Category: Healthy Eating

Say no to food fads this #NutritionMonth *

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Did you know that one in two Canadians get their food and nutrition information from the internet, social media and blogs?  Let’s face it. Not everything we read online is true. And while many of us know that, it’s still easy to be taken in by popular ideas we see online or hear from friends. How can we really separate food fact from fiction?

Misinformation affects many of Canadians, but there is a way to spot your problem and seek reliable facts to solve it. So if you’re wondering how to make sense of the nutrition advice you read online and want nutrition facts you can trust,  I’m going to walk you through an example of a three-step problem-solving approach that was developed for Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month 2017 campaign Take the Fight out of Food, which works quite well for nutritional concerns.

#1 Spot the problem: There is so much nutrition information online and you are not sure how to tell if something is a fad!

#2 Get the facts: You know that some websites are more reliable than others.  For example, a resource on the Dietitians of Canada website that can help you determine if facts you read online are accurate. You may read websites and absorb information, but not all of it may be true.  Be more critical and ask yourself these questions when reading a website:

  • Is the website promising a quick fix or a miracle cure?
  • Do I have reasons to mistrust the person, organization or company that runs the website?
  • Are they trying to sell me something instead of educating me?
  • Are the website writers unqualified to be giving me nutrition information?
  • Do they have facts that sound too good to be true?
  • Does the information come from personal opinions rather than scientific evidence?
  • Is the content missing reviews or verification by medical experts?
  • Are the website claims based on a single study that may draw the wrong conclusion?

Now if you know that if you answers “yes” to even some of these questions, the website may not be reliable.

#3 Seek support: You should not trust everyone who has an opinion about food and nutrition. Instead,  look for sites that aren’t trying to sell you something and that rely on science rather than opinions. Check the credentials of the writers, and look for sites written by regulated health professionals whose work is reviewed by other experts.

Don’t get knocked out by information overload! Find a dietitian at www.dietitians.ca/find for advice. You can also browse this website and here is a list of other sites which are filled with reliable information: 

www.dietitians.ca
www.eatrightontario.ca
www.healthlinkbc.ca
www.healthycanadians.gc.ca
www.dietitians.ca/Media/Member-Blogs.aspx

Do you have a food fight that you struggle with? Try the three-step approach to Take the Fight out of Food and make your commitment official at www.nutritionmonth2017.ca.

*Blog based on Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month 2017 resource. #NutritionMonth

Is Your Workplace a 4STAR Eating Environment?

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According to a poll by Ipsos Reid, 45% of Canadians say that eating healthy meals and snacks while at work is challenging. A new healthy eating program called 4STAR offers a free tool kit to help improve food and nutrition choices in the workplace.

The 4STAR program aims to improve employee health and productivity, reduce costs and absenteeism associated with diet-related illness, and improve overall organizational performance. The concept and resources of the 4STAR program were led by Dr. Norm Campbell, who is Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control Initiative, funded by the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada in partnership with the CIHR Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health.

4STAR is built on the S-T-A-R principles which stand for:
– Staff-led policies – staff engagement and leadership is critical for the success of any workplace program
– Targeted, realistic improvements over time – with the aim to ensure that healthier food is available at the workplace for the long term
– Accessibility of healthy foods and beverages options – improved access to fresh fruits and veggies and reduced reliance on processed foods
– Reinforcement through promotional activities, communications and training – to help employees support and embrace the changes in the food environment

A workplace healthy eating program is a process, not an occurrence. Some of the known challenges of implementing such a program include inconsistent definitions of “healthy food”, large portions sizes and the fact that a positive food environment must be supported with employee education for successful behaviour change.

Not only does a healthy eating program improve employee health and productivity, but it also makes dollars and sense. As part of a workplace wellness program, a healthy eating program can save businesses up to four dollars for every one dollar invested.

Here’s what you can do to create a healthy food environment in your workplace:
– Start by taking the 4STAR quiz about healthy eating in your workplace
– Check out the resources from the 4STAR tool kit
Contact us! Dietitian-led workplace wellness initiatives have been shown to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 60%, lower heart disease risk by lowering blood pressure, and improve healthy eating behaviours like increasing vegetable, fruit and fibre intake. With our experience in workplace wellness programs and healthy eating campaigns, we can help you at all stages from program planning to implementation and evaluation. Our team building workshops and seminars will complement your workplace policies to improve the health and well-being of your employees.

 

TOP 3 Heart Healthy Foods to include in your meals

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February is Heart Month and a terrific time to celebrate foods that are good for your heart health.  Check out the dietitian’s TOP 3 tips for heart healthy foods to include in your meals on a regular basis.

  • Fatty fish

Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, Atlantic herring and trout. Aim for two servings per week. Fatty fish are good sources of omega-3 fats.

  • Fibre

Eat at least half of your grain products as whole grains. Examples include rolled oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa and whole grain breads, breakfast cereals and pasta.

