Food facts: How much do you really know?

Take this quiz to discover your food IQ. Then get great tips on how to improve your eating habits.

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To look and feel your best, you have to fuel you body with healthy foods. Think you know your nutrition? Take our quiz and find out how healthy your eating habits really are. Then, get great tips on how to eat for optimal health. function checkRadios(f) { var el = f.elements; for(var i = 0 ; i < el.length ; ++i) { if(el[i].type == "radio") { var radiogroup = el[el[i].name]; // get the whole set of radio buttons. var itemchecked = false; for(var j = 0 ; j < radiogroup.length ; ++j) { if(radiogroup[j].checked) { itemchecked = true; break; } } if(!itemchecked) { alert("Please choose your answer for question #."); if(el[i].focus) el[i].focus(); return false; } } } return true; }

You may feel that you can’t maintain an ‘8-glasses-a-day’ goal. But panelists at Health Canada and the Institute of Medicine in Washington have recently concluded that the average North American woman requires more than 10 cups of fluid per day while the average man requires more than 14 cups. Fortunately, the study also shows that juice, milk, and vegetables all count as good sources of fluid.

The body needs two to three portions of protein throughout the day. Beans and legumes are not only a great source of protein, but also of complex carbohydrates, fibre, and B vitamins. Best of all, they are low in saturated fats. “Beans have been called the best human plant food—they are linked to the treatment and prevention of chronic disease,” says Liz Pearson, a Toronto-based registered dietitian, Chatelaine’s nutrition columnist and co-author of The Ultimate Healthy Eating Plan (That Still Leaves Room for Chocolate) (Whitecap).

To add beans to your diet, try making our 8-vegetable bean ragout or spice things up with Black-bean quesadillas.

Eating larger-than-average portions or treats every once in a while isn’t the end of the world. But a healthy attitude towards food will help you examine your motives for wanting that food: “Am I really this hungry? Is there a healthy alternative that would also satisfy me? Will I treat myself this time, or should I stick to my healthy plan?”

If you’re a mealtime skipper, try keeping healthy snacks on-hand.

When you grab an order of fries instead of an apple, you probably know you are sacrificing potassium and vitamin C, and dietary fibre for saturated fats. Sometimes your cravings just trump all nutritional considerations, however, keeping healthy snacks on hand—in your purse, desk, or cupboards, or on the menus of chosen restaurants—will increase your chances of making good choices.

Chatelaine’s nutrition panelists encourage you to eat at least eight servings of fruit and vegetables—rich in vitamins and minerals—every day. Why? Because they are your best sources of vitamins A, C and folate. Keep in mind that a medium-size apple, or a half cup (125 mL) of cauliflower, equals one serving and that most vegetables and fruit are low in calories. When you’re hungry, try munching on raw veggies—a smart and tasty snack.

Not only are non-farmed salmon and sardines rich in omega-3s, they are also the best fish choices for those concerned about PCB levels. Of course, for those who can not get enough fish into their diet, fish oil capsules are the next best thing.

Recent studies suggest that isoflavones—natural substances found in soybeans—may decrease symptoms associated with menopause, such as hot flashes and night sweats. While research has yet to conclude whether or not the weak estrogen-like activity of soy isoflavones reduces these symptoms, there is no doubt that soybeans are high in protein and low in fat.

If you aren’t approaching menopause, you can still find joy in soy with our Breakfast-on-the-go shake or Hot-and-sour soup.

It’s “a virtual magic bullet of antioxidant and other anti-aging agents,” writes Dr. Miriam Stoppard, author of Defying Age: How to think, act and stay young (DK Press).

Vitamin A—found in liver, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, fish, sweet potatoes and carrots—is essential for healthy eyes and skin.