Category: Innovation

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!

gut health digestive health recipe 2016

Try one

Prebiotics – Feed your fibre famished gut

gut health 2017

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

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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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

  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:


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!

Be Good to Your Gut

gut-health-n4nn-2016-jpgJoin us at the Microbiota Summit on Nov 7th!
RD Lucia Weiler teams up with Chef Eric Deletroz to dish out healthy advice, one bite at a time!

Two out of three Canadians experience digestive health problems every year.  For some people it’s just uncomfortable for a while, but for others it’s a chronic, painful or even life threatening condition. Researchers are looking at ways to keep your gut healthy and are discovering the significant impact of microorganisms that call your gut home.

Did know your body is home to trillions of microorganisms? The human gut in fact has its own microorganism colonies made up of mainly bacteria that are living and working in your body to help keep you healthy. Gut microorganisms are an exciting leading area of research and we are seeing the emergence of a movement on how gut microorganisms impact lifelong health.

On Monday Nov 7th, 2017, the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (CDHF) is hosting a special education summit on gut health in Toronto for professionals and consumers. Registered Dietitian Lucia Weiler will be teaming up with Chef Eric Deletroz at the event to showcase healthy eating and cooking tips to improve your gut health. Our session will help you discover what to eat for digestive health & how to feed the microorganism world within you. Join us to learn more!

To register for the Microbiota Summit:

  1. Health Care Professional Session: Discover the World Within – Understanding how the Human Microbiota Impacts lifelong health.12:30-5:30 pm in Toronto. Design Exchange, Toronto, Ontario.
  2.  Consumer directed education session “Healthy Gut Summit’ is also available to help Canadians attain – and maintain — a happy, healthy gut. The session is FREE, but registration is required.  Mon. Nov 7. 2016 | 7 – 9pm | Design Exchange Centre | Toronto, Ontario

Eating Out? Look for these healthy foodservice trends.

Adapted from L. Weiler RD Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice News March/April 2016

crfn march 2016If you are like most Canadians who love to eat out, you enjoy having menu choices, maybe some healthy options that taste great and are a good value for money.  The good news is that chefs and foodservice operators are looking for opportunities to freshen up their menus. Here are a Dietitian’s top 5 tips for healthy foodservice trends:

  1. Start the day with breakfast

We have all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and consumers are looking for ways to give their morning a healthy start.  In fact the older we get, the more likely we are to eat breakfast, while younger people between ages of 18-34 tend to skip breakfast more often.[1]  Dietitians recommend starting the day with a healthy breakfast that contains carbohydrates (such as whole-wheat bread or cereal) and a source of protein (such as eggs, yogurt or milk).  Canadians are increasingly relying on restaurants for breakfast and the morning meal is growing faster than any other segment of the day. We can commonly find Greek or regular yogurt parfaits on the breakfast menus.  Expect to see pumped porridge with a healthy twist using other grains such as rye, spelt, black rice and quinoa. Grow the breakfast sandwich trend with menu items such frittatas with fresh vegetables, smoked fish and artisan cheeses.  The influence of this Mediterranean-style eating pattern, in convenient single serve portions may be attractive to consumers who are seeking healthy, fresh, wholesome choices.

  1. Veggies rule

 Canadians are trying to eat more vegetables and fruit! In the latest Tracking Nutrition Trends report, 85% of Canadians said they made an effort to eat more vegetables and fruit in the past year.1 Vegetables are ready to take a starring role in the centre of the plate and foodservice operators can help consumers meet their goal for increased vegetable intake. One way is to increase the availability of vegetable choices on your menu.[2] Canadian Grocer’s 2016 food trends suggest more creative ways to prepare veggies from grilling and smoking to roasting and charring. Building on the well-established trend of fresh and local, innovative and creative foodservice operations can create veggie-centric meals that are healthful yet flavourful to delight consumers and help them enjoy a variety of plant-based menu choices.

  1. Protein is changing

Higher cost of meat and the desire to reduce waste by using use everything from nose to tail has raised interest in under-utilized stewing cuts and organ meats. Chef Leonhard Lechner of Humber College in Toronto, believes that “there will be a strong increase in the entire industry going from expensive protein to less expensive ones. We will see more stewing and braising meats as well as organ meats on the menu.” Health-conscious consumers will opt for less beef, bacon, and other processed and red meats, and instead look to seafood, nuts and seeds, eggs, poultry, and dairy to provide quality protein in their diets according to a diet and nutrition trends forecast from Today’s Dietitian.[3] Meatless proteins are also gaining ground and regular menu items such as braised tofu are popular at restaurants including Chipotle.  2016 has been declared the International Year of Pulses by the United Nations – celebrating the goodness of peas, beans, chick peas and lentils. Stay on trend by including these nutritious and versatile sources of protein into your menu.

