news & trends

Unlock the Potential of Food – here’s what food can do for YOU!

Instagram Post #4 - Fuel on Veggies

As dietitians, we are passionate about the potential of food and its connection to health! For March – Nutrition Month, and all year long, celebrate these benefits of delicious, wholesome, nourishing food.

Food can FUEL your body and mind. According to the Dietitians of Canada, almost half of Canadians say that eating a balanced diet is challenging for them because they are so busy, and nearly 30% turn to snacks to stay fuelled. The right food choices will not only energize you but also maximize your creativity and productivity! For a healthy snack, we love combining produce with protein – try egg and avocado toast, peanut butter on apple slices, or tuna with veggie sticks. Contact us at info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com and we’ll work with you to create wellness foodservice menus or to build a positive nutrition workplace environment.

Food can help kids DISCOVER healthy eating. Did you know that 38% of parents rarely or never let their child prepare a meal or snack? Let’s get kids in the kitchen! Kids are more likely to eat what they’ve made, so take the opportunity to help kids discover and be adventurous with food. Find a recipe that you can make together. Try new foods and flavours. Shop for groceries together too.

Food can PREVENT health problems. Healthy eating, being active and living smoke-free together can prevent about 80% of premature stroke and heart disease. There are many different “diets” or “eating patterns” such as the Mediterranean Diet, the DASH diet and the MIND diet. Find out more about these diets at our 11th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 18th. We look beyond the fad diets and gimmicks to deliver reliable, life-changing advice.

Food can HEAL. Dietitians believe in and understand the potential of food to help you heal and feel your best. Work with a dietitian to heal during illness and enhance your health. As the trusted food and nutrition experts, dietitians can help you: manage your blood sugar levels, lower your blood pressure, lower your blood cholesterol, manage the side effects of cancer care treatments, navigate a gluten-free diet, reach / maintain a healthy weight, and stay nourished when eating/swallowing is a challenge.

Food can BRING US TOGETHER. Eating together has benefits for everyone! Children who eat with their families tend to eat more veggies and fruit, consume fewer less sugar-sweetened drinks, have better academic performance, are at a lower risk for being overweight and have a lower chance of developing eating disorders. Teens who eat with their families get better grades and are less likely to smoke, use drugs or alcohol, or engage in serious fights. Adults who eat with friends and family eat more vegetables and fruit, drink less pop and have a healthier weight. Older adults who eat as part of a group setting have better overall nutrient intakes and lower rates of malnutrition. Whether it’s breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, snack or yes, even dessert – take time to sit down and enjoy food in the company of others!

Unlock the power of protein to keep your muscles strong

protein power pic 2 2018-02-05_11-43-04

When & how much protein we eat are KEY factors in maintaining and building strong muscles. Experts presented the latest research on the power of protein at the Candian Nutrition Society’s 2018 conference in Toronto. We were there and in this posting we translate the science to help support your health and muscle building whether it’s for daily living or sports performance. Read on for our out top tips and best sources of protein to help you build stronger muscles!

WHEN: 

Spread out your protein intake evenly over three to four meals a day. To maximize your muscle strength, include protein rich foods at every meal. The biggest challenge for most Canadians is meeting their protein intake at breakfast so look for ways to pump up the protein in your morning meal. Athletes, remember get some protein into your body just before bedtime to ensure these muscle building nutrients are on board while you sleep!

HOW MUCH:

As dietitians, we love food and are passionate about its power. Protein intake recommendations for most people are to aim for 20-30 grams of protein at every meal.  Athletes Note: A meal containing about 0.3 g protein/kg body mass,  eaten every 3 hours supports the greatest post-exercise muscle synthesis  after resistance exercise! A bedtime protein intake is also recommended for athletes so muscle building proteins are on board while you sleep!

Check out some examples of protein in foods and choose foods from the table below to help increase protein in your diet. Have questions about protein intake? Leave a comment or contact us!

protein booster foods 2018-02-05_12-05-18

2018 Food & Nutrition Trends

Trends 2018

Here’s a selection of trends predicted by food and nutrition experts around the world! We’ll share many more exciting new and influential trends at our 11th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 18th. Join us to help your business leverage the insights on nutrition trends that will shape the future of eating.

