Tag Archives: Healthy eating

Dietary tips for people with type 2 diabetes

one in three live with diabetes Feb 2017

Diabetes and PRE Diabetes affect many people. If you have diabetes or PRE-diabetes you know that managing the condition is key to your health and wellness. This however can be overwhelming and some people aren’t sure where to start or how to get back on track. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with appropriate lifestyle changes. [1]

Food is a key component in managing diabetes so having a dietitian as part of your care team will help you achieve your health goals. [2]  There is not a simple ‘one-diet-fits’ all approach. A dietitian is a credible trusted nutrition expert who works with you to meet your individual goals. Here are 5 tips to help you manage diabetes.

  1. Focus on small gradual dietary changes that you can stick with.
  2. Keep portion sizes in check. Consider the plate method – making half your plate veggies.
  3. Understand carbohydrates – it’s not just sugars, but starch also breaks down to sugars!
  4. Monitory your blood sugar levels.
  5. Trust a Registered Dietitian with your nutritional health.  You can DO IT, ask for help when you need it.

[1] Today’s Dietitian (2017)
[2] Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month (2017)

What’s on new the MENU in Ontario Restaurants? Calorie Labelling!

what's on the menu blog march 2017

Have you noticed the new calorie labelling on Ontario chain restaurant menus? Operators, servers and consumers are coming to grips with the new reality of revealing calories in a serving of food. We are labelling experts who look beyond the fads to deliver reliable food forward advice.  I was honoured to moderate partnership events and engage with stakeholders about the challenges of the new menu labelling in Winter 2017 . Thanks to the leadership of Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP), Restaurants Canada and Dietitians of Canada in making these important professional discussions happen. A shout out to fellow dietitian Donna Bottrell who did a terrific job organizing the events, and to Nancy Hewitt President CAFP Toronto for her support.

CAFP lucia moderator event
From left: Donna Bottrell RD, event lead organizer; Nancy Hewitt, CFE, President of the CAFP Toronto Branch; Susan Somerville RD, Dean, Humber College, Jamie Rillet Vice President, Restaurants Canada and Lucia Weiler RD.

Here is a snapshot of what we heard:

  • ‘Medium and small chains are looking for guidance and consistency from the Government.’ Jamie Rilett, Restaurants Canada
  • ‘It’s challenging for a server to explain the calorie range for a serving size. More support and education would be helpful’ K.B.Bose, Shoeless Joe’s
  • ‘There is the nutrient variable to consider and educate about. How to address the fact that milk has more calories than pop but it’s also more nutritious?’ Katie Jessop RD
  • ‘Collaboration is needed between food professionals: chefs, dietitians and nutritionists.  And we are eating foods- not just one food. Food combinations in menus can help create healthier options. Nutrition professionals can assist operators and consumers.’   Lucia Weiler RD
  • ‘A lot of time was spent by Aramark in the initial analysis…they made sure to standardize recipes and then tested and tested which led to a recipe database.’ Karen Williams, Aramark
  • ‘Menu calorie labelling is just the beginning. There is a future importance for all aspects of nutrition and food, especially sustainable processing. Millennial consumers are very conscious about the’ what’ and the ‘how’ of food.’ K.B.Bose, Shoeless Joe’s

For more stakeholder views, participant feedback or restaurant menu labelling guidance please contact us.  We are registered dietitians who love food and our long term vision shapes nutrition and guides the way people eat.  Our expertise in nutrition communication and labelling can help your team formulate unique insights and create menu solutions that both foodservice professionals and consumers can use.

Tummy Troubles & Digestive Woes: What’s causing all this gas*?

gut health 2017

(*Dietitians Of Canada Guest Blog)
It’s a common story. You’re having lunch with friends, and you mention that you’ve been experiencing a health problem. And with that remark, your friend goes into “problem solving mode” by recommending a specific diet or ingredient that they think may help you. Your friend means well, but it’s better to get medical advice from a reputable source to help solve your struggle. Misinformation affects many of my clients, but there is a way to spot your problem and seek reliable facts to solve it. 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.

