Healthy Eating for Your Active Lifestyle

Nourish Move Thrive

The grocery store can be a tricky place to navigate for the health-conscious person. Between nutrition buzzwords on food packages and 100-calorie snack packs, deciding which foods to buy can be confusing. If you want to eat healthier, going back to the basics is a good place to start. That’s where whole and minimally-processed foods come in. They boast great flavour and nutrients with fewer added ingredients, and they are easier to identify than you may realize.

Eat More Whole Foods


Whole foods

Whole foods are those in their natural form. Apples and whole grain rice are examples of whole foods, whereas apple juice and white rice are their more processed counterparts. There are three great advantages to purchasing more whole foods at the grocery store:

  1. Whole foods are nutrient rich
and retain the vitamins, minerals, fibre and phytochemicals that are often removed or reduced in processed foods.
  1. Whole foods do not contain added ingredients such as fat, salt or sugar.
  2. Whole foods can help you manage calorie intake and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The spectrum of processed foods

Today, most of us include a mix of whole and processed foods throughout the day. Processed food falls on a spectrum, from minimally processed, such as dried fruit and whole grain flour, to heavily processed, such as chips and candy. Not all food processing is bad. “One of the questions I am often asked is whether canned and frozen vegetables and fruit are actually healthy foods,” says registered dietitian Jaclyn Chute. “My answer is a resounding yes! Canned and frozen vegetables and fruit are often picked in season when nutrients are at their peak and then immediately preserved to lock in the nutrients. You just need to look for versions without added fat, salt or sugar.”

Some of the positive attributes of minimally-processed foods are that they

  • make healthy food available year round. For example, canned or frozen vegetables are great options during the winter months in Canada.
  • increase variety in your diet. For example, nut butters can be a delicious change from whole nuts.
  • make your food safer. For example, processing techniques such as pasteurizing milk protect you from harmful bacteria that could make you sick.

If you are trying to eat more healthfully, stick to whole and minimally-processed foods. Look for versions that are low in added fat, salt or sugar by reading the food label. You can also minimize the extras that you add to foods you prepare. For example, leave the salt shaker off the table or sweeten your oatmeal with dried fruit instead of sugar.

Vegetables and fruit

  • fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and fruit
  • 100% fruit or vegetable juice
  • dried fruit (e.g. figs, raisins)

Grain products

  • whole grains in their natural form (e.g. oats, barley, rice, quinoa and couscous)
  • products made from 100% whole grain flour (e.g. bread, pasta)

Milk and alternatives

  • milk
  • yogurt
  • cheese

Meat and alternatives

  • fresh, frozen and canned meat, poultry, fish and seafood
  • dried or canned beans, peas and lentils
  • eggs
  • tofu
  • nuts and their butters (e.g. almonds; almond butter)

Article posted on July 1, 2013



Active Tip

Vigorous activity can rev up your metabolic rate for up to 7 hours after your workout. That means you continue to burn calories long after you towel off.

The Expert Says

Registered dietitian Jaclyn Chute says “Canned and frozen vegetables and fruit are often picked in season when nutrients are at their peak and then immediately preserved to lock in the nutrients. You just need to look for versions without added fat, salt or sugar.”