  • Vegetables

At meals, make at least half your plate vegetables. Choose veggies or fruit for snacks and dessert each meal

To discover more about Heart Health and nutrition trends join me for NutritionTraining  www.NutritionForNONNutritionists.com

 

Source: Dietitians of Canada, Healthy Eating Guidelines to Prevent Heart Disease

Savory granola bars with ancient herbs

Be adventurous with food! These savory granola bars are super trendy with ancient herbs such as rosemary and thyme, and are tailored for gut-health.  Created with Chef Eric Deletroz  this health-booster recipe is high in fibre, easy to make and tastes GREAT! Presented at the 2016 Digestive Health Summit in Toronto to healthcare professionals and consumers these unique on the go bars were a hit and are ready to fill your hunger gap too. Enjoy!

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Try one today:www.CDHF.ca/GutBoosterRecipes
http://ow.ly/d/5BpO

Prebiotics – Feed your fibre famished gut

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Canadians are fibre famished! On average we get only HALF of the recommended 25 to 38 grams of fibre per day. Most people could benefit from increasing their fiber intake, and to help maintain gut health focus on including foods that contain fibres that are also prebiotics.

What is a prebiotic? 

Prebiotics are a type of food, mostly fibre that is beneficial for our good gut bacteria. Prebiotics provide fuel for good bacteria which live in our gut to support health.

NOT ALL fibres are pre-biotic!  Probiotics are ingredients that naturally contain food for healthy gut bacteria.  To be classified as a prebiotic, the fibre must[1]:

  1. ESCAPE digestion (pass through the stomach undigested) and
  2. Be able to be FERMENTED by the bacteria in the gut
  3. Stimulate the growth and/or activity of certain ‘good’ bacteria in the large intestine.

Which foods are naturally high in prebiotics?

Dietary fibre classified as having high prebiotic effects includes inulin, fructo-oligosaccharides (fructans , FOS) and galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS).  See below for examples of foods that are naturally high in prebiotics.

 

Examples of foods that are naturally high in prebiotics[2]
Vegetables: Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, garlic, onion, leek, shallots, spring onion, asparagus, beetroot, fennel bulb, green peas, snow peas, sweetcorn, savoy cabbage
Legumes: Chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, baked beans, soybeans
Fruit: Custard apples, nectarines, white peaches, persimmon, tamarillo, watermelon, rambutan, grapefruit, pomegranate.  Dried fruit (eg. dates, figs)
Bread/cereals/snacks: Barley, rye bread, rye crackers, pasta, gnocchi, couscous, wheat bran, wheat bread, oats
Nuts and seeds: Cashews, pistachio nuts

 

[1] Krause 2017 & MedMonash.Edu

[2] MedMonash.Edu

How to Cook Perfect Green Veggies – make ahead 2 step blanching method

green-veg-cook-recipeHere is my secret tip for tasty make ahead vibrant green veggies. It’s called blanching – where the veggies are placed briefly into boiling water then removed and plunged into an ice bath that stops the cooking. Blanching is a terrific preparation method to partially cook veggies making them a bit softer and removing any strong taste without compromising nutrition. You can serve blanched veggies directly or keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days. Use blanched veggies as salad boosters or reheat for a quick dinner side dish. It’s also a terrific pot luck dinner contribution where you prep ahead at home, store in fridge and upon arrival at the host’s home you only need to reheat briefly for a healthy and tasty side dish.

  1. Boil a large pot of water (you can add 2 Tbsp lemon juice to the water for flavour boost). Prepare your ice water bath and a dish with a tea towel to dry the veggies. (see pictures top row)
  2. Wash and clean you green veggies.
  3. Drop a small batch of veggies into boiling water for 2 min (3 min max. if you must). Repeat steps below until all your veggies are blanched.
  4. Take out veggies from boiling water using long handle tongs or slotted spoon & toss them into ice water bath for a few minutes to stop the cooking.
  5. Remove cooled veggies from ice bath, shake out water and place them on clean tea towel to dry.
  6. Place all your blanched veggies in a covered container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  7. Enjoy cold in salads or reheat on stove top in a pan with 1 Tbsp vegetable oil. Top with toasted almonds for a tasty and nutritious side dish.

Bon appétit

New Canadian Nutrition Labels Announced!

Are you ready for clearer nutrition labelling on packaged foods? Health Canada announced the new formats which may help you make the healthy choice the easy choice. New labels will be implemented over the next 5 years for all packed foods. What’s changed? Here are my top 5 observations with Dietitian’s Tips:

  1. Calories in the spotlight with bolder, bigger numbers and Serving size stands out more and it will be easier to compare  similar foods
  2. daily-value-meter-eng% Daily Value (% DV) explained as a simple ‘rule of thumb: 5% DV is a little, 15% is a lot of any nutrient. [Dietitian’s Tip look for foods with: INCREASED Fibre and  LESS Saturated fat, Sodium, Sugars ]
  3. Sugars focus with a new 100% Daily Value as 100 g/d.  Ingredient list will still show different types of sugars, but they will be grouped together. [Dietitian’s Tip – regardless of the source, all sugars are similar nutritionally, for more information on sugars click here]
  4. Food colours identified individually on Ingredient list.
  5. There is more to come so let your voice be heard! Share your opinions about nutrition labelling with Health Canada. Complete this brief consumer questionnaire and / or complete the technical questionnaire both by January 13th, 2017. This is YOUR chance to help shape the future of nutrition labelling in Canada.