  1. Sustainability

Environmental sustainability is important to Canadian restaurant leaders according to a recent survey.2 An example of sustainability in foodservice is through the use of packaging says Susan Joseph, Chef at Humber College in Toronto. The Foodservice Packaging Institute notes that sustainability is driving foodservice packaging with “compostable packaging’ as a key trend.  Registered Dietitian Sue Mah agrees, “I love seeing more plates and silverware at fast food eateries now instead of plastic plates and cutlery. Some foodservice establishments also encourage consumers to bring in their own containers for take-out food.”  Dietitians can help assess what a sustainable diet is and provide advice on how to eat in a dietary pattern that is more sustainable for the planet.

  1. In Season, Fresh, Local

“All of foodservice is getting fresher and local menus are still up there,” says Chef Michael Teune of Humber College.  Susan Joseph agrees that chefs continue to showcase the locality of ingredients used in their menus. Consumers crave to know more about their food, where it comes from, the farmer who grew / raised it and how it was prepared. Transparency in ingredient listing and menu planning is an opportunity to build an authentic story in foodservice. Using local ingredients also has an aspect of eating in season which means doing without /and or highlighting foods at during certain times of the year. Locavore consumers also note that eating local foods is better for the environment, since the food doesn’t have to travel very far, therefore less energy is used for transportation, producing a lower carbon footprint which reduces emissions that contribute to climate change.

Are you ready to embrace healthy eating while eating out?  Now is a great time to consider making small healthy changes one meal at a time. Dietitians are uniquely trained food and nutrition experts and are the most trusted source of food and nutrition information for Canadians[4] .  Dietitians can translate scientific and nutrition information and provide information and guidance to make it a little easier for Canadians to choose, eat and enjoy healthy food. Contact me for more information and resources or visit www.

Lucia Weiler BSc. RD is a registered dietitian – nutritionist who specializes in communication, marketing, education and regulatory affairs related to food and beverages. As Principal of Weiler Nutrition Communications Inc., Lucia provides expert services on nutrition trends, food science and labelling compliance. As the Co-Founder of Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists,TM and a Faculty member at Humber College School of Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism she teaches nutrition, food safety and professional development. Contact, twitter @LuciaWeilerRD


[1]  Eating Patterns in Canada – Part 1 (2010 & 2015) Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

[2] Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care (2008 & modified 2015) Initial Report on Public Health: Fruit and Vegetable Consumption.

[3] Today’s Dietitian (2015) Annual Survey of Nutrition Experts Predicts What’s In and Out for 2016

[4] Dietitians of Canada (2015) Nutrition Month 2016 Member Resources


7 tips for healthy eating – without counting calories!

harvard calories pic

I love the tips from Harvard Medical School on healthy eating without counting calories.  In this blog I provide you with a Harvard based Canadian update for making the healthy choice the easy choice – without having to count calories.

Counting calories is one of the most reliable ways to maintain or lose weight. But it’s not always easy to do when you’re out and about or pressed for time — and there are plenty of situations (such as a dinner party at a friend’s house) that just don’t lend themselves well to a “strictly numbers” approach.
Here are some guidelines to follow when straight calorie counting is impractical.

  1. Eat foods that are filling and low in calories. That means, as often as possible, your meals and snacks should include whole grains, such as brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and oatmeal, as well as legumes, such as lentils and other beans. Remember to fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruit.
  1. When you eat meat, cut out fat and cut down portion sizes. Choose lean cuts of meat and modest amounts — about 100 gram (3½ ounces) per serving (which is roughly the size of your palm).
  1. Avoid fried foods. Frying foods adds fat and calories. For stovetop cooking, it’s better either to stir-fry foods in a non-stick pan lightly coated with a cooking-oil spray or to braise them in broth or wine. Baking, broiling, and roasting are also great options — they add no extra fat to your meals.
  1. Choose low-fat or non-fat dairy foods. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are good sources of protein and calcium, but the whole-milk versions of these dairy products are very high in fat.
  1. Avoid fast foods. Hamburgers, chicken nuggets, French fries, and other fast-food staples tend to promote weight gain for two reasons. First, they are high in fat, calories, or both. Second, the “value meals” available at many fast-food chains are often excessively large and tempt you to overeat.
  1. Avoid high-calorie, low-nutrient snacks. Chips and other deep-fried snacks are high in fat and therefore calories. But even snacks labeled “low-fat” are often high in calories because they contain large amounts of added sugars and other carbohydrates. Choose healthy snacks: veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, egg, low fat dairy.
  1. Watch what you drink. Regular sodas, fruit juices, and, especially, alcoholic beverages are high in calories. Drink water, it’s a calorie free way to quench your thirst.

