news & trends

Food Innovation – SIAL looks 20 years into the future

In September, Canada’s largest agrifood tradeshow SIAL hosted an event dedicated entirely to food innovation! With a focus on the future, we heard featured talks from Canada’s leading industry experts. Here are the lasting mega-trends that caught our eye on the future of food innovation!

  1. Convenience
  2. Health and Wellness
  3. Sustainability

It was interesting to see the audience response to the trend ranking questions posed by speakers Isabelle Marquis RD, and food innovation expert Dana McCauley. How would you answer these questions?

  • Which of these three core trends do you think was the most influential over the past 20 years?
  • Which of these three core trends do you think is the most important to food businesses today?

Convenience

In our fast paced world, the ‘anything, anytime, anywhere’ convenience is on the rise. Consumers are looking for solutions and the industry will have to change to remain relevant. McCauley says, ‘Instead of buying ingredients, people are buying fully prepared meals at the grocery store. We have come a long way from microwave meals.’  Innovations in convenience stores offer online and in-store features that create an ultra-convenient experience. Consider the mobile product recommendations, in-store product scanning codes (Quick Response Matrix)  that tell you much more about a product than what fits on the packaging. Convenience is an important trend that will continue to drive future innovation.

Health and Wellness

Health and wellness was ranked as the top trend by event participants. It came out as ‘most influential in the past 20 years’ and ‘most important in business today’. Not surprising, consumers are expecting food products that are nutrient rich, support a healthy lifestyle and taste great! Long gone are the days of ‘no fat’ where taste and texture of modified foods were underwhelming. Food makers are boosting the beneficial ingredients with proven health benefits including omega-3 fats, probiotics and other functional ingredients.  Protein continues to lead food innovation from snacks to meals with focus on nutrient quality and source.  Besides nutrients, the ingredients list is in the spotlight. Consumers are choosing to follow an individualized eating pattern that’s good for their personal health and fits their schedule. McCauley observed that more often, the question around meal times may be ‘What will I eat?’ instead of ‘What’s the family dinner?’ The ‘clean label’ trend is here to stay too with no artificial ingredients and no additives. This back to basics and want for naturalness is going to be part of the future of a very strong health and wellness trend.

Sustainability

In addition to looking for foods that are good for the body, consumers are also considering what’s good for the planet. People – especially millennials – are asking questions about where their food comes from and how it was grown / raised and processed. Simple, minimally processed, sustainable foods that are healthy for people and the planet are promising to lead us into the future.  Responsibly grown and processed food is a very important aspect of innovation and it also has a direct impact on the global food supply chain. Buying products considered to be ‘green’ and made with ‘clean ingredients’ is a lifestyle choice that more consumers and communities will be embracing. Another sustainability pillar is around packaging. ‘Plastic attack’ was alive and well pre-Covid pandemic and is likely to return before too long, predicts Marquis. Eco-friendly packaging is what consumers will expect when choosing groceries. Sustainability is a concern to everyone on the planet and we all have a chance to do something about it.

Bottom Line

The challenge of the times for the food business according to McCauley, is ‘integrating the most relevant trends with your brand identity and your consumers’ needs.’ The three key trends driving the way we will be eating in the decades to come include convenience, health and wellness and sustainability.

Connect with us (Info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com) and let’s work together for your innovation journey.  As dietitians, we can support you and your business in taking meaningful steps toward healthier communities and a more sustainable agri-food industry.

Food, Your Gut and Lower Blood Pressure – What’s the Connection?

Cardiovascular disease remains the world’s number one cause of death. With World Heart Day just around the corner on September 29th, new research points to the beneficial effects of flavonoid-rich foods on blood pressure.

A study just released reveals a link between flavonoids and the gut microbiome in improving blood pressure.

Researchers at the Institute for Global Food Security at Queen’s University in Belfast, Northern Ireland found that consuming higher levels of flavonoid rich foods including berries, apples, pears, and red wine may be associated with a reduction in blood pressure levels. This can be explained in part by the characteristics of the gut microbiome.

The gut microbiome are the good bacteria that live in the digestive tracts. The gut microbiome has been studied for its role in gut health, immunity and behavior and now heart health can be added to the list! There is mounting evidence to the importance of a healthy and diverse gut microbiome. This research suggests that the composition of the gut microbiome can play a key role in metabolizing flavonoids to enhance their benefits on heart health.

This study looked at over 900 adults and was published in Hypertension, the scientific journal of the American Heart Association. Those who had the highest intakes of flavonoid-rich foods had lower systolic blood pressure levels as well as a greater variety of bacteria in their gut compared to participants who consumed the lowest levels of flavonoids.

Lead researcher, Professor Aedín Cassidy explains that ‘These blood pressure lowering effects are achievable with simple changes to the daily diet. Eating  160 g of berries a day (which is about 1 cup sliced berries) was associated with a 4.1 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure, and 12% of the association was explained by gut microbiome factors. Drinking 700 mL red wine per week (which is about one glass of red wine 3 times a week, where a glass is 233 ml), was associated with a 3.7 mm Hg drop in systolic blood pressure levels, of which 15% could be explained by the gut microbiome.’

Researchers say that the ‘strength of their study was that they could examine the association between the intake of flavonoid rich foods, blood pressure and the composition of the microbiome concurrently.’

Are you interested in leveraging World Heart Day for your business?  Check out their 2021 playbook for information and ideas.  Let’s connect to help make a difference.

References

 

World Health Organization tackles salt reduction with first ever global benchmarks

Sodium background

Did you know that you’re likely consuming significantly more than enough sodium every day?  According to Health Canada, we eat about 3400 milligrams (mg) of sodium each day. This is more than double the amount we need, yet most people don’t know how much sodium they consume or the risks it poses, says the World Health Organization (WHO).

Sodium is an essential nutrient found in salt and many foods but our bodies need only a small amount of sodium to be healthy.  Due to its link to high blood pressure and other illnesses, sodium is a nutrient of public health concern. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, a major risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. High sodium intake has also been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, stomach cancer and severity of asthma. (Health Canada)

Sodium in the diet

Research shows that processed food contribute 75% of the sodium in the Canadian diet. Here’s a quick pop quiz: Which of these food groups do you think contributes THE MOST sodium to the Canadian diet?

  • a) Fruit and vegetables
  • b) Breads
  • c) Soups
  • d) Processed meats

This is a tricky question, and the answer is b) breads. Breads are the food group that contributes the most sodium in the Canadian diet. This not because breads are high in sodium, but the sodium adds up since we eat breads in high amounts.  Soups and processed meats tend to be high in sodium but we consume them in lower amounts, hence they contribute less sodium to the total diet.

In the new global benchmarks, the WHO identified ‘processed and packaged bread, savory snacks, meat products and cheese among the categories of high-sodium food products.’  In the detailed Global Sodium Benchmarks report, the WHO targets 18 categories of processed and packaged food products that contribute significantly to sodium in diets.

Sodium reduction focus on processed foods

National guidelines and sodium reduction recommendations have been in place for a while, but these are the first ever published “global sodium benchmarks” according to the WHO. This is because sodium reduction a global issue!   WHO stresses that “reducing sodium content by reformulating processed foods is a proven strategy to reduce population sodium intake, particularly in places where consumption of processed foods is high. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General also states “we need the food and beverage industry to cut sodium levels in processed foods,”

Sodium – recommended intakes for health and wellness

Sodium and Salt intake Guidelines (Sizer 2021)
2019 Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI) Recommendations 1500 mg/day
Chronic Disease Risk Reduction (CDRR) level 2300 mg/day
Canada’s food guide ‘Choose foods with little or no added sodium’… Compare Nutrition Facts table on foods to choose product that are lower in sodium. NOTE: 5% DV is a little, 15% DV or more is a lot.

When you are shopping for food products, look at the Nutrition Facts table and choose foods that have the lowest amounts of sodium.  Consider the  % Daily Value (%DV) on the Nutrition Facts table to compare similar products and see if the food has a little or a lot of sodium. Here is a good guide:

5% DV or less is a little and 15% DV or more is a lot. Look for products with a sodium content of less than 15% DV per serving.

Bottom line

Too much sodium raises blood pressure. Diets rarely lack sodium and most Canadians eat more than double the amount of sodium they need. You can make healthier choices when grocery shopping, cooking and eating out to help lower the amount of sodium you and your family eats.

Would you like more information? Contact us for guidance on lowering the sodium levels in your diet and in your processed foods. As dietitians we are trusted and credible food and nutrition experts on raising awareness and providing education to support sodium reduction as an important public health priority.

Ask the Dietitian: Is there any nutritional benefit to coconut sugar or date sugar?

Coconut sugar (Istock)

Date sugar (Bing)

You may have seen recipes that say ingredients like coconut sugar and date sugar contribute nutritional benefits. Although there are a few elements in these sugars that make them different from regular sugars, in reality, coconut sugar and date sugar are almost identical to regular cane sugar in terms of nutrients and calories. Both consist mainly of sugars, which are simple carbohydrates. Diabetes Canada states sugars may be eaten in moderation by people with diabetes but there is no advantage to those with diabetes in using one type of sugar over another.

