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Five simple healthy eating goals for January and beyond – The Globe and Mail

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Research suggests that making gradual changes, and letting your brain adapt to one of them at a time, is the best way to change your eating habits over the long term.

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For many people, the new year signifies a fresh slate to eat better, lose excess weight and get healthier. Commendable goals, yes, but ones that could set you up for disappointment by February.

Instead of setting lofty goals to transform your diet and your body – or committing to do too many things at once – start small. Research suggests that making gradual changes, and letting your brain adapt to one of them at a time, is the best way to change your eating habits over the long term.

The following goals can help improve your diet in 2020. Instead of resolving to accomplish all of them in January, work on these goals throughout the year.

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Eat plant-based meals four times a week. A plant-based diet has been linked to a lower risk of obesity, Type 2 diabetes, inflammation and heart disease. It also has a smaller environmental impact than a diet based on animal foods.

Adopting a plant-based diet doesn’t require you to become a vegan. It means eating proportionately more plant foods, such as vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, beans, lentils, peas and soy, than animal foods, including meat, dairy and eggs.

Incorporate four (or more) plant-based meals in your weekly menu to increase your intake of fibre, healthy fats, antioxidants and protective phytochemicals.

Batch cook a vegetarian chili or hearty bean soup for quick lunches or dinners. Make tacos and burritos with black beans or pinto beans instead of ground meat.

Add soy ground round to marinara sauces. Try firm tofu or tempeh in stir-fries.

Toss chickpeas with a cooked whole grain (e.g., quinoa, farro, freekeh) and sautéed vegetables for a plant-based meal. Snack on nuts or edamame instead of crackers and cheese.

Add prebiotics to your daily menu. To promote digestive health this year, include prebiotic foods in your daily diet. These non-digestible fibrous carbohydrates fuel the growth of beneficial bacteria that reside in your colon.

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That’s important since these microbes, known collectively as your microbiota, synthesize certain vitamins, activate disease-fighting phytochemicals, regulate immune function and protect the lining of the gut. Your gut microbiota is also thought to play a role in inflammatory bowel disease, mental health, weight control and even food cravings.

Prebiotic foods include asparagus, dandelion greens, Jerusalem artichokes (stir-fry or roast), jicama (toss into salads), oats, whole-grain rye, barley, kefir, leeks, onions and garlic.

Use the plate model. To help reduce portion size at meals, and to fill your plate with more plants, visualize your dinner plate in quarters.

Fill half of your plate with vegetables, one-quarter with protein (e.g., fish, chicken, chickpeas, tofu) and one-quarter with healthy starchy foods (e.g., brown rice, quinoa, whole-wheat pasta, sweet potato).

Instead of using a large dinner plate, consider serving your meal on a luncheon-sized plate (7 to 9 inches in diameter).

Cook more meals at home. People who cook most of their meals at home eat a wider variety of nutrient-dense foods, including more fruits and vegetables, and consume fewer highly processed foods than people who eat home-cooked meals less often. They’re also less likely to be overweight.

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If you relied on restaurant and take-out meals last year, set a goal to cook two or three times a week and slowly increase the number of days a week you are cooking.

To save time in the kitchen, cook meals that provide leftovers such as bean soup, lentil salad, roast chicken, chili, curry and oatmeal. Look for recipes that don’t involve multiple steps such as sheet-pan and one-pot meal recipes.

Drink 16 ounces of water before meals. Mild dehydration, caused by drinking too little water during the day, can trigger headaches, cause fatigue, worsen mood and impair concentration.

Healthy adults are advised to drink 12 cups (men) and 9 cups (women) of water each day, and more if exercising. While all beverages (except alcoholic beverages) count toward your water requirements, choose plain water over sugary drinks, fruit juice and diet soft drinks.

To put a dent in your daily water requirement, make a habit of drinking 16 ounces (two cups) of water before each meal. Doing so can also help you feel full and may prevent you from overeating.

Leslie Beck, a Toronto-based private practice dietitian, is Director of Food and Nutrition at Medcan.

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COVID-19 Update: 898 new cases, four deaths over weekend | Elementary school closes temporarily after outbreak confirmed | Active cases hit new high – Calgary Herald

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Elementary school closes temporarily after outbreak confirmed on weekend; sixth Calgary school added to watch list

Coventry Hills School in northeast Calgary switched to online learning Monday because of staffing issues caused by new COVID-19 infections on Monday, October 19, 2020. Photo by Darren Makowichuk/Postmedia

A northeast Calgary elementary school temporarily closed its doors and switched to online learning today after a COVID-19 outbreak was confirmed on the weekend.

In a statement Sunday to parents, Calgary Board of Education superintendent Christopher Usih said Coventry Hills School (K-3) would close on Monday “following the direction of AHS in identifying close contacts related to a positive case.”

While CBE didn’t specify whether the positive case was a student or teacher, Usih said the closure “is solely due to staffing capacity issues.”

The temporary closure would ensure that substitute teachers can be arranged and “all health measures maintained.”

CBE said it would confirm with families by later today on a return to in-person classes on Tuesday.

John G. Diefenbaker became the sixth Calgary school on Alberta Health Services’ watch list on Monday. There are seven cases at the northwest high school, according to advocacy group Support Our Students’ COVID-19 tracker.

At least 98 schools in Calgary have reported a single case since the start of the school year, according to SOS, including 40 schools that have not reported a case in over two weeks.

In communities around Calgary, cases have been reported at four schools in Airdrie, two schools in Chestermere, one school in Langdon and three schools in Okotoks. Cooper’s Crossing School in Airdrie is on watch status, with five or more cases.

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Flu shot appointment line opens this evening – Sault Star

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A flu shot needle is being prepared.

The Algoma Ontario Health Team phone lines open this evening to start booking appointments for this weekend’s flu shots.

The phones will be staffed today from 5 pm – 8 pm.

Appointments will be booked for flu shot clinics this Friday and Saturday.

Individuals who would like to book a flu clinic appointment may call the AlgomaOHT Flu Clinic at 705-759-7486 between 5 pm – 8 pm, the Tuesday or Wednesday before each clinic.

The clinics will operate on Friday’s and Saturday’s, from October 23, 2020 – November 14, 2020. Clinics will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information go to https://youtu.be/026aixf3VL8 .

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Flu shot roll out begins in November – Prince George Citizen

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With COVID-19 still on the loose, Northern Health says it’s now important than ever to get a shot to protect against the spread of the common flu.

And the chance to get one will come as soon as the first week of November when they will be available at most Northern Health flu clinics, pharmacies and doctors offices throughout the region.

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Not only will it keep you from contracting the bug but ease the load on the medical system.

“Influenza is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization and death,” Northern Health said in a statement issued Tuesday.

“If influenza spreads rapidly in communities at the same time as COVID-19 – it can overwhelm the healthcare system and put our loved ones at risk. The best protection is to get the flu shot this fall…and stay home if you are sick.”

To find a flu clinic or provider nearest you, visit ImmunizeBC’s website, or call 811.

You’re also urged to make an appointment to reduce line-ups and maintain safe physical distancing as the COVID-19 pandemic maintains its grip.

Downloading the NH Check In app is also helpful. Found at https://www.northernhealth.ca/services/digital-health/nhcheckin, it lets you wait and check in online from your car, home , or office, lets you notify staff once you’ve arrived, without having to come inside the building and reduces the amount of time you spend in waiting rooms.

The shots are free for children, seniors, pregnant people, Indigenous people, those with underlying medical or chronic health conditions and those who work with or come in close contact with higher-risk groups.

For more information about the flu visit northernhealth.ca.

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