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Diabetes Education Program

March is Nutrition Month:

Take a 100 Meal Journey

Make Small Changes, One Meal at a Time

March is Nutrition month. Every year nutrition month brings specific campaign which motivated us to make some changes for improved health, especially healthy eating. This year the public campaign from the Dietitians of Canada for Nutrition month is dedicated to making a small change and making it stick! The slogan for the campaign is Take a 100 meal journey. Make small changes one meal at a time. The goal is to provide information and guidance to make it a little easier for Canadians to improve diet quality and decrease quantity. Think about it: Canadians eat about 100 meals each month. To inspire and guide you, here I am presenting few ideas to make small changes, supported by doable strategies to help make those changes last.

For increased chances of success and a great way to help you feel and look good is by setting SMART goals. It stands for goals that are: specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-framed. Setting “SMART” goals can also help you achieve bigger goals you may want to set for yourself over time.

I added few examples of SMART goals below to get your inspired. You can always create your own goals:

If problem eating breakfast, then try goal;

Every day this week, I will eat breakfast that has all 4 food groups (e.g. a whole grain bagel, peanut butter and banana slices with a glass of milk).

Aiming to eat more fiber… let’s try this goal;

Eat brown rice or whole wheat pasta instead of white rice or white pasta at least once this week.

Wanted to eat more vegetables… may be this goal help;

Eat a dark green vegetable every day this week (e.g. spinach, broccoli, Romaine lettuce, bok choy, swiss chard, peas).

Are you trying to cook and eat at home more? Try this goal;

Make one new healthy recipe for dinner this week.

Always wanted to cook a meal without meat and with beans more often? This goal can be helpful;

This weekend I will find and try a new recipe using beans (e.g. kidney beans, navy beans, soy beans, black beans, lentils).

Trying to eat out less often? Try this goal;

I will pack my lunch from home 3 days this week rather than eating out.

Aiming to be more active, this goals can be the start;

Go for a walk with a friend for 15 minutes 2 times this week.

Weight is an issue, wanted to maintain/loose. Try this goal;

Avoid second helpings during meals and snacks every day this week.

Wanted to make heart healthier meals, try this goal;

Use less fat/oil when cooking (e.g. bake, broil, steam and stir-fry) for a week.


Food that is in sight is in mind e.g. the “see”-food trap. To help you get ready for your new goal and be successful in accomplishing your goals, perform a pantry makeover! Take stock of your cupboards, fridge and freezer. Add foods that will make it easier to achieve your SMART goal during your 100 Meal Journey.

Most of us do not over eat because we are hungry – we are influenced by our eating environment. Look around your house, workplace, car or anywhere you might be eating. Are there cues, like candy bowls and cookie jars, that hinder healthy habits?

Redesign your environment with healthy cues to prompt better choices. Try these ideas:

  • Put a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter. Keep all other food in the fridge or cupboards.
  • Keep a reusable water bottle on your desk so it’s ready for sipping instead of sugary drinks.
  • Store nourishing snacks, like cut up veggies, handy at eye level in your fridge. Put tempting treats at the back of the cupboard.

We all aware of snacking but few of us clearly understand a healthy snack. If you get hungry too soon after a snack you need to make few changes like, adding more fibre and protein rich foods. Fibre helps fill you up and protein helps your energy last longer. Together, they become a healthy snack and also deliver snack satisfaction.

To stay energized and satisfied, snack smart with small, portions of nutrient-rich foods. Treat your taste buds with these good-for-you snacks:

  • Fresh veggies + garlicky black bean dip
  • A crisp apple + a couple pieces of tangy old cheddar cheese
  • Crunchy roasted chickpeas + a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips
  • A couple of naturally sweet dates filled with nut butter
  • A piece of fruit, handful of nuts, or veggies with dip

These snacks are definitely in the good-for-you category. But if you’re seeking new ideas, reach for one of these yummy snacks that are anything but basic:

  • ½ whole grain bagel with cheese slice, sliced strawberries (fresh or defrosted frozen).
  • Spicy lentil hummus on celery sticks
  • A small sliced apple topped with peanut butter.

Lack of time, eating out, special celebrations or stress? We all have challenges that can sidetrack our healthy eating plans. The key to success is planning how you’ll manage healthy-eating roadblocks before they happen. Knowing what some of your personal challenges are can help you be ready to deal with them. Other strategies to manage detours include:

  • Think about what might get in your way of healthy eating.
  • Brainstorm solutions to get around roadblocks.
  • Put supportive strategies in place. Recruit family and friends to help on your path to a healthy you.

Compiled by,

Amber Khalid RD CDE
Diabetes Education Program
Four Corners Health Centre