* Adapted for Canadians from: Healthy Solutions to Lose Weight and Keep it Off, Health Report Harvard Medical School 2016

Distributed by: Lucia Weiler Registered Dietitian Nutritionist,  President Weiler Nutrition Communications Inc.

Don’t miss the 3 top nutrition & wellness movements in 2016

plans for 2016 blog 2 2016-01-16_0-29-00Healthy eating is on top of mind for 2016! It’s not surprising since unhealthy diet is one of the primary risk factors for chronic disease. New study revealed that Canada has the second highest rate of diabetes among comparable countries and that 2/3 of health care costs can now be attributed to chronic diseases associated with unhealthy eating.  What’s the answer?  Healthy eating!  Study after study confirms that healthy eating is a great ways to lower risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure & diabetes.

In 2016, 3 key nutrition & wellness themes may influence day to day life and food business decisions:

1. Pulses
2. US Dietary guidelines
3. Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month

1. Pulses 

The World Health Organization declared 2016 International Year of Pulses (IYP). This is great news for Canada since we are the worlds’ largest producers of dry peas and lentils.  Pulses also include dry beans and chickpeas.  Nutrition professionals are delighted to promote pulses because they are an important part of a healthy diet. Pulses are a great source of plant-based proteins, high in fibre and nutrient dense.  As part of a healthy y diet pulses are known to help address obesity, as well as lower risks of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

You’ll be hearing lots more about pulses in 2016.  A global food movement is challenging people to take the ‘pulse pledge’, that is commit to eating pulses once a week for 10 weeks.   Canada’s pulse industry is planning over twenty events and activities across the country that will educate Canadians about the health, nutrition and environmental benefits of eating pulses.  Look for great recipes on Pulse Canada’s website or contact a Registered Dietitian for recipes, cooking tips and more information.

2.US Dietary guidelines

The new U.S. dietary guidelines were released on Jan. 7, 2016 and will shape the US nutrition policy and programming for the next 5 years. Canadian media and health professionals are looking closely at the nutrition directions south of the border for signs of change that will likely influence Canadian regulators. The top trend is the direction in overall healthy eating patterns with less emphasis on any one food or single nutrient. Healthy American, Mediterranean and Vegetarian eating patterns are highlighted with a focus on variety, nutrient density and portion control. Nutrients to limit continue to be sugars, saturated fats and sodium.

The 2015 US Dietary Guidelines create opportunities for manufacturers, trade groups to promote and support healthy eating.  Registered Dietitians are the trusted food and nutrition experts who are ready to help both consumers and manufactures interpret and implement the new healthy eating plans by suggesting the types of food to eat, amounts of food eat and how to cook healthy meals.

 3.Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month campaign

March is Nutrition Month and every year Dietitians of Canada challenges Canadians to commit to healthy eating.  Dietitians know that too many changes at once can be overwhelming and hard to keep up. That is why the 2016 campaign is dedicated to supporting Canadians to make small nourishing changes to their eating that they can stick to over time. There are many ways to improve the foods we eat and the way we prepare them so stay tuned for more tips in March about small changes that have a big impact over time.

2016 is the year of change. Since unhealthy diet is one of the primary risk factors for chronic disease, consumers are looking to food and beverages for prevention and treatment.  Food business professionals have the opportunity to make a difference by embracing and leveraging the up to date evidence based resources and messages provided by these top 3 campaigns. Join the healthy eating movement and work with regulated health professionals in 2016 help you leverage the year of pulses, new US guidelines and Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition month.