Coconut sugar is also called palm sugar and comes from the dehydrated sap of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar may contain some trace minerals found in the coconut palm like iron, zinc, magnesium and B-Vitamins.  These nutrients support good health, but coconut sugar does not contain enough of them per serving to offer a measurable benefit. Coconut sugar also contains inulin, a type of soluble fibre. Fibre is a more complex type of carbohydrate and it slows down the absorption of the sweetener which is linked to a lower risk of blood sugar spikes.  Coconut sugar may impart a nutty flavor and is recommended as a substitute for brown sugar in food preparation.

Date sugar is simply dried dates ground into a fine powder. Date sugar has the trace nutrients found in whole dates, including potassium, calcium, and antioxidants. The fibre in a teaspoon of date sugar is nutritionally insignificant. The main drawback to date sugar is that it doesn’t melt or dissolve completely in water, so its uses are somewhat limited. Replacing brown sugar in recipes, such as banana bread and bar cookies, or sprinkling some on yogurt or fruit are suggested uses.

Bottom line: If you prefer to use coconut sugar or date sugar, go ahead and enjoy it. But remember it’s really just like eating another type of sugar. It provides just as many calories and carbohydrates as regular sugar: about 15 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrate per teaspoon. All added sugars should only be used in moderation. Speak to a dietitian about your personal nutrition questions.

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Today’s Dietitian, Diabetes Canada

Ask a Dietitian – What’s the Difference between Free Run and Free Range Eggs?

Small headshot of Sue Mah over-layed on a background of brown and white eggs. The Ask a Dietitian question is typed within a green box.

This is such a common question, thanks for asking us!

Eggs are a nutrient-packed food, and with so many choices these days, it can be confusing to know what they all mean.

Free run and free range describe the type of housing for the hens which laid the eggs.

Free run eggs come from hens that roam the entire barn floor, and some of these barns may have multi-tired aviaries.

Free range eggs come from hens that also roam the entire barn floor. And when the weather permits, the hens also have access to outdoors.

You may have seen these other types of eggs at the grocery store too:

Organic eggs come from hens which are raised free range and they’re also fed a certified organic feed.

Omega-3 eggs are nutritionally-enhanced or vitamin-enhanced eggs. The hens were fed a special diet with certain nutrients or ingredients (such as flaxseed), so that their eggs actually contain higher amounts of these healthy omega-3 fats.

Whichever eggs you choose, know that they all contain essential nutrients such as protein, iron, folate, choline, vitamin A and vitamin D.

What would you like to ask a dietitian? Comment below or send us an email, and we’ll answer it in a future blog.

 

– By Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc, FDC

 

 

 

Inflammation & Nutrition

Image: Shutterstock. Description: Selection of healthy food reducing chronic inflammation salmon fish avocado seeds nuts leafy green vegetables berries on a white rustic wooden table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is inflammation & why does it matter?

Inflammation is a natural and protective response by the body’s immune system to an injury, infection or harmful substances.  Symptoms of inflammation include redness, heat, swelling and pain.

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Imagine cutting your finger or scraping your knee. What happens? The area turns red, is painful and perhaps starts swelling. This is acute inflammation – your immune system is sending white blood cells to your injured finger or knee to protect it. In this way, inflammation is helpful and essential and speeds up the healing process.

In contrast, chronic inflammation happens when the body continues to respond for a long time as if it was under attack by a foreign or unwanted substance. Chronic inflammation does not help the body because it fights against its own cells by mistake. Some diseases or medical conditions associated with inflammation are rheumatoid arthritis, where many joints throughout the body are permanently inflamed, psoriasis – a chronic skin disease, and inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.  These chronic inflammatory diseases can last for years or even a lifetime. Chronic inflammation also contributes to heart disease, type-2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and some allergic conditions.

What you can do about managing inflammation?

With all the conditions that involve inflammation, no wonder people are interested in food choices to help reduce ongoing harmful chronic inflammation. Overall good nutrition is key to enhancing immunity and providing antioxidants that lower the stress of inflammation. You may be wondering about specific foods that have been called out as part of the ‘anti-inflammatory diet’.   Here are FIVE types of foods to keep on top of your list that may help reduce chronic inflammation:

  1. Foods rich in omega- 3 fats
    • Eat oily fish 2 – 3 times / week (salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, trout)
    • Replace regular eggs with omega-3 eggs
    • Choose plant-based sources of omega-3 fats including flax oil, ground flax seeds and walnuts
  2. Antioxidant rich vegetables and fruit
    • Look for colour – dark green, red, orange, yellow, purple and blue – they are chock full of antioxidants
    • Enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruit everyday – make them half your plate at each meal
  3. Fibre
    • Choose fibre rich foods such as vegetables, fruit, pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils) and whole grains. High fibre foods help support your gut health and nourish the beneficial bacteria that help fight inflammation and disease.
  4. Herbs and spices
    • Add flavour with cinnamon, ginger and turmeric which seem to supress inflammation, but evidence is unclear about how often and how much to eat. Have fun exploring some dietitian approved recipes that enhance flavour with these herbs and spices.
  5. Protein
    • Eat protein foods to build antibodies which play a role in supporting a healthy immune system. Include fatty fish (see tip #1 above) and lean white meat in your diet. Use cooking methods that do not char meat such as poaching, stewing, and steaming. Try acidic marinades such as lemon, lime vinegar or yogurt for a health and flavour boost. Acid ingredients tenderize meat and studies show that marinating meats may reduce harmful compounds that can form on meat exposed to high cooking temperatures.
    • Choose plant proteins including tofu, tempeh, edamame, beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds.

 Bottom line

There is no single anti-inflammatory or miracle food!  However, eating an overall healthy diet is an important way to help manage inflammation.  In addition,  getting enough sleep , engaging in regular physical activity as well as other lifestyle factors (such as NOT smoking)  have a direct impact on lowering inflammation.

A registered dietitian can break down the anti-inflammatory diet for you into easy-to-follow steps and provide you with a variety of enjoyable ways to eat well.  Contact us to find out more about our personalized nutrition counselling sessions.

 

February signals Black History Month and Heart Month

L.Weiler, Canva

Every February is Black History Month and also Heart Month. Do you think this is a coincidence or is there more to consider?

As dietitians and health care professionals, especially this year, we reflected deeper. We are taking the time to recognize health disparity and reflect on what is happening in our health care community. Now is the time to double down on efforts to listen and learn from our colleagues in the Black community and act accordingly.

When people think about heart health, it’s important to consider what this could mean in terms of things we can and cannot change.  Research shows that people of African descent are at higher risk of developing heart disease and stroke. This is because they are more likely to have high blood pressure (hypertension), diabetes or other risk factors for heart disease at a younger age (Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada, 2021).

Studies also confirm that there are Black-White health inequalities in Canada (Veenstra, 2016). For example, Black women and men were more likely than their White counterparts to report diabetes and hypertension. The authors of this study concluded that high rates of diabetes and hypertension among Black Canadians may stem from experiences of racism in everyday life. University of Ottawa Heart Institute’s prevention and wellness experts explain that ‘people of the same ethnicity share many of the same genes, which is why family history and ethnicity are so closely linked.’  Studies also indicate that ‘people from minority populations are less aware that smoking, high cholesterol, and family history increase their risk for heart disease. Awareness levels can impact a person’s decision about whether to start making healthy lifestyle changes’ (Ottawa Heart Institute, 2021).

We are committed to continue navigating through these changing times with an open mind, positivity, compassion and hope for a better future. We are reading the science, listening to colleagues in the Black community at conferences and on their media and social media channels.

Here are some resources we found informative:

As we journey to do better, you can rely on us as Registered Dietitians to bring you trusted food and nutrition information to help you make informed choices about your health and wellness. We love food – it unites us all.

Reference List:

Veenstra (2016)  Black-White Health Inequalities in Canada. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25894533/
Ottawa Heart Institute (2021) Heart Health Education. Available at:  http://pwc.ottawaheart.ca/education/heart-health-education/risk-factors/ethnicity)
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (2021) Risk & Prevention Available at: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/stroke/risk-and-prevention/risk-factors-you-cannot-change

International Year of Fruits & Vegetables 2021

 

colourful fruits and veggies arranged in a circle to create an image of a person's face. This is the logo for the IYFV 2021.

 

IYFV 2021. It stands for the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables 2021, declared by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN).

IYFV 2021 is dedicated to raising global awareness about the important role of fruits and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health as well as in achieving the UN’s sustainable development goals.

Here’s a summary of the key messages:

Harness the goodness

Fruits and vegetables have multiple health benefits, including the strengthening of the immune system, that are essential for combating malnutrition in all its forms and overall prevention of non-communicable diseases. This is becoming increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Live by it, a diverse diet

Fruits and vegetables should be consumed in adequate amounts daily as part of a diversified and healthy diet. The FAO recommends eating 400 grams (about 5 servings) of fruits and vegetables every day.