Let’s call this client Celeste. She’s fighting with an embarrassing problem – excess gas. Her friend recommended a gluten-free diet, but her friend is not a doctor or dietitian, so Celeste was curious about this recommendation. Was it the right one
for her? Let’s use the three-step approach to solve her struggle with gas and bloating.

  1. Spot the problem: Celeste’s problem was that everything she ate seemed to give her gas. Her friend said to stop eating wheat and gluten, but she wasn’t sure if that was the right advice.
  2. Get the facts: After reading a medical website, Celeste was relieved to learn that gas, bloating and burping are all common and can be normal. She found helpful advice by searching the term “gas” on these trusted websites such as those written by Registered Dietitians: www.dietitians.ca  www.healthlinkbc.ca  www.eatrightontario.ca
    She learned that gas, bloating and burping may be caused by swallowed air, medicines, supplements and certain food or drinks. So, maybe she was not properly digesting her daily chickpea salad or one of her supplements is causing the problem?

    But she also noted that gas and bloating could be the sign of a condition, such as lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome or celiac disease. Celeste was unsure of the reason for her symptoms, and read that it’s important not to self-diagnose. She needed the help of her doctor.

    Celeste wants to learn more about her friend’s suggestion to give up gluten in case she has celiac disease, so she visited the Canadian Celiac Association website. She learned that if she needs to be tested for celiac disease, she needs to be eating gluten (a protein found in wheat and other grains) before the test to get accurate results. If she had taken her friend’s advice to remove gluten from her diet, she could get a “false negative” result. Phew! She’s happy that she looked into it before making any changes to her diet. If she does need to go that route, she now knows to work with a Registered Dietitian before eliminating foods, since they can help her plan a balanced diet and ensure she meets nutrient needs.

  3. Seek support: Now Celeste knows not to self-diagnose or rely solely on advice from websites or well-meaning friends. She will talk to her doctor about her symptoms. If necessary she will see a gastroenterologist (digestive health doctor). She can also reach out to a registered dietitian (like me!) to help her figure out which foods may be causing her discomfort.

Do you have a food fight that you struggle with? Try the three-step approach to Take the Fight out of Food and if you want to get the facts from a dietitian, you can find one at www.dietitians.ca/find.

*Guest Blog was contributed by Dietitians of Canada #Nutritionmonth found on the DC Nutrition Month website. Did you know that Dietitians of Canada has led Nutrition Month Campaign for more than 30 years?

 

Is Your Workplace a 4STAR Eating Environment?

4StarFoodEnv_FacebookIconSquare (1)

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

2017-02-22_0-34-02

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

2017 Top food and nutrition trends

2017’s top 10 fowhat's hotod and nutrition trends signal big changes for the year ahead and include a renewed focus on quality and enjoyment of food, sustainability, clean eating and influential new regulations. Read on for more of our expert advice on trends that will impact consumer food choices. Let us know what you think…

1. Clean Eating
Consumers demand to know exactly what is in their food and where it comes from so they can make informed choices that are in line with their values. For mindful decisions, the ingredient list, the food source and recipe composition are all becoming more significant factors.

2. Kids & Youth
Health Canada identified promoting the importance of healthy eating in children and youth a priority. Look for more resources, reports and dietary guidance to help establish healthy eating habits at an early age.

3. Enjoy food in the company of others
Food is a powerful way to connect with people which has benefits well beyond nutrition. We’ll see focus on bringing back the pleasure of everyday shared meals, cooking and conversation.

4. Sustainability
Taking care of the planet is a priority with a strong millennial focus. Look for ways to eliminate food waste, use up less than perfect looking fruit/veg, eat food before it spoils, package in compostable or biodegradable materials.

5. Protein Power
Protein continues to be a nutrient of great interest at every meal occasion, especially breakfast. Expect increased attention to plant based protein sources in healthy recipes such as tofu, nuts, seeds, pulses (dried beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas).

6. Food Security
Let’s recognize the importance of equitable access to affordable, wholesome, healthy foods and drinks for all Canadians. Supporting best health through good nutrition for everyone is driving a variety of new efforts.

7. Veggie Believers
Growth of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused foods are fueled by consumers looking for ways to boost their veggie intake at home and while eating out. Find more ways to make half your plate veggies.