Desserts that end your meal on a healthy note!

healthy dessert pic Aug 2015Dessert is the final course in a dining experience that gives chefs and restaurateurs the chance to make a memorable last impression. While eating out, many Canadians are looking for menu items that are delicious and better for their health. As a usually indulgent or special occasion food, to many people “healthy dessert” may sound contradictory. However, treats can fit into a healthy balanced diet (and menu), and my nutrition tips and healthy dessert ideas can show you how!

Healthy Dessert Hallmarks

In Canada there is no regulated definition of healthy food or healthy dessert. Foods that contain high amounts of nutrients while providing reasonable amount of energy (calories) are usually considered healthy foods. On the other hand, foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition would be considered unhealthy. Many dessert foods such as cakes and pastries tend to fall into the less healthy category because they are high in calories, fat and added sugars while low in other nutrients including fibre.

You can create healthier desserts by making the calories count and increase the nutritional value of desserts. Boost fibre, vitamins/minerals, healthy fats and protein, and lower the fat and added sugars. Look to healthful ingredients such as fruit, whole grains, and lower fat dairy to help improve the nutritional profile of desserts without compromising taste.

Healthy Dessert Selection Guidelines
The following check system may be used to formulate healthier desserts
√√ Excellent Choice and  Good Choice

√√ Excellent Choice

Good Choice


0-150 calories/serving

151- 250 calories/serving


3 grams or more /serving

2 grams /serving


0-5  grams /serving

6-10 grams /serving

Adapted from: Healthy Dining Menu Guidelines, California 5 a Day— Be Active! Worksite Program (2012); Nutrition Standards for Ontario Schools PPM150 Baked Goods (2010); Bake It Up, Nutrition Resource Centre OPHA (2010)


Build on the Power of Fruit

If you are looking to make desserts healthier, adding fruit is a great first step. Best bets for fruits are those that are brightly coloured and may be are eaten with the skin on such as apples, berries or pears.  Fruit in a menu item can also contribute to the 7-10 servings of fruit/vegetable people need each day as recommended by Canada’s Food Guide. Another trend that consumers are looking for is fruit that is fresh, in season and local. To find out what’s harvested seasonally in your area visit a farmers’ markets near you or check out seasonal produce guides on line. Offer healthy desserts with a variety of local and seasonal fruit for the ‘best bet’ mark on your menu.

Offer Inherently Healthy Desserts 

Search for recipes that have been designed using ingredients and methods that are satisfying on their own.  Look to websites such as Dietitians of Canada for healthy recipe ideas.  Consider adding some of these inherently healthy desserts to your menu: 

  • Biscotti
  • Angel food cake (offer a variety of fruit options for a customizable dessert that meets the “my way” menu trend)
  • Strawberry shortcake
  • Macarons (sweet and salty variety is on trend)
  • Fruit galette
  • Fat free frozen yogurt
  • Easy fruity crêpes (Kid Friendly)
  • Cheese and grapes (offer lower fat cheeses such as part-skim mozzarella, farmer cheese, Muenster, provolone or other reduced-fat cheddar cheese)
  • Sorbet – use fruit, and if Artisan or ‘made in house’ it also hits the mark for this hot trend
  • Pies with a thin crust or crustless pies
  • Chilled peach, mango or melon soups
  • Remember to offer healthy options in kids’ desserts too: apple slices with yogurt dip, fresh fruit salad, piece of fresh fruit or made in house applesauce

Keep Portions Small

Bite-sized or mini desserts continue to stay on trend according to Nation’s Restaurant News 2015. Downsizing dessert portions can help customers manage calories. Suggesting customers share a dessert is another way to keep portions under control. Consider these mini dessert tips for your healthy dessert menu:

  • Miniature desserts can be boosted with fruit for added health benefits
  • Increase nutrition with topping like toasted nuts toasted hemp hearts
  • Try chocolate covered apple slices dipped in crushed nuts (remember to coat apple    slices in fresh lemon juice to prevent browning)
  • Mini Spiced Fruit Tarts (use trending spices such as cinnamon, ground allspice. )
  • Serve them in a clear shot glass or mini ramekins with attractive garnishes

Build on nutrition know-how to create healthy desserts that taste great!  Offering healthy dessert menu options to customers means you can provide better-for-you, on trend foods that meet your guests’ satisfaction and your business goals. Bon Appetite!

Adapted from Lucia’s article published in Canadian Restaurant & Foodservice News Juy/Aug 2015
Image from Dietitians of Canada (Eatright Ontario)