Respect food from farm to table

The high perishability of fruits and vegetables needs special attention to maintain their quality and safety through appropriate treatment and handling across the supply chain from production to consumption in order to minimize loss and waste.

Innovate, cultivate, reduce food loss and waste

Innovation, improved technologies and infrastructure are critical to increase the efficiency and productivity within fruits and vegetables supply chains to reduce loss and waste.

Foster sustainability

Sustainable and inclusive value chains can help increase production, help to enhance the availability, safety, affordability and equitable access to fruits and vegetables to foster economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Growing prosperity

Cultivating fruits and vegetables can contribute to a better quality of life for family farmers and their communities. It generates income, creates livelihoods, improves food security and nutrition, and enhances resilience through sustainably managed local resources and increased agrobiodiversity.

 

As business dietitians, we are skilled in translating the science of nutrition into practical advice for consumers and businesses. Contact us to discuss how you can leverage IYFV 2021 for your product marketing and communications.

 

Introducing the NEW Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025

On December 29, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the latest U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020-2025. Every five years, these science-based guidelines are updated to offer the most current advice on “what to eat and drink to promote health, reduce risk of chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs.”

Key message – Make every bite count!

Americans’ health is suffering.  According to the USDA, 6 in 10 adults are living with chronic illness, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis that are often related to poor-quality diets. Following the Dietary Guidelines can help improve Americans’ health and it’s never too late to start dietary improvements.  People at any stage of life can make every bite count and benefit from changing to more nutrient-dense forms of foods and beverages.

How are Dietary Guidelines used?

The US Dietary Guidelines have a significant impact on nutrition in the United States.  The Dietary Guidelines form the basis of all federal nutrition policy and programs including nutrition resources. They also guide local, state, and national health promotion and disease prevention initiatives. The Dietary Guidelines are adapted by health professionals to meet specific needs of groups and individuals.

What’s new and what’s the same?

Here’s a snapshot of what’s new and what’s not in the USDA Dietary Guidelines 2020-2025 and what it means to people and businesses.

  1. NEW – 4 overarching Guidelines in the 2020-2025 edition
    • Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.
    • Customize and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations.
    • Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and stay within calorie limits.
    • Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages.
  2. NEW – Guidance across all life stages now includes infants and toddlers.

    From pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to older adults, nutrition advice is provided in the Dietary Guidelines for all life stages. The edition also emphasizes that it is never too early or too late to eat healthy!

    • For first time ever the guidelines include advice for children less than 2 years of age. This will help parents know how to start their infants and toddlers out with a healthy diet. Specific recommendations include:
    • Introduce potential food allergens including eggs, peanuts and dairy to children early to help reduce the risk of developing food allergies.
    • Avoid added sugars for infants and toddlers.
  3. NEW – Call to action: ‘Make every bite count’ with same 5 food groups and ‘MyPlate’ model 

    USDA continues to use 5 food groups including dairy, unlike the Canadian Food Guide. Both Food guides recommend half the plate be filled with vegetables and fruit.  Here is how the key consumer messages appear based on the new guidelines ‘Small Changes Matter, Start Simple’ resource:

  4. SAME – Key recommendations limit saturated fat, added sugars, sodium and alcohol
    • Limit saturated fat to less than 10% of calories per day starting at age 2.
    • Limit added sugars to less than 10% of calories per day for ages 2 and older; Avoid added sugars for infants and toddlers.
    • Limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day (or even less if younger than age 14).
    • If consumed by adults, alcoholic beverage guidance remains the same as previous years:
    • 2 drinks or less per day for men and 1 drink or less a day for women. Pregnant women should not drink alcohol. Some experts are disappointed because the Scientific Advisory? Committee recommended further limiting alcohol intakes to just one drink a day for both men and women however this was not reflected in the final guidelines.
  5. SAME – Lack of mention about food insecurity and food systems.

Some food and nutrition advocates were hoping to see guidance on sustainably, climate change and information about food systems including activities involving the production, processing, transport in addition to the consumption of food.  The Dietary Guidelines received some criticism for these exclusions.

The bottom line:

This is a comprehensive 164-page guidance document on what the average American should eat and drink to promote health and prevent chronic disease. For most people the takeaway from these guidelines should be forming healthy dietary patterns. “For lifelong good health, make every bite count with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans”.

Consult with Registered Dietitian to discover what the guidelines mean for your nutritional requirements, personal health and wellness or your food and nutrition business.

Want to discover more about how to make the Food Guide work for you and your business? Contact us now for a presentation / workshop.

Written by: Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc, Co-Founder Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists

Understanding the Most Confusing Words at the Grocery Store

women pushing a grocery cart with overlay text of blog title

Natural versus organic. Free run versus free range. Made in Canada versus Product of Canada. These terms can be oh-so confusing! We decipher these terms so that they all make sense!

Watch Sue’s TV interview on this topic (and see a few food examples) or read the details below.

Dietitian Sue Mah speaking via SKYPE to TV host Lindsey DeLuce

Whole grain versus Multi-grain

Whole grain means that you’re getting all three parts of the grain kernel or grain seed. The three parts are:

  • Bran – this is the outside layer of the grain and contains most of the fibre as well as B vitamins and some protein
  • Endosperm – this is the middle layer and it’s the bigger part of the whole grain. It’s mostly carbohydrates with some protein
  • Germ – this is the smallest part of the grain kernel and is rich in B vitamins, vitamin E and minerals

On the other hand, multi-grain simply means that the product contains more than one type of grains, and they may or may not be whole grains.

Choose whole grains when you can for extra fibre and nutrition. Some examples of whole grains are oats, barley, corn, rye, brown rice and quinoa.

Grass fed versus Grain fed

These are terms that are sometimes used to describe the beef you can buy. All cattle eat grasses and forages which includes grasses, clover and alfalfa.

Grass fed beef means that the cattle was only fed grass or forages their entire life.

Grain fed beef means that the cattle were raised on grass or forages for most of their life and then grain finished. This means is that about 3-4 months before going to market, the cattle are fed a diet that is mostly grains like corn or barley. The grain helps to produce a more marbled quality grade of beef

When it comes to nutrition, both grass fed and grain fed beef are excellent sources of protein, iron and vitamin B12. Grass fed beef is leaner than grain fed beef, and may have slightly higher amounts of omega-3 fat and vitamin K. Some say that grass fed beef has a slightly different taste too.

Free range versus Free run

These are terms that are used to describe the eggs you buy.

Free run eggs come from hens that roam the entire barn floor, and some of these barns may have multi-tiered aviaries.

Free range eggs come from hens that also roam the entire barn floor. And when the weather permits, the hens go outside to pasture. So in the winter when it’s cold, access to outside may be limited.

From a nutrition point of view, there are no differences in the nutritional content of these eggs compared to regular eggs. All eggs are a super source of protein, iron, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Made in Canada versus Product of Canada

Made in Canada means that a Canadian company was involved in some of the food preparation.

Product of Canada means that all or nearly all of the food and processing used to make the food is Canadian. In other words, “Product of Canada” foods were grown or raised by Canadian farmers, and prepared / packed by Canadian food companies.

Natural versus Organic

Natural means that nothing has been added or removed. The food does not contain any added vitamins or minerals or artificial flavours or food additives. The food also has not had anything removed or significantly changed.

Organic refers to the way foods and ingredients have been grown and processed. For example, organic chicken means that the chickens were raised with a certified organic feed that contains no animal by-products or antibiotics. Organic also means that there are no artificial colours or flavours, no preservatives or sweeteners. The “organic” logo, shown below, can be used only on products that have 95% or more organic content.

Unleash your strength and personal brand – Professional career coaching

Are you ready to unleash your strength and personal brand? We can help!

Leading from your strengths impacts you and the people around you. This professional development workshop introduces the science of strengths and the framework of strengths based leadership, which produces better results for people and teams. Save your spot for the next course or jump right into your professional reboot coaching. Register here.

This is the perfect course if you want to:

  • discover the power of your natural strengths
  • build your personal and professional brand
  • improve yourself to perform better
  • find a happier and healthier way to work

Join dietitian and nutrition entrepreneur Lucia Weiler to enter the future of professional development with real-time, personalized guidance.  Let’s take a virtual walk together in a positive, encouraging and motiving session that will help you discover the power of strengths and build your personal brand.

Who should attend?

This course suits the needs of participants from diverse backgrounds. Developed to support professional training and growth among early career trainees and seasoned professionals with rich and diverse experiences.

