Set SMART Goals For a Nutritious Lifestyle

Easy Ways to Eat and Live Healthier

nutritious eating

If fast food is a mainstay and vegetables are missing from your dinner table, it might be time to rethink your family’s eating habits. All too often, we vow to make healthy choices but get side-tracked when busy work days, late meetings and picky eaters derail our plans.

But sometimes it’s the actual goal that gets in our way. Maybe it’s not specific enough, or maybe it’s too difficult to achieve, so you give up. If you want your family to eat well and live a healthier lifestyle, you need to set SMART goals that you can all reach. Here’s how.


What improvements can be made to your family’s eating habits? Compare your current intake with the recommendations in Canada’s Food Guide, or enlist the help of a registered dietitian to determine what you may want to work on. Then, whether you need to increase everyone’s intake of vegetables or get more omega-3 fat, you need to set goals that are SMART:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-framed

Since two-thirds of Canadians under-consume milk products, let use that as our goal. Using the SMART technique, the goal would look like this:

Starting tomorrow, each family member will enjoy one serving of milk, yogurt or low-fat cheese at breakfast at least five days a week.

This goal is SMART! It leaves some wiggle room for mornings when you may have breakfast on the go. You can still aim to achieve your goal seven days a week, but you won’t feel like the goal has failed if you miss a day or two.

  Or try this...

Another shortcoming I see in many families is a lack of DHA, which is a type of omega-3 fat that’s important for the development of the brain, eyes and nerves in children under age two. DHA is also important for heart health and cognitive functioning in all age groups. Set a goal to get enough DHA:

Starting tomorrow, our family will include DHA-rich foods in our diet at least five days a week.

DHA is found in fish such as salmon, trout, mackerel and herring. You say your daughter doesn’t like herring? Don’t worry—while fish contains the most DHA per bite, there are other sources, too. Buy omega-3 enriched eggs and look for milk products that contain DHA, such as Dairy Oh! milk and Li’L Ones yogurt. These foods have less DHA than fish, but because they are staples that you eat often, the DHA adds up. If your kids don’t like fish, try some new recipes! Children may not like a fillet, but may enjoy salmon cakes, fish tacos, chowder, sushi, or bagels and lox.

  Other goals to consider

I work with many families who want tips for pleasing picky eaters, making quick meals and solving food-related dilemmas. Read through this list and see what may work for your family, and then set your SMART goals to inspire change:

  • Dine together as a family
  • Try a new healthy recipe
  • Eat more vegetables and fruit
  • Go meatless a few times a week and choose beans, tofu or lentils instead
  • Cook from scratch instead of ordering take-out
  • Cut back on processed foods with high sodium levels
  • Drink more water instead of pop or juice

Studies show that it’s easier to reach goals when the whole family works together. So, pick something that fits and set a SMART goal that will enrich the health of your entire family.


Registered dietitian Cara Rosenbloom works with clients of all ages to educate and inspire them about healthy eating. Cara holds a BaSc in Food & Nutrition from Ryerson
University. She completed a dietetic internship at North York General Hospital to become a registered dietitian, and is a member of Dietitians of Canada and the College of
Dietitians of Ontario.
Cara is currently the president of Words to Eat By, a nutrition communications company based in Toronto. She is recognized by the media as an authority on nutrition and often appears on TV, radio or in print to spread her nutrition messages to the public. Cara is also a contributing writer at Canadian Living magazine, and is a volunteer member of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Health Check program.
For three years, Cara worked as a dietitian at The Hospital for Sick Children, and has a passion for ensuring that children are well nourished. She’s proud that her own toddler can name every vegetable in the grocery store!