Category: Trends

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

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!

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)

Food Innovation at SIAL Canada 2015

We never miss attending SIAL Canada – it’s one of North America’s most important food tradeshows of the year. With 800 national and international exhibitors from 45 countries, this year’s SIAL event welcomed more than 13,000 buyers including Canada’s major retailers and purchasers from around the world who are seeking innovative and great tasting foods for their customers.

#1 – The winner of SIAL Innovation award went to Malimousse Seafood Dip with Greek Yogurt. The judges liked the dip’s quality, flavour and simple list of ingredients. Right on trend – Congratulations!

Seven of the ten finalists for this prestigious award were also from Canada.

#2 – Nupasta – Konjac Angel Hair is an innovative pasta product that is high in fibre and has 1/10th the calories of regular pasta. Nupasta’s Stephen Cheung tells us that products made from the konjac plant may be new in Canada but are common in Japan. Nupasta is made with konjac root flour and soy flour and is priced like fresh pasta. NuPasta contains 95% water and 5% fibre, yet it tastes great, appears versatile and is ready in 1 minute. This Chinese/Canadian partnership also declares the product as gluten free and non-GMO. Innovation category: component – recipe.

#3 – Walter – All-Natural Craft Caesar Mix is a natural handcrafted Bloody Caesar cocktail mix with no monosodium glutamate, isoglucose, colours or artificial flavours. Innovation categories: component – recipe; manufacturing process.

#4 – Fantino & Mondello – Dry Salami. These are gluten-free salami bites in a re-sealable bag and perfect for appetizers. Innovation categories: component – recipe; packaging.

#5 – Fresh Attitude Fraiche – Teriyaki, Stir Fry. An Asian inspired vegetables and noodle mix in a microwaveable and re-sealable bowl. Innovation categories: component –recipe; packaging.

#6 – Haskapa – Haskap Juice Drink is Haskap juice in a slim bottle. Made from 187 haskap berries and lightly sweetened. Innovation categories: component – recipe; packaging.

#7 – Omax – Nutritious and Delicious Bar. A nutrition bar sold chilled or frozen. Preservative-free. Innovation categories: component – recipe; marketing positioning

#8 – Pure – Infused Maple Syrup. Get ready for spice-infused maple syrup in a sophisticated bottle with wooden cap. Innovation categories: component – recipe; packaging.

#9 – Exotico – Sumatra Robusta Green Coffee. Instant green coffee for fitness. Low in calories and can be enjoyed hot or cold. Innovation category: component – recipe.

#10 – Doi Chaang Coffee Company – Organic and fair trade coffee in 90% biodegradable pod. 12 individually wrapped pods. Innovation categories: packaging; manufacturing process; marketing positioning

Raising good eaters and working towards healthy body weights for children

kids-healthy-foods[1]One in 10 Canadian children has clinical obesity. The obesity epidemic has all stakeholders looking for answers which to this date seem to elude us. Clearly there is not one magic fix, but there are glimmers of hope in common sense approaches that are promising. Preventing overweight and obesity in children is a particularly high priority public health initiative. As a nutrition professional, but more importantly as a mother of three children I confess having family eating and feeding dilemmas over the years. Upon reflecting on my parenting choices I found thoughtful and actionable advice Ellyn Satter’s work. Ellyn, a fellow registered dietitian provides a unique perspective that advocates a non-restrictive approach to feeding children.  It emphasizes good parenting with respect to the provision of food, feeding dynamics and physical activity.  The Satter model of “division of responsibility in feeding” is this:

  • Parents are responsible for the what, when and where of feeding
  • Children are responsible for the how much and whether of eating
  • Ellyn Satter division of responsibilty

In her book ‘ Your child’s weight, helping withou harming’  Satter’s  approach  to eating focuses on positive relationships and developing trust in your children to learn to enjoy food in the amounts that will help them grow in health and wellness.  The book also advocates for the importance of family meals as a means of providing structure and reassurance of adult support.