  • Individuals
  • Students
  • Educators
  • Managers
  • Leaders

Facilitator  Bio:  

Lucia is a Registered Dietitian and savvy nutrition entrepreneur.  She is a pro at facilitating online workshops that empower professionals to apply their individual strengths for professional and personal success. With over 25 years of experience as a recognized leader in food and nutrition, Lucia has witnessed first-hand the power of strengths-based leadership in helping transform individuals and teams to successfully reach their goals. Lucia is faculty at Humber College Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellness and is an active member of the Board of Directors of Dietitians of Canada. Her company Weiler Nutrition Communications Inc. helps professionals and businesses thrive to achieve their goals. More information about Lucia’s bio is available at www.weilernutrition.com

Course Date & Cost:

Course: Fall 2020 date to be announced for an engaging live Zoom presentation. $ 50 +HST   Save your spot

Professional Coaching Program: Open for registration

**Register for a course or start your Individualized Professional Reboot Program *

Questions? Email Lucia@WeilerNutrition.com

What to Look for in a Probiotic Supplement

A bottle of probiotics showing the bacteria content

Probiotics can have a number of health benefits ranging from reducing the symptoms of digestive disorders to supporting your immune system. Choosing a probiotic supplement though can be sooo confusing! Here are four dietitian-approved tips to help you find the best product.

Tip #1 – Look for a probiotic that is enteric-coated

The acid in our stomach can destroy probiotics. Enteric-coated probiotic capsules, like New Roots Herbal probiotics, are completely sealed allowing them to survive the acid in our stomach and make it all the way down to our large intestine / colon where probiotics do their beneficial work. Some other probiotics are “delayed release”, meaning that the capsules will open up slowly to release their contents. However, the delayed release may only last about 30 minutes. In this case, the probiotics can still be destroyed by the stomach acid and may not reach the small intestine to deliver full benefits. Another benefit of enteric-coated probiotics is that you can take them anytime, with or without food.

Tip #2 – Look for the bacteria count at the time of EXPIRY

Probiotics will list the bacteria count in Colony Forming Units (CFUs). The key is to make sure that the CFU count is guaranteed at the time of expiry, not just when they’re manufactured. Look for the phrase “Potency guaranteed at date of expiry” on the bottle or package.

Tip #3 – Look for probiotics in the refrigerated section

Probiotics by definition are living micro-organisms. Keeping probiotics in the fridge helps to preserve the lifespan of the bacteria. That’s why you’ll find New Roots Herbal probiotics in the refrigerated section at the natural products store. When you get home, remember to keep your probiotics in the fridge too!

Tip #4 – Talk to a dietitian or your health care professional

Probiotic supplements can contain billions of probiotics! The two most common groups of probiotics are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium – and there are different species and strains within these groups. Talk to a dietitian or your health care provider to figure out the best ones for you and your health concerns.

 

Watch Sue’s TV interview about Prebiotics and Probiotics 

TV host Annette Hamm chatting with dietitian Sue Mah

 

Written by: Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc, FDC

Disclosure: I have participated in a paid partnership with New Roots Herbal. Opinions in this post are my own. 

 

5 Smart Snacks

snack ideas that combine protein with produce

Want to stay fueled and alert? Our dietitian tip is to combine protein with produce at every snack! Protein foods give you staying power, satiety and alertness. Produce offers a medley of antioxidants to boost your health and wellness. That’s a powerful combo, right?

Try these snacks the next time you’re heading out on the trails, camping or even studying for exams. Which snack combo is your favourite?

 

The Science of Comfort Foods

aerial image of kitchen counter filled with baking supplies like flour, eggs, and measuring spoons

[Image: Piktochart]

Can you believe that we’re into week 11 of quarantine now? We’ve been seeing plenty of homemade comfort food pics posted on Instagram lately. In fact, the hashtag #QuarantineBaking has over 208 THOUSAND posts and the hashtag #ComfortFood has over 7.1 MILLLION posts.

There has been so much about comfort food lately in the news too:

  • In Toronto, Bradley Harder started the #PandemicPieProject – he’s baked over 200 pies and given them away to members in his community;
  • In Halifax, Amy Munch who owns Cake Babes, a wedding cake shop, has now baked over 2000 cupcakes and delivered them to front line workers; and
  • In Italy, an 84-year-old Grandma is on lighting up YouTube, demonstrating her recipe for Lockdown Lasagna.

Here are 4 reasons why you might be reaching for those comfort foods right now.

Watch our 1 minute video clip below about The Science of Comfort Foods!

 

1 – Comfort foods trigger dopamine

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that sends messages between the brain cells. Dopamine is all about motivation, reward and pleasure. It gives us a feel-good sensation. So when you eat a comfort food that tastes good and is rewarding, you get a rush of dopamine. Your brain remembers this connection between your behaviour (the comfort food you ate) and the reward (the positive feeling). You may be more motivated to continue that behaviour i.e. eat a comfort food because it gives you that feel-good reward. Some psychology researchers think that even ANTICIPATING eating certain foods generates dopamine. So just THINKING about eating a cinnamon bun or chocolate cake can trigger dopamine!

2 – Comfort foods gives us social connection

As a dietitian, I always say that food unites us. My dad is a chef and to me, food is an expression of love. I remember when Jamie Oliver was here in Toronto in 2015, promoting his new cookbook. When he stood up on stage, he said “Food can be a hug”.  Wow, don’t you agree – food can be as comforting as a hug. Some interesting research from the Universities of Tennessee and New York State in 2015 found that comfort foods remind us of our social relationships / and helps us feel less lonesome especially when we are isolated. Comfort foods offer a sense of belonging. So it makes sense that we’re turning to comfort foods during these times of quarantine and physical isolation. On top of that, baking and cooking together offers psychosocial benefits. Think of those virtual dinner parties or virtual cooking classes we’ve been taking – they keep us feeling connected even when we’re not physically together.

3 – Comfort foods are associated with positive memories and nostalgia

Very often, comfort foods remind us of our childhood or home or friends and family. Comfort foods may also be linked to special person like your mom, dad, Nona, Bubbe or Grandma. When we eat comfort foods, it brings pack happy memories from our past. Sometimes even the SMELL of comfort foods can trigger these positive memories. Psychological research shows that smells are powerfully linked to areas in the brain that are associated with memory and emotional experiences 

4 – Comfort foods can give us a little more certainty and routine.

In these times of uncertainty, making and eating comfort foods can offer a sense of structure and control. We have control over the foods we are making and eating, and we also have a little more control over how we feel. Our brain tells us that eating that piece of homemade bread or pasta will make us feel good.

 

If you’re eating for comfort, that’s completely OK. Be mindful of how often and how much. Practice other healthy lifestyle habits to beat stress – try yoga, meditation, a walk with the dog, listening to music or calling a friend. Stay safe and stay well!

 

By Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc, FDC – Co-founder n4nn

4 Fridge rules for food safety & wellness

Can you think of a time when you found something in your fridge you did not recognize?  Or a special food you bought was misplaced only to turn up spoiled? Well you’re not alone!  In today’s busy home kitchens these things happen.  As a dietitian and food safety professional I can offer you some evidence based advice to help you keep your food cool safely, save you money and reduce waste. Follow these tips for safe food storage in your fridge.

1. Refrigerate perishable foods promptly.
After shopping or cooking how do you put food in the fridge? You may be surprised to discover there is a recommended safe way to store perishable foods.

  • When you return home from shopping put perishable foods in the fridge quickly. Follow the safe food storage tips outlined in this article.
  • If you have extra food after cooking refrigerate leftover foods within two hours. Use clear shallow containers or baggies to store leftovers. Pro tip: separate larger amounts of leftovers into small, shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator.

2. Label cooked food containers with name of the food and date you made them.
It’s a lot to ask sometimes to remember when you ate that leftover food that’s sitting in your fridge. To help jog your memory try these foodservice professional’s practices.

  • Place a label on the food containers with the name and date when you made them before putting them in the fridge. Keep a roll of masking tape and a marker handy.
  • Use clear containers with a lid to protect the food and see what is in it.

Leftovers are safe in the fridge for 3-4 days. If you don’t have a chance to eat leftovers within this time, move them to the freezer for later use.

3. Practice safe food storage order.
Did you know there is a best way ‘hierarchy’ to store perishable foods in your fridge? Here are the foodservice pro’s fridge rules to keep foods safe and organized.

  • TOP SHELF – Keep ready to eat fully cooked leftovers here so they are at eye level. Remember to eat leftover foods within 3-4 days of cooking or move them to the freezer.
  • MIDDLE SHELVES: The mid-section of the fridge is best for dairy such as milks, cheeses, yogurt and butter, eggs.
  • BOTTOM SHELF – RAW / uncooked MEAT: Store uncooked fish, meat at the bottom – lowest shelf or meat drawer. To prevent juices from leaking and cross contaminating other foods, store raw fish, meat and poultry wrapped and place it on a plate or in a sealed container.
  • CRISPER DRAWERS – These sealed compartments are specially designed to keep the humidity right for veggies and fruit. Remember fresh fruit, many vegetables and herbs are perishable and require refrigerated storage to keep them fresh longer.
  • Mind the doors. The temperature in the door is not always consistent. So play it safe and keep items that don’t spoil easily, such as condiments, in the fridge door.

4. Clean your fridge regularly and keep it in good running condition.
A fridge is often a ‘taken for granted’ appliance and giving it a little attention helps keep it running well. After all it stores hundreds of dollars’ worth of food that must be kept cold so it doesn’t spoil as fast and make us sick.