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Sugar by any other name is nutritionally the same

cfia-many-names-of-sugars-picMany Canadians are surprised to hear that sugar by any other name is nutritionally the same. The different names for sugars do not affect what they really are, which is simple carbohydrates that taste sweet and provide quickly absorbed energy at 4 calories per gram. For example on an ingredient label, sugar, honey, maple syrup and evaporated cane juice could all be listed separately, but the human body treats them all the same – as sugar.

FOOD LABEL TRANSLATION:

It’s important to look at the Nutrition Facts table to check how much sugar is in a serving of a food.  On food labels, sugar is shown in grams, but most people think of sugar in teaspoons. The conversion is easy: 4 grams of sugar = 1 teaspoon. Health Canada plans to set 100g of sugar/day as the recommended Daily Value (100% DV). When you do the math, 100 g of sugar is equivalent to 25 teaspoons of sugar per day from all sources. You’ll be able to use the % Daily Value to estimate if there is a little (5% DV) or a lot (15% DV) of sugar in a serving of food.

NATURALLY OCCURRING AND ADDED SUGARS

Did you know that both added and naturally occurring sugars are broken down in a similar way? Once sugar is digested, the body really can’t tell the difference! But there is a difference between where sugar is found in the foods we eat and what other nutrients come along with the sugar.  For example, sugars are found naturally in all fruit, dairy, and wholegrain breads and cereals, which are all foods that are important for our health. Sugars that come from these foods provide many other nutrients too and are healthier choices than foods that only contribute sugar calories. Sugars that are added to foods during preparation contribute only calories and sweet taste.

DIETITIAN’S TIP:

It’s a good start to cut down on sugary foods but it’s still okay to leave some sweet foods in to keep it real. Make your sugar calories count by choosing foods that give you a chock full of other nutrients not just sugar.

CALL TO ACTION:

Help shape the future of nutrition labelling. Before January 13, 2017, let your voice be heard by participating in an important Health Canada consultation on front of package labelling, which includes sugars.  There are 2 ways to participate online at http://bit.ly/2f1Weow

  1. Complete the consumer questionnaire, which has background information and 8 questions.
  2. Review the consultation document and complete the technical questionnaire, which has 15 questions.

Have questions? We can help. Let’s chat about how Health Canada’s proposed front of package labelling may affect your business. Contact us at: Lucia@WeilerNutrition.com

 

Our Food Guide consultation is now open!

food-guide-consultationYou may have heard the big announcement that Health Canada is revising the Food Guide (CFG) and consultations are open for only 45 days until December 8th.  CFG was last changed over 10 years ago so don’t miss this chance to let your voice be heard!

Why is CFG important?

CFG was, and will remain a key document that shapes the approach to healthy eating recommendations and policies in Canada, including nutrition education and menu planning. You know that nutrition science has evolved in the last 20 years.  We moved from ‘no fat’ or ‘low fat’ to good fat, from ‘low carb’ to high quality carbs, and at the end of the day more and more scientists agree that the overall dietary pattern is more important than any one food or nutrient. Of course, it’s a real challenge to translate complex science about nutrition into specific recommendations that meets the diverse needs of the Canadian population, but the new Food Guide revision set out to do just that. Let your voice be heard on how CFG can help you benefit from nutrition.

How to let your voice be heard!

We completed Canada’s Food Guide Workbook on line, which did not take very long, and we have a few tips for your consideration so you know what to expect when you participate.

The first question separates members of the general public from professionals who work in health, teaching or are representing an organization.  After a few more qualifying questions about who you are, the survey asks you to select 3 types of activities where you use healthy eating recommendations most often. The next set of questions are based on the 3 activities you just identified. They explore the type of guidance you find most valuable and the ways you would like recommendations presented. The final questions request you to rate the importance of a variety of topics related to healthy eating, including food enjoyment, eating patterns, security, environment, level of processing and sugars.

We encourage you to take the time and complete Canada’s Food Guide Workbook by December 8th. It’s your chance to influence the way Canadians will eat well for many years to come.

If you have any questions or comments on completing Canada’s Food Guide Workbook we’d be happy to hear from you!

Hardy Pulse & Tomato Soup

I love making this hardy soup on a weekend afternoon when it can simmer for over an hour. It makes a terrific meal and is great for lunches or a 2nd meal during the week. The health boost comes from pulses (split peas), whole grains such as barley and the veggies of course. Enjoy!

Ingredients

1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onions diced
1/2 cup of split peas (mix up green, red and yellow)
¼ cup rice
¼ cup pearl barley
28 oz (796) ml can diced tomatoes
6 cups low sodium broth
Cilantro or parsley for garnish

Preparation

Chop onion and saute in 1 tbsp vegetable oil
Add split peas, rice and pearl barley, saute for 2 minutes
Add tomatoes and broth, stir well
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 70 minutes. (Stir occasionally, add a cup of water if you prefer more broth in your soup.)
Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve.

10 servings.