Friday, February 25, 2011

An Environment to Support Healthy Eating

I recently listened to a podcast from the 2010 Dietitians of Canada Conference. The presentation was called "Changing Food Landscapes" and a Quebec RD, Martine Pageau, was the presenter. Listening to her made me feel that I am becoming more aware of how our environment is working against us. It is no excuse, but how often do people try hard to eat healthy, yet the only option at the rink, at the workplace cafeteria, at the convenience store, etc. is something processed, high in fat, high in salt, high in sugar, or all of the above?!

If the environment doesn't support the changes that people are trying to make, then the people are more likely to give up and/or give in. We seem to feel that our lives are too busy these days, which leaves little time to think about what to eat. If it is difficult to find healthy choices, or if healthy choices are far more expensive, then most people will not choose them.

I remember that having pop or chips was a treat as a child, yet now we see them as regular items in people's meals/snacks. They seem to be available everywhere! People don't have to eat "perfectly" healthy, but the proportion of healthy food should far outweigh the proportion of so called "junk" food (foods of little or no nutritional value).

As a dietitian I work to help people make healthier choices in their lives, but we need to speak up as a society in order for those healthy choices to be the simple, easily accessible choices.

Steph Wheler