  • Declutter your fridge contents regularly. An overstuffed fridge restricts airflow and it may hinder proper cooling. Toss out items that are past their prime and keep foods that are before their expiration date.
  • Clean out your fridge regularly. It’s not enough to just wipe up the obvious messes. Wash down shelves and drawers with soapy water and use a sanitizer to reduce germs.
  • Monitor your fridge’s temperature – it should be between 1-4 degrees Celsius (36-40 Fahrenheit.) Keep a backup thermometer in your fridge for food safety.

If you can implement some of these savvy fridge food storage tips, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your food safe, wasting less food and saving more of your money. Good luck and if you have any questions or would like more information contact us at  Info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com

Interested in seeing the Instagram Live show on Fridge food storage tips? Check out the 20 min interactive chat here:

 

Be Well! Navigate the grocery aisles efficiently during COVID19

Getting in and out of a grocery store fast is more important than ever during the COVID19 pandemic. Health experts ask us to stay at home as much as possible which means limiting the number of shopping trips to a minimum. Once you arrive at the grocery store keeping a safe 6 foot distance from others is a new skill for many people including myself. It’s also important to navigate the aisles efficiently. Somehow it doesn’t seem OK any more to forget something and have to run back through the store to find it.

To help you stay well we created an efficient grocery shopping list. We really like this template because it prompts meal planning so you buy only what you need. We also limited the number of items to make your trip more manageable.   You’ll notice the list is organized in categories that follow the grocery store layout to help you get in and out of the store fast.

Here is how you can use it:

  1. Create a meal plan.
    Before going to the grocery store consider the meals you’d like to make in the upcoming week. Make a note of the most important items you need in case your trip is stressful and you don’t get through your whole shopping list.
  2. Complete your efficient grocery shopping list *
    Print out a copy of the Be Well! Efficient grocery shopping list (see link below) and keep it in your kitchen. You can ask others you live with to help complete the list so everyone contributes to the eating plan. When the list gets full, you’ll know it’s time to go shopping.
  3. Navigate the aisles efficiently
    When you arrive at the store pick the aisles with the least number of people and keep your physical distance 6 feet from others. Make your way through the store quickly and efficiently. Because your shopping list is short you won’t need a pen to check off the list.

Keep well and good luck grocery shopping!

* Print off your copy of the shopping list by clicking on this link and then the image.  Be Well! Efficient Grocery Shopping List N4NN dietitians

Watch our one minute VIDEO summary and tips on efficient grocery shopping here:

Eating well during COVID-19

Sue Mah shares her tips on national TV to make the most of your food during times of COVID-19.

Watch Sue’s TV interview here with CTV Your Morning. 

 

TV host Lindsey Deluce interviewing dietitian Sue Mah in her kitchen

 

Buy foods with a long shelf life. Fresh, frozen and canned foods are all OK. Some ideas: fresh carrots, potatoes, squash, onions and parsnips; frozen fruit, veggies, meat and fish; canned fruit, veggies, beans, soup and pasta sauce; shelf-stable milk or non-dairy beverages. Having these foods can help you get through tough times in case you become sick and can’t leave your home. I write the best before date on a green piece of tape and stick it right on the can for easy visibility! (See my pantry photo below.)

Keep a food inventory to remind you of what have. Go through your fridge, freezer and pantry. The kids can help with this too! Plan your meals using the foods you have on hand. Try new recipes using your pantry staples. Check best before dates and practice the “First In First Out” rule – use the foods that have the earliest best before date first. Circle or highlight items with an approaching best before date so you know to use them soon. Cross the items off the inventory as you use them so you know when you might need to buy more.

Wash your hands before and after cooking / eating. Wash all fresh fruits and veggies before eating, especially if you’re eating the skins. Cook foods to the right temperature. Keep raw foods separate from cooked foods, and use separate utensils / cutting boards for each. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours or freeze leftovers to eat later. Eat refrigerated leftovers within 3 days. For more food safety tips, go to Canadian Public Health Association. 

Don’t share eating utensils. Avoid sharing food from the same container (e.g. avoid sharing popcorn or grapes from the same bowl.) No double dipping please. 🙂 Wash utensils in hot soapy water or in the dishwasher.

Sue's pantry with best before dates labelled on cans

Sue’s pantry

 

Serving food safely during COVID-19

Since COVID19 arrived, you already know about the importance of hand washing. This is a great first step in handling food safely. Remember to use the WHO method to wash your hands every time before touching food or setting the table.

When it comes to serving food safely there are some additional simple steps you can take to help you keep germs at bay. For example, don’t let your fingers touch the surfaces of of dishes or utensils that come into contact with mouths or food. Here are some examples and tips to help you build your healthy habits and serve food safely during COVID-19 and beyond.

  1. Don’t put your thumb on top of a plate to hold it.
    Hold plates underneath with your thumb on the rim.
  2. Don’t touch the inside or lip of a cup.
    Use the cup handle instead
  3. Don’t let others touch the lid of your beverage container that comes in contact with your mouth!
    Ask the cup to be handed to you and place the lid on yourself.
    If others bring you a lidded cup consider removing it before you drink it.
    Pour canned or bottled beverages into a clean cup instead of bringing the can or bottle to your lips.
  4. Keep your hands off  the bowl of a spoon or prongs of a fork.
    Grip utensils by the handle and don’t let handles touch the food.
  5. Don’t share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils.
    Wash your dishes well in hot soapy water after each use.

Keep well and remember it is important to get information from credible, trustworthy sources during this time. Dietitians are regulated health professionals committed to providing evidence-based advice and information that is tailored to your personal needs and challenges. For the latest and most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit Health Canada at www.canada.ca/coronavirus

Top 10 food & nutrition trends for 2020

Image: Canva

Are you looking to keep up with food, beverage and nutrition trends? As dietitians we love helping people unlock the power of food for health and wellness. Our team is on top of food and nutrition movements and we know how to translate the latest science on key trends. Here we share some highlights that are of interest to many of our clients.

  1. Fragmented food communities
    Consumers are splitting into ‘tribes’ to meet their health goals based on philosophies and preferences. Wellness communities are emerging that bring people closer together.
  2. Food as medicine
    What’s a fact what’s a myth? Celebrity opinions, friends/family, blogs and social media influence food choices but there are risks! Personal beliefs and opinions may be confused with scientific evidence and hold people back from achieving their health goals. To unlock the power of food for health, look for credible science based facts from registered health experts.
  3. Fat has rehabilitated
    What are healthy fats and how are they good for you? Discover fat quality for health and culinary arts.
  4. Protein sources are pivoting
    Plant forward proteins are all the rage, but do you know how to get enough? What’s happening to meat, dairy and alternatives?
  5. Carbohydrates are under the microscope
    Are all sugars created equal? Discover the dietitians’ Carb quality meter for best bets.
  6. Vitamins, Minerals and phytochemicals have important health impact
    Vitamins and Minerals are powerful partners in health & wellness. Which are of key public health significance? Determine the latest science behind other food compounds such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
  7. Shifting focus to food relationships & mental health
    Healthy eating is about so much more than food – how people eat is important too. Look for mindful eating, enjoying food and the power of planning to eat well and live well.
  8. Digestive comfort
    Get to know your microbiome & how to be a good host to your friendly gut bacteria.
  9. Taking care of our planet
    Sustainability and waste reduction are here to stay. What can you do to make a positive difference?
  10. Taking care of people – health and wellness as a business strategy
    The future is bright for integrating health science and wellness into workplaces. From recruiting to retention and employee assistance programs (EAP) dietitians help people and businesses unlock the power of food for healthy living.

Do you want to leverage food and nutrition trends for yourself and your business?
Studies show the strength and benefit of interprofessional, collaborative teams in business and education. Dietitians can enable a culture of change that supports healthy living for all Canadians. We translate the science, look beyond the fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable, life changing advice. Contact us with your questions! We’d love to hear from you.

Join us for the 13th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 28, 2020.
Get our expert nutrition insights, trends & sparks!

Register at www.NutritionForNonNutritionists.com

n4nn in action – everywhere!

Did you know as dietitians we’re collaborating, driving innovation and informing Canadians? Our influence runs deep and it continues to grow! See below examples of how we unlock food’s potential and support healthy living for all Canadians.

CTV Your Morning – As a regular dietitian expert featured on national TV, Sue shares timely and trendy nutrition info. Watch Sue’s national CTV interview – “5 Nutrients You Might Not Know You Needed.”


Dietitian and n4nn Co-Founder Sue Mah chats with national TV host Lindsey Deluce on Your Morning

Restaurants Canada (RC) Show 2020 – March 1-3
Lucia is honoured to be a speaker on March 3rd for an expert panel presentation called Food is Medicine: Capitalizing on the Health Food Movements. Come and learn about the power of food for health and wellness – foodservice edition! n4nn is pleased to offer you 50% off the show pass registration fee. Use promo code WeilerNutrition when you register for the RC Show. Can’t make it? No worries. Reach out to us for our tips and sparks to boost your healthy menu development.

