Nutrition Tips

Top 10 Nutrition Tips


Making healthy food choices doesn’t have to be overwhelming. These tips will get you on your way.

  1. Cook at home more often. Cooking at home makes it easier to avoid processed foods. It can be as simple as scrambled eggs, whole grain toast, tomato, and cucumber slices.
  2. How you eat is as important as what you eat. Enjoy mealtimes and the food you eat! Don’t multitask. Avoid distractions like your computer or TV while you eat. Sit down and enjoy a meal at the table. If you live with others, make family dinner a priority.
  3. Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you feel satisfied.
  4. Eat at regular times. Eat breakfast within 1 to 2 hours after waking up. Don’t wait too long between your meals. It’s harder to make healthy choices when you’re hungry.
  5. Plan healthy snacks. Try whole grain crackers and peanut butter or hummus, a piece of fruit and a few unsalted nuts, or frozen berries and plain yogurt.
  6. Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit at every meal. Enjoy brightly coloured whole vegetables and fruit. Fresh or frozen, try them in different ways—raw, roasted, or sautéed.
  7. Eat whole grains more often. Switch to brown rice, whole wheat pasta, dark rye bread or oatmeal. Try something new in your soup, salad or casserole like quinoa, bulgur or barley.
  8. Eat fish at least twice a week. Trout, salmon, tuna, and sardines are some tasty options. Try fresh, frozen or canned.
  9. Include legumes like beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts, and seeds more often. Add them to salads, soups and grain dishes such as rice, quinoa or couscous. Legumes can replace meat in your meals. Try a vegetarian chili.
  10. Don’t be afraid of fat. You need fat for good health and it adds flavour to your cooking. Use plant-based fats such as olive or canola oil.


Sometimes, sometimes after surgery, your appetite can decrease. You may lose weight without trying.

Here are some tips to help:

  • Eat smaller amounts of foods more often. Try eating every 2-3 hours.
  • Eat more food when your appetite is best.
  • Make every bite count. Eating half of a meal is still better than having nothing.
  • Ideas for nutritious snacks include whole grain crackers and peanut butter or hummus, a piece of fruit and some cheese, frozen berries with granola and plain Greek yogurt or an egg, chicken salad or tuna sandwich.
  • Opt for milk, milkshakes, yogurt beverages or oral nutritional supplements such as Ensure (trademark symbol) instead of low energy fluids such as water, broth, tea or coffee.
  • Have easy to prepare meals and snacks readily on hand for when you don’t feel like cooking. Suggestions are granola bars, nuts, Greek yogurt, pudding or cheese, and crackers.
  • Add fats and oils at each meal. Top your salads, vegetables, pasta or rice with a few teaspoons of liquid oil such as olive or canola. Spread margarine or butter on your bread, vegetables, and potatoes. This will increase the energy content of your food.
  • Avoid reduced-fat foods such as foods labelled “light”, “low fat” or “fat-free”.
  • Try adding powdered milk or protein powder to your soups, breakfast cereal, puddings or scrambled eggs for extra protein.


  • Fish, poultry, and meats
  • Dried beans, peas, lentils or other legumes
  • Soy products—tofu, tofu puddings, and soy milk
  • Nuts, seeds and nut butters including peanut butter
  • Dairy products—milk, yogurt, cheese, and puddings
  • Eggs
  • Skim milk powder added to foods or whey-based protein powder
  • You may benefit from an oral nutrition supplement like Ensure® or Boost®


  • Have family or friends help prepare meals for you. You can even store meals in the freezer for later dates. Keep your freezer, refrigerator and cupboards stocked with foods that are ready to eat or that can be easily prepared.
  • Use meal delivery services like Meals on Wheels until your strength returns.


  • Nausea can be caused by an empty stomach so make sure to eat regularly, every 2-3 hours.
  • Try snacking on plain crackers as soon as you start to feel nauseated. Other helpful foods are toast, an English muffin, a bagel, graham wafers, rice cakes, white rice, plain noodles, mashed potatoes, Social Teas® or ginger cookies
  • If possible, stay away from the kitchen while foods are cooking.
  • You may find cold foods easier to manage.
  • Mixing solids and liquids, for example, cereal with milk, stews or soup with crackers can increase nausea


If your appetite does not improve, be sure to speak with your doctor. Some changes to your medications may be needed to help reduce your symptoms.

Once your appetite returns, follow the top 10 tips to healthy eating.


  • Make sure to eat regularly as constipation can be due to not eating enough.
  • Choose foods high in fibre such as:
  • Whole grain, whole wheat, multigrain and flax seed bread
  • High fibre cereals such as All BranTM, All Bran Buds™, and oatmeal
  • Whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and barley
  • Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit at every meal.
    • 1 serving
      • = 125 ml (½ cup) vegetables or fruit
      • = 250 ml (1 cup) salad
      • = 1 medium-size fruit or vegetable
  • Drink at least six to eight cups (1.5 to 2 litres) of fluid per day. (If you are on a fluid restriction,
  • follow your guidelines.)For more information see Canada’s Food Guide which can be obtained by calling 613-957-8329 or visiting the Health Canada website
  • In addition, you can gain more information by visiting


If you have kidney disease, you might need a special diet. If you have not already met with a registered dietitian, ask to see one so that you can get help to build a healthy eating plan.


If you have diabetes, managing your blood sugars helps healing and recovery. Follow a Heart Healthy Nutrition Plan and refer to the additional diabetes information on pages 17 and 28 of the Heart Healthy Living Guide.

Heart Healthy Eating Resources


The dietitian at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute offers a series of interactive workshop series

  • The workshops can be attended by patients, families, and members of the public who are interested in learning about heart-healthy eating.
  • Workshops are 60 minutes in length and daytime and evening options are available.
  • The workshops are free of charge.

Pick up your Workshops Schedule at the Heart Institute or check our Calendar for dates and times.


  • Hold the Salt. Tilley, Maureen (2009)
  • Hold the Hidden Salt. Tilley, Maureen (2011)
  • Nourish: Whole food recipes featuring seeds, nuts, and beans. Nettie Cronish, Cara Rosenbloom, (2016)
  • Dietitians of Canada! 275 Recipes. Weisman, Mary Sue (2012)
  • 15 Minute Meals. Oliver, Jamie (2016)