8. Digestive Health – Feed Your Fiber Famished Gut!
Keeping your gut healthy involves eating probiotics that feed the friendly bacteria that live in your intestine. Canadians get less than half of the daily recommended amount of fibre, so look for more tips on boosting fibre intake, specifically probiotic type fibres for digestive health. More information is available on probiotic fibres at http://bit.ly/2jPasvW 

9. New Food Labels and Claims
Health Canada through a commitment to transparency and ongoing regulatory modernization is revamping the packaged food label and Canada’s Food Guide. Calories, sugars, fat are focus on packaged foods and calories are required on restaurant chain menus. Check CFIA guidelines for any statements that may be made about the nutritional value of foods or menu items to help you avoid any violations.

10. Dietitians are Most Trusted Experts in Food & Nutrition
Many Canadians get their food and nutrition information from the ‘Wild Wild Web” of the internet which has so much misinformation. Instead, look to dietitians, the most trusted experts in food and nutrition. We do the hard work of studying the evidence, reviewing the research and translating the science to credible recommendations that you can use.

Let’s start a conversation! Join me at  our 10th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists Course  on April 26th 2017 University of Toronto

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

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

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.http://cdhf.ca/en/events/microbiota-summit-for-health-care-professionals
  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.http://cdhf.ca/en/events/healthy-gut-summit  Mon. Nov 7. 2016 | 7 – 9pm | Design Exchange Centre | Toronto, Ontario

5 hot tips to help you make small changes that stick #NutritionMonth

Nutrition Month 2016Working as a registered dietitian in education and nutrition communications gives me a unique perspective of seeing the difference nutrition professionals can make. Focusing on one meal a day during Nutrition Month 2016 is a great approach to make changes that you can stick with. Here are my top 5 picks to can help you make small lasting changes – one tip at a time.

  1. Fat confusion reigns
    Misinformation continues to surround dietary fat. People are muddled about the relationship between dietary fat and chronic diseases, so Nutrition Month is a great opportunity to help clarify the message. Saturated fat landscape is changing but it’s NOT a free for all – check food source first. Dietitian’s TIP: All liquid veg oils are OK – pick your favourite to cook with.
  1. Sugars slip up
    Added or free sugars are in the public ‘Danger Zone’. It’s true we don’t need added sugars as part of a healthy diet but it’s important to know that sugars can enhance the taste, aroma and texture of many healthy foods. There are natural sugars found in all fruit, dairy, and wholegrain breads and cereals, foods that are important for our health. Did you know that added and naturally occurring sugars are broken down the same way, and once digested the body really can’t tell the difference?  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.
  1. Veggie Believers
    Increasing your veggie intake is a great step toward healthier eating. In my wellness classes I look for unique and memorable ways reinforce the importance of eating more veggies. See if you can find inspiration in this perennial hit “I’m a Veggie Believer,” music video by Carl Winter, UC Davis.  More great ideas on how to make it easier for you to boost your veggie and fruit intake are available at Half Your Plate a program. Dietitian’s Tip:  Find ways to boost your veggie intake and stick with it.
  1. Worksite wellness works
    According to a poll by Ipsos Reid, 45% of Canadians say that eating healthy meals and snacks while at work is challenging.  You can help kick-start mindful healthy eating at your workplace! Invite a Registered Dietitian (RD) for a lunch and learn session or find an RD in your area for consultation. (Your healthcare benefit package may cover the costs too!)  RDs are the only regulated health professionals in the field of nutrition. Dietitians are qualified to offer you trust-worthy, science-based food and nutrition advice tailored to your health goals, preferences, and lifestyle. Dietitians Tip: Working with a Registered Dietitian (RD) makes a difference!
  1. Cook!
    You probably love to hear it when something you already do is good for you. Well here is one – if you cook you’re good to go! Knowing your way around the kitchen with some cooking skills will set you up for success in health, and you’ll never be without friends when food is a way to show your love and caring for others. The health benefits of cooking your food are real (even if you are using some processed ingredients). Dietitians Tip: Try recipes approved by dietitians to inspire healthy eating you can stick with. Visit  Cookspiration, Dietitian Recipe Ideas or try some of my favourite recipes.

Thanks for reading and Happy Nutrition Month!
Lucia