WFIM – 1st International Women’s Day Summit – March 5

We’re thrilled to be speakers at this inaugural event to empower others to be their best inside and out. As food and nutrition experts, we’ll share proven healthy and mindful eating tips. Congratulations to WFIM (Women in Food Industry Management) for organizing this sold out event! If you didn’t get a ticket for this event, contact us to bring this engaging presentation to your team.

Food as Medicine Update 2019: Hot Topics in Nutrition Through the Lifespan

We were delighted to attend the 2019 Food as Medicine Update: Hot topics in nutrition through the lifespan, hosted by the University of Toronto and St. Michael’s Hospital on November 15, 2019. This third annual full day symposium for healthcare professionals addressed emerging issues in food and nutrition science that impact chronic disease prevention. Participants considered the role of nutrients, dietary patterns and identified best practices and nutrition policies to promote health. Below we offer a few highlights from some of the speakers.

A special feature of the symposium was the keynote address by Harvard professor Dr. Walter Willett, MD, DrPH on diet and health across the lifespan. Dr. Willett also received an award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to scientific research and education. It was our honour to connect with Dr. Willett and Dr. David Jenkins who is a pioneer of nutrition science research from the University of Toronto.

Image: Lucia and Sue shared good conversations about hot topics with Dr. David Jenkins and Dr Walter Willett at Food as Medicine Update 2019.

“Diet and Health Across the Lifespan” – Dr. Walter Willett

“We are on a path leading to ecological disasters and a sick and unstable global population,” says Willett. The good news is that healthy and sustainable diet is possible by changing the way we eat, improving food production and reducing food waste. Willett highlighted the Eat-Lancet commission’s report which emphasizes the critical role diets play in linking human health and environmental sustainability. Integrating the health of people and the planet through food systems is modeled through the ‘planetary health plate’.

Planetary Health Plate (Image source: Harvard.edu)

Key learnings:

  • People are increasingly concerned about personal well-being and the viability of our planet
  • Eating more plants is better for health & more sustainable for the planet

“What is New with Canada’s Food Guide” – Dr. Alfred Aziz

Dr. Aziz highlighted the new food guide and the impact on public health. The food guide plate has shifted to half vegetables and fruit, one quarter protein and one quarter whole grains. The advice to Canadians is to eat in a pattern promoted by the food guide to promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. The new food guide is an online suite of evidence based resources for both health professionals and consumers. Canadians have access to food guide snapshots, videos, recipes and actionable advice.

Key learnings:

  • Explore Canada’s food guide online. https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/
  • Subscribe to Health Canada’s monthly newsletter to get the latest healthy eating updates.
  • Stay connected on social media for tips you can use. Follow updates on Instagram – @healthycdns, Facebook – Healthy Canadians , Twitter – @govCanHealth.

N4NN TIP: Dietitians tailor the general recommendations of the food guide to suit individual preferences and dietary needs. Seek answers to your food questions from a registered dietitian, the most credible and trusted nutrition professionals.

Image: Lucia and Sue discuss Canada’s New Food Guide with Dr. Alfred Aziz at Food as Medicine Update 2019.

“Sugars and Health: What is the Right Direction for Public Policy?” – Dr. Vasanti Malik

Dr Malik unpacked significant research about the role of sugar sweetened beverages on weight gain and cardiovascular health. This work has influenced dietary guidelines and policies specifically in reducing sugars.

Key learnings:

  • Source of sugars in the diet matters. Consider the different nutritional impact & rate of absorption between sugar sweetened beverages vs juice vs whole fruit.
  • Be mindful of added sugars and sugar sweetened beverages as part of the strategy to improve overall diet quality.

“Update on Pediatric Obesity Management” – Dr. Katherine Morrison.

Dr Morrison shared evidence based practices from the Children’s Exercise and Nutrition Centre at McMaster University. The presentation helped the audience better understand the tools and language used to support children or youth and their families who face challenges with energy balance which result in health problems.

Key Learnings:

  • Discover root causes of obesity.
  • Come from a place of sensitivity and care.
  • Translate the science into small changes that families can build on and maintain over time. These approaches can lead to health improvements.

“Low Carb versus High Fat: What Does the Evidence Say?” – Dr. John Sievenpiper

After 40 years of ‘low-fat’ dietary advice now carbohydrates are under attack. The ‘Low fat’ paradigm was revisited with a reminder that low fat food does not necessarily mean its low calorie food! Much of the diet policy debate focuses on the importance of reducing sodium, sugars and fat but research about the burden of disease shows that low intake of whole grains may be a higher risk factor for poor health. The paradigm shift may be moving from ‘nutrient based’ (example low fat, low salt etc.) approaches to ‘food and dietary pattern’ based recommendations.

Key Learnings:

  • Promote increased uptake of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts and seeds as these foods may have a positive effect on health.
  • Provide counselling on a dietary pattern with the most choice that best fits with the individual’s / client’s values, preferences, and treatment goals.
  • Remind clients that adherence is one of the most important determinants for attaining the benefits of any diet.

“Food for Thought: Nutrition, Cognitive Health and the Aging Brain” – Dr. Aileen Burford-Mason

Vegetables, fruit and whole grains are ‘smart carbs’ because they don’t send insulin levels soaring. Phytochemicals found in vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices and can act as antioxidants and are important compounds that support optimal health. Absorption of phytochemicals may be higher if eaten with some fat (e.g. full fat rather than reduced- fat salad dressing). Micronutrient deficiencies play a role in poor brain health. Two common deficiencies may influence cognition – magnesium and vitamin D.
Meals with quickly digested proteins and low in sugars/starch support dopamine neurotransmitter synthesis. This is significant because dopamine plays a big role in brain function for mood, focus, concentration, fine motor skills, word recall and articulation.

Key learnings:

  • Cognition may be enhanced through diet.
  • For optimal brain function during the day. eat 25-35 grams protein at each meal.
  • To keep a steady input of glucose to the brain, swap out starchy carbs for phytochemical rich vegetables and fruit.
  • Consider the benefits of extra micro-nutrient co-factors (such as Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Magnesium and B Vitamins.)

“The Microbiome Questions You’d Like Answered for Patient Issues Across the Lifespan” – Dr. Gregor Reid

Much has been written in recent years about the gut-brain axis. Exciting pilot studies suggest probiotic applications to the gut can reduce anxiety and depression via the vagus nerve. Definition of probiotics is based on tested products from microbiome research. Identifying new strains that provide benefits will change future approaches to health management. Applications may emerge for cardiovascular, urogenital, respiratory, brain, digestive and skin health as well as possible impact across the world’s ecosystems.

Key Learnings:

  • Probiotics are defined as microorganisms proven to produce health benefits.
  • Probiotic therapy is evolving with applications for people’s health and the ecosystem.

“Weeding Through the Evidence: Marijuana and Breastfeeding” – Dr. Rebecca Hoban

Dr. Hoban summarized the science about the use of cannabis during lactation, including the epidemiology and pharmacology of cannabis during lactation and resultant infant exposure. She discussed available evidence of short and long term consequences in infants exposed during breastfeeding and suggested potential recommendations for healthcare providers and families.

Key Learnings:

  • The cannabis conversation is real and important with patients.
  • Cannabis compounds do get into breastmilk and there is limited research on the effect on babies.
  • Breastfeeding moms should be recommended to limit or cease their use of cannabis.

Five healthy eating tips while travelling

Lucia Weiler, RD, PHEc.

When you travel for work or pleasure do you find it tricky to stick to a healthy eating plan? You’re not alone! Most people find it harder to keep up their smart lifestyle choices when away from home. However there are benefits to maintaining a healthy lifestyle while travelling and a healthy diet can help keep up your energy, reduce stress and enjoy your time while travelling for work or pleasure.

We were thrilled to present our N4NN Workplace Wellness workshop to executives who really wanted to energize their meeting. Are you travelling for business or pleasure? Check out our Travel Tip Sheet for five dietitians’ tips on how to find good food that will help you stick to a healthy eating plan while away from home.

Travel Tip Sheet

Five ways to help you stick to a healthy eating plan while away from home:

  1. Carry on & carry out
    Pack some healthy foods, high protein snacks in your bags. Fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, or a granola mix are handy snacks to carry on board especially if you are travelling within Canada. When you arrive at your destination, if you can, go to a food market or grocery store to pick up portable traveler friendly foods to carry out to your hotel room. Some examples are nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies, and whole grain crackers. If you have a fridge in your room, yogurt, cheese hard cooked eggs and hummus are healthy options to keep on hand.
  2. Drink water
    Stay well hydrated and don’t drink your calories. Drink water regularly, which is a calorie free way to quench your thirst. Limit sugary drinks, energy drinks, syrup flavoured hot or cold beverages and alcohol. Calories from these types of drinks can add up quickly and undermine your healthy eating goals.
  3. Scope out foodservice options
    If you travel for work you may return to the same city regularly. Find a few places you can count on for healthy options and plan your meals there. Check menus online to find your healthy go-to preferences where you travel. In most chain restaurants, calories are listed on the menu which can be helpful to compare meals. Remember it’s not just the total number of calories that count but the quality of the calories matter too. Look for foods with less saturated fat, less sodium and less added sugars.
  4. Order mindfully
    When eating at a restaurant keep these tips in mind: double up on veggies, avoid deep fried foods and watch portion sizes (keep them small or ask for half portions). Always order sauces on the side so you can decide how much to add. If you’re watching your calories, skip the appetizers and dessert.
  5. ENJOY your food choices!
    HOW you eat is just as important as WHAT you eat so look for ways to enjoy your food. Improving your eating habits takes time and it can be especially challenging while travelling. Find a few tips that work for you and then build on them as you journey toward making healthier choices while travelling.

