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Canada Continues Unhealthy Eating Habits

With all of the talk about the state of the economy throughout this year, it appears as if less focus has been placed on other topics that should be equally important in the lives of all Canadians. One's health should undoubtedly be regarded with high importance. And while eating right can often equate to spending more money, it is imperative to maintain a healthy balance between expenditures and well…your health.

However, CBC News reports today that “almost a quarter of Canadians don't eat any fruits or vegetables on a daily basis, an indication that eating habits have not changed markedly in five years”. Based on a survey conducted on behalf of Dietitians of Canada, it appears as if many Canadians are not taking their health seriously.

CBC News provided some startling statistics on their website. Of the 2,292 adults who took the survey, 23 per cent revealed that they did not eat any fruits or vegetables during their previous day's meals and snacks. 38 per cent said they consumed no milk or milk products either.

Of the four good groups included in Canada's Food Guide – fruits and veggies, grains, milk and milk products and meat and protein alternatives for those who don't remember – the survey found that, for the most part, Canadians rarely consumed enough of each.

Evidently, Canada's food eating habits have not changed much this decade. In 2004, Statistics Canada discovered that a quarter of the calories consumed by Canadians came from unhealthy snacking with chips, pop and chocolate bars topping the charts as the most popular snacks.

Not surprisingly, The Dietitians of Canada survey showed that the majority of respondents blamed time constraints and the inconvenience of preparing food as the reason for missing out on all of the food groups on a daily basis.

Of course, packaged snacks and fast food are often seen as quick fixes for the hunger pangs of Canadians all over the country. Toronto-area dietitian Kathy Furgala suggests some strategies on how begin weaning yourself off of this pattern.

“It doesn't take much more time if you can just do some meal planning,” she said, “You can throw together a really healthy hearty soup in 20 minutes. I just did that. It was a recipe I found in a back-to-school flyer, a soup that had sweet potato, grated Gouda, and the kids loved it.”

“Eliminate the competition,” she continued, “Stock the fridge with food-group food. Find some recipes that you can make in one pot.”

Canadians everywhere should take heed. After all, you'll want to be here when the economy recovers, don't you?

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