Healthy Eating

Food provides the body with the nutrition it needs so that it can grow and function well. In fact, a healthy diet can help to protect the body against many diseases, including heart disease and diabetes. The right habits in your daily life can help to maintain your blood pressure, cholesterol and can help you keep off excess weight. 

For example, eating breakfast or dinner outside the home can increase your risk of obesity. Even simply skipping breakfast has been associated with a 450% increased risk of obesity, which is a major risk factor for diabetes and heart disease.

Basic Nutritional Tips

Try to limit your salt intake

When your food contains too much salt (salt is also known as sodium chloride, or simply sodium), your body responds by retaining more water than usual. This can lead to high blood pressure (also known as hypertension). This puts more pressure on the heart, which over time can be harmful.


Everyday Tips

Try to use less salt (or no salt at all) when cooking and preparing food. Everyone can add their own salt before they eat.

You can also try using more seasonings, herbs, and spices to give the food more flavor instead of using salt.

Rather than using a saltshaker directly on your food, try putting some salt into your palm, and then sprinkling it on using your fingers. You're less likely to put too much salt on your food this way.

You can also try using olive oil, lemon and a little bit of salt and pepper as your dressing on salads, instead of the traditional dressings sold in the stores. Those dressings tend to have a lot of sodium and fat in them.

Avoid snacky foods, such as salted nuts, microwavable popcorn, chips, fried snack mixes, etc.


Try to add more complex carbohydrates to your meals

Carbohydrates (or carbs, for short) are a type of nutrient you get from food. There are two types of carbs we can get from our food – simple carbs and complex carbs. Try to include more complex carbs in your food, so that you can better control your blood sugar levels.

Consume less:Donuts, pastries, white rice, white bread, candy, sweetened juices and pop, mithaai and other sweets, etc.

Consume more:Brown rice, multigrain or whole grain bread, quinoa, lentils, chickpeas, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, etc.

Everyday Tips

If you’re going to eat simple carbs, try to add in complex carbs, proteins or healthy fats to improve your meal. This will slow down the digestion of your food. It will slow down how fast your food gets broken down into sugar, and how quickly your sugar levels go up. For example, if you’re eating a slice of white bread, you can have a few almonds or a piece of avocado. This will add healthy proteins and fats to the mix. This will keep you fuller longer, and it will increase your sugar levels slowly. 

When you're shopping, look at the nutrition labels of the packaged foods you're purchasing. Look specifically at the "total carbohydrate" section. Try to buy products that have less sugar, and more dietary fibre.


Try to avoid unhealthy fats and include more healthy fats to your meals.

Fatty meats, whole fat dairy products, deep fried and snack foods, and processed foods tend to have a lot of unhealthy fats that can increase your LDL, or "bad cholesterol" levels.

Choose healthy fats instead, including low-fat dairy products, nuts, avocado and olive oil.



Everyday Tips

When you are grocery shopping, try to find foods that are low in saturated fat, or have none at all. Saturated fats raise the level of LDL (the bad cholesterol) in your blood. Most saturated fats come from animal sources, including meat and dairy products, including butter, cheese, pork, lamb, fatty beef, lard, cream, etc. Learn more about reading nutrition labels.

Also look for products that are low in trans fats or have none at all. Trans fats are usually created and aren’t naturally found in the food we eat. They’re used in a lot of processed foods and fast foods. Scientists believe that this is the worst type of fat you can eat. It increases the amount of bad cholesterol in your blood AND decreases the good cholesterol. Trans fats can be found in baked goods (like cakes, cookies, frosting, etc.), snacks (like chips, microwave popcorn, etc.), fried foods, some coffee creamers, margarines and refrigerated doughs (like cinnamon rolls or frozen pizzas).




Eat more fruits and vegetables


Research has shown that all fruits and vegetables have nutrients that can help reduce the risk of heart disease. They are a source of fibre, they’re low in calories, fat and sodium, they can take time and effort to eat (and can slow you down when you're eating your meal), and they can fill you up! The best way to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients is to try to eat fruits and vegetables or different colours.

Everyday Tips

Although fruit juices and smoothies can get you a large serving of fruits and vegetables at once, they can also contain a lot of sugar and calories. It is recommended that you eat the fruits and vegetables individually, so that you avoid over-consumption and also to make you feel fuller, and to make you chew and work on the food longer (compared to drinking one glass quickly).



Try to cut down on empty/false calories.

Calories” is a word used to describe how much energy your body gets from eating or drinking a certain food item. For example, the average samosa contains roughly 250 calories, whereas an apple contains around 80 calories. However, the samosa would be an example of a “false/empty calories food,” because although you get energy from it, it’s not very nutritious. The apple, on the other hand, is a "nutrient-dense food". 

Recommended Values:


Daily Calorie Recommendation (MEN)

Daily Calorie Recommendation (WOMEN)

19-30 yrs



31-50 yrs



51-70 yrs




For example, by eating 3 samosas at once, a woman in her 60s will have consumed 750 calories (plus more with ketchup or chutneys), which is almost half of her recommended calories (1850). Without realizing it, this woman could easily pass the total amount of calories she should be eating in one day. If these eating habits become consistent, they can lead to weight gain, which can eventually cause several health issues.




Try your best to eat nutrient-dense foods and limit the false/empty calories

that don't fill you up but are high in calories. Choose foods that give you energy but also a lot of nutrients. Remember to also eat a variety of foods, and to eat things in moderation. Try not to eat too much of one thing.

Below are some more examples of foods and roughly how many calories they contain:

South Asian Cultural Foods


Setting Your Plate


Western/North American Foods


Setting Your Plate

Try your best to set your plate with these portions:

1/4 plate: Vegetables

1/4 plate: Fruits

1/4 plate: Proteins

1/4 plate: Carbohydrates

1 dairy product

1 drink



Do your best to not deep fry or over-cook your vegetables in oil. Steaming, boiling, lightly stir-frying, or even eating them raw is the best. 

Try to eat a variety of fruits but avoid those that are high in sugar. Fruits that are canned in syrup or blended together in juices should be avoided. 

Ensure that you are eating healthy sources of protein with every meal. Proteins help to fill you up and keep you fuller for longer, and they also help to slow down how fast your food gets digested. This helps control your blood sugar levels, which is important in preventing the development of diabetes.

Try to reduce simple carbohydrates and increase complex carbohydrates. Like proteins, complex carbs also help to keep you full for longer, and slow down digestion. 

For your one serving of a dairy product, try to eat a low-fat food. Eating Greek yogurt, for example, is healthier than eating ice cream.

Try to choose water as the beverage with your meal. Juice and pop/soda can add extra calories to your meal, and often contain a lot of sugar.  


South Asian Meal



Western/North American Meals