Want more tips and insights on building healthier people? We translate the science of nutrition and offer life-changing advice for healthy living. Contact us for more information.

Kids are Back to School…and Eating Better

\Young child washing veggies in the sink

Image source: Bigstock

With back to school, it’s time to get those lunch bags busy again. A recent study published in the Public Health Nutrition journal found that school kids are eating better than they did 15 years ago. But there’s still room for improvement.

The study, led by researchers at University of British Columbia, compared the diets of about 7,000 kids aged 6 to 17 between 2004 and 2015. The nutritional value of the foods were judged using the Canadian Healthy Eating Index, which considers 11 dietary components such as total vegetables and fruit, whole fruit, whole grain products, saturated fat and sodium.

Overall, there was a 13% improvement in the foods that kids were eating during the school day. Specifically, school kids were eating more vegetables and fruit, as well as eating fewer calories from “minimally nutritious foods” including sugary drinks and salty prepackaged choices.

That’s the good news, but we can do better. Kids still aren’t eating enough dark green and orange vegetables (important for folate and vitamin A) – think spinach, kale, broccoli, carrots and sweet potato. Kids are also falling short on whole fruit and whole grains.

Here’s what you can do:

• Get kids involved in the food experience.
Ask them to wash veggies, chop ingredients and help with the cooking. Bonus – kids are more likely to eat the meals that they’ve made.
Set them up for success. Make lunches together. Include a variety of fruit, veggies and whole grains. Keep portions manageable for your child’s appetite.
Be a great role model. Monkey see, monkey do. When you eat broccoli, there’s a better chance that junior will too.
• Advocate for healthy eating.
Canada is the only G7 country without a national school food program. With the upcoming federal election, let’s put this on the agenda to nourish our future generations.

Written by Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc, FDC – Registered Dietitian & Co-Founder Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists

Healthful Reset for Fall

Image Source: Bigstock

Are you looking for great tips to kick-start fall? Many of our clients are looking to squeeze in some professional development before year end and at the same time reset personal health routines. As dietitians – the food and nutrition experts – we can help!

People are spending eight hours a day – and probably more – at work, let’s make them count for health and wellness! Also, travelling can do a number on even the most conscientious eaters. Many Canadians are surprised to hear that eating well on the job could improve their concentration and productivity. Other benefits of workplace wellness programs include better employee morale, reduced absenteeism and turnover and enhanced recruiting.

Here are five tips to spark your healthful reset at work and at home.

  1. Keep it real
    Set realistic expectations without black and white thinking. Consider why you are making healthy choices. List the reasons and keep it handy as a reminder to help you stay on track.
  2. Have a plan
    There is no perfect way to eat well that works for everyone. Find a healthful way to change your food journey one small step at a time. For a list of ideas that fit your goals check out credible tips from registered dietitians.
  3. Keep unhealthy foods out of your home
    If you don’t buy it you’re less likely to eat it. Stick to buying wholesome foods and put food away when you’re finished eating. Remember, drinking water is the best way to stay well hydrated.
  4. Pack & carry to eat on the go
    When you’re on the go at school or at work it can be hard to stick to a healthy eating plan. Pack some healthy foods at home and carry them with you to eat later. If you eat out, check the foodservice options in advance for healthy choices.
  5. Practice mindful eating
    Enjoy the food you’re eating and appreciate all that has gone into getting it from the farm to your table. Mindful eating helps build a healthy relationship with food.

Improving your eating habits takes time and it’s not easy. However, finding a few strategies that work for you in the long run will be your best bet for health and wellness. Are you ready to embrace healthy eating? As dietitians we translate the science of nutrition and offer life- changing advice for healthy living. Contact us for more information – we can help make it a little easier for you to choose, eat and enjoy healthy food.

Introducing the NEW Canada’s Food Guide!

Today, Federal Minister of Health, Ginette Petitapas Taylor launched the new Canada’s Food Guide. The new Food Guide takes a modern approach to communicating guidance to consumers, health professionals and policy makers. This first suite of resources includes a document Canada’s Dietary Guidelines for Health Professionals and Policy Makers, as well as a Food Guide Snapshot.

Here’s just a sampling of what’s new in the Food Guide:

1. Positive key messages for Canadians in a modern format. Key messages are: Eat well. Live well. Eat a variety of healthy foods each day. The new Food Guide delivers healthy eating information in a mobile-friendly web application.

2. Beyond food. Healthy eating is more than the foods you eat. The new Food Guide offers advice on what to eat, what not to eat, and how to eat. Tips include cooking more often, eating meals with others, being mindful of your eating habits, enjoying your food, limiting foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat, using food labels, and being aware of food marketing.

3. Food groupings instead of food groups. Bye bye rainbow and the four food groups. A healthy meal is comprised of a variety of foods from three key food groupings: vegetables and fruits; whole grains; and protein foods. These foods should be consumed regularly.

4. Proportions not portions. There are no recommended servings to eat or serving sizes of food. A plate snapshot of the Food Guide gives at-a-glance information on what to eat. In the plate snapshot, 1/2 the plate is filled with vegetables and fruits; ¼ of the plate is comprised of whole grain foods; and ¼ of the plate is made up of protein foods.

5. Water is the beverage of choice. To help Canadians stay hydrated without adding calories to the diet, water is recommended. Alcoholic beverages are also flagged as potentially adding calories with little to no nutritive value.

The suite of online resources replaces the old “all-in-one” version of the previous Food Guides. Additional consumer resources are expected to be released later this year.

Want to discover more about how to make the Food Guide work for you and your business?

Save the date for our upcoming webinar on The New Canada’s Food Guide – Tuesday, April 16th, 1-2 pm ET. We’ll share:
• The science and rationale behind Canada’s Food Guide
• A closer look at the recommendations and considerations
• How to apply Canada’s Food Guide to your business plans

Can’t wait? Contact us now for an in-house presentation / workshop.

Written by: Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc and Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc
– Co-Founders of Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists

The new Canada’s Food Guide is coming soon – Here’s what you can expect

There’s been quite a buzz lately about the new Canada’s Food Guide, which should be released soon this year!

Our Co-Founder, Sue Mah recently shared her expert insights and answered consumer questions on CBC Morning Live national news. Check out her two interviews to get the full scoop!

Watch Interview Part 1

Watch Interview Part 2

Here are just a few expected highlights of the new Canada’s Food Guide:

  • Recommendations on HOW to eat, not just what to eat or what not to eat.
  • Recommendations to limit the 3 “S” – sugars, saturated fat and sodium.
  • A focus on plant-based foods such as whole grains, vegetables and fruit.
  • A new “protein” group which includes a variety of protein-rich foods such as beans, nuts, seeds, soy products, tofu, eggs, fish / seafood, poultry, lean red meats, lower fat milk and yogurt, and cheeses lower in sodium and fat.
  • Consideration of other factors that affect our food choices such as food accessibility, food affordability and cultural diversity.

What does this mean for your business? Let dietitians translate the science of nutrition for your team! Book us now for an in-house presentation on the new Food Guide and how it will impact your business.

Written by: Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc, and Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc
– Co-Founders of Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists, nutrition experts and trailblazing dietitians who love food!

Healthy Diets & Weight – Highlights from the Canadian Nutrition Society Conference

Highway Signpost Image with Health related wording

With the start of the new year, there’s always a buzz about diets and weight.
But what is really fact and what’s fiction? At the annual thematic conference of the Canadian Nutrition Society, researchers, physicians and dietitians shared their perspectives to deepen our understanding of this complex topic. Here is just a snapshot of our top takeaways from the event.

Links Between Mental Health and Obesity: from Biology to Behaviour
– Valerie Taylor, MD, PhD, FPCP, Professor & Chair of Department of Psychiatry, University of Calgary

  • Mental illness such as bipolar and depression is linked with a 25-45% higher chance of obesity.
  • Late night sleeping leads to short sleep duration, which is associated with obesity. Reducing sleep by 2 hours lowers the levels of leptin (the hormone which makes us feel full). At the same time, levels of ghrelin increase (the hormone which makes us feel hungry).
  • Sleep loss is a new risk factor for insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Diets and Body Weight Management: Trying to Make Sense of it All
– Eric Doucet, PhD, Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa

  • Calories still count in weight loss. Either you manipulate the macronutrients or restrict the caloric intake.
  • It’s very challenging to keep the weight off. Very often, most if not more of the weight lost is gained back over time.
  • Doucet’s research found that for every kg of weight loss, a person’s appetite increased by 100 calories per day.

