Extend your healthy habits into October and beyond

By Elizabeth Holmes on

For Sugar-Free September, you accepted the challenge to cut out added sugars for one whole month. Now that it’s almost the end of the month – what next? We hope this experience has opened your eyes to the amount of sugar that is added to your food and beverages and that you’ll take some of the tips and recipes you’ve learned with you for the rest of the year.

Cutting out all added sugar is not something the Canadian Cancer Society promotes outside of this challenge, but we do recommend limiting sugar as part of a healthy diet. The good news is that healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or time-consuming. It’s a habit you get used to, and every day it gets easier. The important thing is to get started now.

  • Follow Canada's Food Guide on healthy eating.
  • Eat regular meals. Skipping a meal – especially breakfast – can lead to overeating throughout the day. And when you’re very hungry, it’s hard to make healthy choices.
  • Re-think your plate. Fill half your plate with vegetables, more than a quarter with grain products and less than a quarter with meat or alternatives.
  • Cut back on portion size. (Portions in North America have grown steadily bigger over the last few decades.) If your portions are a reasonable size, it will be easier for you to eat what you want but still stay healthy.
  • Use smaller dishes. Believe it or not, using a smaller plate gives your brain the impression that you’re eating your “normal” amount of food.
  • Serve everything you eat in a dish – especially snacks. You’ll be much less likely to overeat if you’re not eating out of the box or bag.
  • Make changes gradually.
  • Try to plan your meals for the whole week. Last-minute choices are often unhealthy ones.
  • Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. You’ll make better choices if you’re not hungry.
  • Read nutrition labels, both the ingredient list and Nutrition Facts table.
  • Don’t eat while watching TV.
  • Choose wisely when you eat in restaurants – skip the fries and sugary drinks, and ask for dressings on the side.
  • Slow down and enjoy every bite. It actually takes 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full.

Interested in learning more about diet and cancer prevention? Check out www.cancer.ca/prevention.