to repackage foods into right-sized portions.
  • Try something new. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland; it can taste great. Perk up your menu with tantalizing new recipes, try new flavour combinations to kick up the taste on your usual food, and get creative with cooking strategies. For new ideas, visit the Dietitians of Canada ( or Cookspiration ( websites.
  • Make it stick. Lack of time, eating out, stress and holidays can all sidetrack healthy eating habits. Good planning can help you stay on track. For example, have nourishing grab ‘n’ go foods like yogurts, nuts and fruit if short on time. Avoid mindless munching to beat stress and boredom. If eating out, check restaurant nutrition information online ahead of time to make better choices when you order a meal.

For media inquiries, contact:

Elsie Azevedo Perry, Registered Dietitian, HKPR District Health Unit, (905) 885-9100 or toll-free: 1-866-888-4577.

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«February 2019»