Weight Loss and Client Centred Care: Perspectives in Nutrition Counselling
– Andrea Miller, MHSc, RD, Consulting Dietitian

  • When it comes to weight loss, most people are looking for a simple solution to a very complex problem.
  • Practice nutrition counselling without blame or judgement. Even dieting can sometimes improve a person’s nutrition and mindful eating behaviours.
  • Understand and listen to your client’s story about their weight and their relationship with food.

Turning the Tide with Health at Every Size – Time for Change
– Maria Ricupero, RD, Certified Diabetes Educator, Toronto General Hospital

  • Weight stigma includes: negative weight-related attitudes/beliefs/ assumptions/attitudes; unequal/unfair treatment of people due to their weight; social stereotypes and misconceptions about obesity.
  • Health at Every Size (HAES) is about: weight inclusivity, size acceptance, self-acceptance, body respect, well-being and healthy day-to-day behaviours whether weight changes or not.
  • Change the culture around weight rather than change our bodies. There can be health benefits without weight loss.

Kids on Diets: How the Culture of Fad Diets Influences Parental Feeding and Children’s Eating Behaviours
– Jess Haines, PhD, MHSc, RD, Associate Professor of Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph

  • Parents feel stigma when they have a child with overweight or obesity. 75% of these parents say that other family members make comments to them about their child’s weight. And 89% of these parents report negative feelings about themselves such as “I feel less of a mom.”
  • Focus on healthy behaviours for kids, not their weight as an outcome.
  • Healthy habits for kids include: Eat more meals together as a family, with the TV off; Set a bedtime routine aiming for 11 hours of sleep; Remove the TV from the room where your child sleeps; Limit TV time to less than 2 hours per day.

Written by: Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc, and Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc
– Co-Founders of Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists, nutrition experts and trailblazing dietitians who love food!

Questions, Comments? Contact Us

5 Learnings from the Food and Nutrition Forum, Royal Winter Fair

Do you love food and care about how it’s grown, handled and brought to market? We do! As part of staying on top of emerging trends and new research we joined experts in food and nutrition to engage in conversation at the Royal Winter Fair Food and Nutrition Forum.  As a Registered Dietitian, Lucia was invited to welcome delegates to a day of learning, getting ‘agricultured’ and celebrating the power of farming, food and nutrition.  Inspiring speakers included professors, farmers, authors, dietitians and home economists. Working hand in hand, our passion for wellness and good food united us all!

Here are 5 top learnings from the sessions:

  1. Farmers feed Cities
    An amazing panel of 3 women farmers shared about their lives and the challenges they face in working on their farms of grain, eggs & beef. Taking care of their land and livestock is a passion and a profession. Their stories showed how deeply they care about the work they do, and how much environmental stewardship matters to each of them.  Thank you Jenn Doleman, Tonya Havercamp and Sandra Vos for being the farmers who feed cities!
  2. Taking care of the planet
    Biodiversity & food production are deeply connected. Dr. Christian Artuso studies grassland birds and found that an important way to preserve their biodiversity is linked to cattle farming. His Grassland Bird studies are part of an award winning conservation movement in South America.
  3. Teach Food and Nutrition to Students
    Food and nutrition know-how are life skills with significant short and long term benefits. Although healthy lifestyle is a trend, it’s evident that many of today’s young Canadians lack even the most basic food preparation skills. Let’s give kids the best chance possible to nourish their bodies. An important consideration is expanding high school curriculum to include some mandatory food education. The Ontario Home Economics Association (OHEA) calls on the Government of Ontario to make at least one food & nutrition course compulsory. To support this petition or for more information visit www.food-literacy.ca
  4. Translating the science – how to spot the fake news and alternative food facts.
    Bestselling Author, Dr Joe Schwarcz shared stories of science misuse. We were reminded that correlation is an easy sway for the scientifically challenged consumer and it does NOT mean cause and effect. His latest bookA Feast of Science is an entertaining read of fact vs fiction. To help you navigate through fake nutrition news reach out to your nearest Registered Dietitian, the experts who can translate the science of nutrition and help you unlock food’s potential to support healthy living.
  5. What’s next?
    Let’s keep the farm to table conversations going! The more we know about where our food comes from, how it’s grown and handled the more grounded we will be. We also love sharing credible insights and resources! Check out our blogs and writing at N4NN.ca and Contact us  about your questions on the power of food and its connection to health.

October 2018 is Workplace Wellness Month!

dietitian saves $99 2018      advice from RD's 2018

Did you know that Registered Dietitians are spearheading initiatives to improve the health of Canadians?  Research shows that every $1 invested in nutrition interventions can save the health care system up to $99 (Dietitians of Canada). We encourage you to increase access to dietitians in your workplace for better health, better care and better value. We can show you how!

productivityAsk a Dietitian about healthy habits that work

  • Keep up your energy to stay focused and meet your deadlines
  • Boost your concentration and productivity
  • Protect yourself from chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and even dental disease. 

Your Workplace Wellness Programs (WWP) are critical to help ensure employees have access to health promotion support that’s tailored to your work environments. RDs [Registered Dietitians] are an important source of credible, evidence based nutrition information that promotes health and wellness and the prevention and management of disease. Does your workplace wellness include this valuable healthcare practitioner? RDs are well governed and held accountable to the highest standards in their practice to translate the science of nutrition and deliver reliable, life changing advice.

Workplace wellness and nutrition programs are an investment in your employees’ health and well-being! Advice from RDs can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by 80%, diabetes by 60% and cancer by 40%. Work with us as your RDs to help you unlock the power of food and shape your healthy eating habits. We can help you build a workplace nutrition program and offer engaging, interactive seminars that will leave a lasting impression and inspire you towards your best health!

Contact us to get started! Book us for your next team meeting or wellness event and save 20%.
Promo Code: N4NN Workplace Wellness info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com

How to Build a Healthy Sandwich

You are the builder of your healthy sandwich. The promises of a nutritious sandwich starts by choosing the right bread and fillings. Begin with a base of whole grain bread. Add a healthy source of protein (but not too much of it), loads of crunchy vegetables or fruit and a savoury sauce that’s filled with zip but not sodium. From top to bottom, here are our tips for making your healthy sandwich.

Bread

  • Switch out white bread for a more nutritious whole grain option.
  • Look for bread that lists whole grain as the first ingredient and has at least two grams of fibre per slice.
  • Think beyond bread… Try bagels, buns, pita, tortillas or naan. All come in whole grain versions. Read ingredient lists to be sure and look for “whole grain” as the first words on the ingredient

Protein

Whether you stack your sandwich with meat, cheese, egg salad, it’s important to have a source of protein between the bread.  Below are a few ideas.

Meat

  • Offer a variety of lean meats e.g. roasted beef, pulled pork, grilled turkey or barbecued chicken.
  • Consider deli meats as a once in a while treat only. Read the ingredient list and choose ones that do not include “nitrites.” Use the Nutrition Facts panel to compare and choose deli meat with the lowest sodium and fat content.

Cheese

  • Look at the % Milk Fat (%M.F.) content. Buy reduced fat or lower fat cheeses with less than 20% M.F. To limit sodium, choose fresh instead of processed cheese.

Meat alternatives

  • When mashing egg, salmon or tuna, cut back on full-fat mayonnaise. Use light mayo or low–fat yogurt instead.
  • Try something new! Beans, nuts and seeds make nutritious sandwich fillings. Use edamame or lentils to stuff a pita. Blend chickpeas with garlic and tahini to create a chunky hummus. In addition to peanut butter, offer almond, hazelnut or cashew butter. If allergies are a concern, offer soy nut or sunflower seed butter.

Vegetable and Fruit Toppings

 Build the health value of your sandwich with lots of veggies and fruit. Include at least two veggies or fruit in every sandwich or as a side accompaniment to the sandwich. Vegetables and fruit provide essential vitamins, minerals, fibre, and are low in calories. Beyond lettuce and tomato, these toppings provide a unique twist:

  • Red pepper and cucumber rings
  • Shredded carrots or beets
  • Kale, arugula or baby spinach
  • Grilled zucchini, eggplant, pineapple or peaches
  • Fruit is great on sandwiches too – try mango salsa or sliced apples
  • Fresh herbs like basil, parsley and coriander add a burst of flavour.

Sandwich spreads

  • Skip butter and choose avocado or basil pesto. It is high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and adds rich flavour
  • Low fat mayonnaise, oil-based vinaigrettes and non-hydrogenated margarine also contain healthy fats. Be aware that with any of these options, the calories and fat add up quickly. Use only a little– no more than 1-2 teaspoons per sandwich.
  • Ketchup, salsa and mustard are lower calorie, fat-free options. However they may be high in sodium. Limit your serving size to 1-2 teaspoons per sandwich.
  • Try wasabi (Japanese mustard) or horseradish if you like it hot – they have less sodium than other spreads.

For more information and healthy sandwich recipes please contact us!

Reference: Unlock Food.ca – Expert Guidance, Everyday Eating by Dietitians of Canada (2017)