Here are some tips on raising good eaters and enjoying mealtimes with your kids:

  1. Maintain a division of responsibility: Parents provide the what, when, and where of feeding; Children choose how much and whether of eating.
  2. Provide regular meals and snacks. Children need to know that they will have enough, acceptable food provided to them on a reliable basis. Engage kids and teens in the meal planning discussions.
  3. Aim for variety and prepare foods in different ways. Be patient and offer children the choice of how much of a new food they will try. Remember sometimes accepting new foods takes time. Demonstrate the enjoyment of the new food yourself, and offer them in different ways, but be matter of fact about how much your child chooses to eat. (Praise can feel like pressure!)
  4. Aim for pleasant family meals with a food focus, be it at home or when eating out. Research shows that regular family meals make a big difference in the health and wellness of children. So turn off the TV sit together and enjoy at least 5 family meals a week – any meal counts be it a breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  5. Use non-food/beverage items for rewards. Consider activities, time spent together or stickers instead of food treats.

“Epilogue. When raising children, give it your best effort, find out if it works, then tinker with it.”
– Ellyn Satter is a keynote speaker at the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior (SNEB) annual conference in June 2015. See more at:

The Power of Protein

CNS conf protein 2015-02-19_2-30-52You may already know that protein is an essential nutrient that keeps your body functioning well. Proteins are part of every cell in your body and help build and repair muscle, tissue, skin, nails and hair. Protein also helps build hormones, enzymes and antibodies that fight disease. Last month, the Canadian Nutrition Society in collaboration with Dietitians of Canada, hosted the Conference on Advances in Protein Nutrition Across the Lifespan.  We were there and heard updates from leading researchers in the field. Here are key highlights about the role of protein in exercise, weight loss and chronic disease management.

Dietitian’s Top Protein Tip:  Start the day with a breakfast that includes a source of protein (such as eggs, yogurt, milk, lean meat or tofu). Most of us get enough protein througout the day, but the morning meal is lacking. Read more about Best Bet for Breakfasts here.

Protein for Athletes: Eating the right amount of protein at the right time has critical implications for athletes.  To build muscle, Dr. Stuart Phillips at McMaster University recommends eating four (4) equally spaced protein containing meals per day, (0.25-0.3 g protein/kg body weight/meal), PLUS a 40 g protein intake at bedtime to ensure muscle building proteins are on board while you sleep. For example if you weigh 68 kg (150 lbs), then you would need about 20 g of protein per each meal (68 kg x 0.3 g).  Consuming 4 meals per day meal PLUS a 40 g bedtime boost would bring your total day’s protein intake to about 120 g.

For those interested in protein supplements, whey is best since it’s a fast absorbing high quality protein.

Protein for Weight Loss & General Health: Eating enough protein helps you feel fuller. Keep snacking at bay, and include at least 30 g protein with each meal, especially at breakfast.

The quality of protein is an important consideration for meal planning, especially for vegetarian diets. Adults (19 years and over) need 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight. For example, if you weigh 68 kg (150 lbs), then you would need about 55 g of protein per day.  Another factor in assessing how much protein containing food you need to eat depends on the source! Foods containing high quality proteins require lower calorie intake to meet your essential amino acid (protein building block) requirements, according to Dr. Robert Wolfe, an expert on healthy aging from the University of Arkansas. For example, you may need to eat 6 times as many calories in chickpeas to get the amino acids available in one serving of lean turkey meat.

Protein for Aging & Chronic Illness: Muscle building in the body is triggered when enough of the amino acid leucine is present. When people consume small amounts of protein, the threshold of leucine needed to trigger muscle building may not be reached. Researchers including Dr. John Hoffer at the University of McGill recommend at least 30 g protein per meal to stimulate muscle building.  The tip for the ill and elderly patients may be to discourage nibbling, so they are sufficiently hungry at mealtime to eat enough protein (30 g/meal) to reach the threshold needed for muscle building to kick in.

Still have questions about protein intake? Leave a comment or contact us!