Just read a good article on the CNN website about boosting your immune system with food. A good point made: while we can’t eliminate colds/flu viruses with food alone, we can certainly try to improve our defense systems (a.k.a. our immune system) through eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. What, exactly, does a “balanced” diet look like?

This article very concisely summarizes the food groups that we all should include in our diet, and even cites the following visual:

“Cover two-thirds of your plate with vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and beans, and one-third with lean protein.”

An alternative “plate visualization” I’ve used in the past as a Dietetic intern is: fill half of your plate with vegetables, 1/4 with starch (e.g. rice, potato, grains), and 1/4 with meat/protein…like so:

Plate Method

…Here are a few other tips and tidbits I’d like to add:

Fruits and Vegetables

If anything, I would emphasize the need to eat more fruits and veggies! Most people today just don’t get enough (I, myself, am guilty….) 😦 How much is “enough”? Check Canada’s Food Guide (or in the U.S., the MyPyramid guide). These 2 are excellent resources – print one out and stick it on your fridge as a good reminder!

Colorful Vegetables Remember…the more colourful, the better!

Protein (Meats and Legumes)

Being a foodie (and meat-eater…sorry vegetarians!), I can certainly appreciate a good piece of marbled steak, or deep-fried-anything! However, it’s a good idea to incorporate some lean meats at least 2-3 times a week (that’s not asking too much, is it?). For example, try a chicken stir-fry…you obviously wouldn’t stir fry chicken with its skin on. Pork is nice and lean as well! Fish is my favourite, and doesn’t always have to be boring (I like to steam mine like they do in Chinese restaurants, or in most other cases, I get my fish fix when I go out for sushi!).

Tofu, beans, and lentils are excellent sources of non-animal protein! (would love to hear about any good vegetarian recipes you have!)


Isn’t it confusing enough with all the terminology out there? What are trans fats? Saturated fats? If you’d like to know more, check out Dial-A-Dietitian’s handout on Dietary Fat. All I need to remind myself is:

Animal fat: BAD….Plant fat: GOOD!

So anything like butter, fatty meats, etc…try to consume these less often. “Plant” fat such as margarine, vegetable oil, the oil from nuts and seeds…try to consume these more often!


No further comments on the rest of the article…it really is a good summary! Read it for yourself! If you’re looking for more handouts on healthy eating, check out Dial-A-Dietitian’s website. If you live in B.C., you can even call them up and speak with a Registered Dietitian for sound nutrition advice (find their phone number on their website).

Well, munch on, exercise on, and stay healthy! It’ll otherwise be a loooong winter (especially here in Vancouver!)


* pictures from: http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/diabetes2/subsection.cfm?SubSectionID=14 and http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/ftjul06.shtml