1. Fermented Foods. In a recent survey of 2,500 dietitians fermented foods are predicted to be one of the top trends for 2018. A source of the good, probiotic bacteria, fermented foods include yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, miso and natto. (Today’s Dietitian)

2. New and Improved Canada’s Food Guide.
It’s been a decade since the last national food guide. With the much anticipated launch of the new Food Guide this year, we can expect to see messaging around not just what to eat, but also how to eat. (Dietitians Sue Mah & Lucia Weiler)

3. Hello Leftovers, Goodbye Food Waste. Canadians will continue to think about how their food choices can reduce food waste. Consumer strategies include a revival in the use of leftovers, right-size portioning and GIY (Grow It Yourself). (Loblaw Food Council)

4. Mindful Choices. Today’s consumers are thoughtful, mindful and conscious about making responsible food choices. They want to understand what is in their food and how it was produced in order to make informed decisions for their health, sustainability and ethical issues. (Innova Market Insights)

5. Rising Food Prices. The price of vegetables and the price of food purchased at restaurants will each rise 4-6% this year. Climate patterns are driving vegetable prices up. The average family of four in Canada will pay $348 more this year on food to a total of $11,948, and 59% of that budget will be spent on dining out. (Canada’s Food Price Report 2018)

6. Micro-markets for Food. As consumers are learning more about food, they are looking for more specialized, individualized choices that align with their personal values whether it be nutritional profile (fat, sugar, sodium, calories), location of production or antibiotic use. This is driving the development of micro-markets for specialized products. (Food Focus 2018)

7. Technofoodology. By the year 2020, there will be 24 billion internet-connected devices installed globally – that’s about 3 devices for every human on earth! This IoT (Internet of Things) revolution is changing the way we purchase, receive and interact with our food. There will be continued expansion of resources including Alexa, Google Home, “click and collect” online grocery shopping, as well as delivery of restaurant meals and meal kits. (Business Insider, Supermarket Guru)

8. Food Blockchain Revolution. Thanks to the Bitcoin, blockchain technology is taking off as a novel way for the agri-food business to record and disclose transactions in an open virtual space across the entire supply chain. From farmer to processor to packer to distributor to packaged goods maker to retailer to food service operator to exporter, blockchain technology brings a new level of transparency and information sharing. For example, in the event of a food safety recall, specific products can be traced easily and quickly. (Ketchum Food Forecast)

BONUS TREND:  Career & learning emerged as the second most important trend that enables business performance, up from fifth last year. As companies build the organization of the future, continuous learning is critical for business success. (Deloitte, 2017 Global Human Capital Trends) Our Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course testimonials confirm the empowering discoveries they made to help their business performance:
Solid one-day program. Highlighted the latest nutritional trends that are affecting everything from product innovation and marketing to government relations.
It was a great day and hugely useful. Really impressed with the amount of information packed into the day. 
This course was packed with truly relevant information, and right away I was able to apply some of my new knowledge here at the agency.

We hope that you’ll join us for an inspired day of learning at our 11th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course!

Sodium versus Potassium – What’s the Difference?

You asked from time dot com

This is a terrific question asked by participants at our recent N4NN 2017 course in Toronto. Did you know that the new Canadian Nutrition Facts Table now requires that BOTH sodium and potassium amounts be shown in a food? Discover the significance and impact of these important nutrients. Count on us as dietitians to share expert advice and science-based information.

Sodium is an essential mineral and electrolyte. Sodium is needed to maintain normal blood pressure, support your nerves and muscles, as well as regulate your body’s fluid balance.

In food, sodium acts to: enhance flavour, preserve freshness of food, increase shelf life of food, prevent food spoilage / bacterial growth, and allow bread to rise as well as cheese to ripen.

According to Statistics Canada, over 75% of the sodium we eat comes from processed foods such as deli meats, cheese, pizza, soups and sauces.

We do need some sodium for good health, however Canadians eat on average 3,400 mg of sodium a day – this is more than double the amount we need. Eating too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. The 100% Daily Value (% DV) for sodium is 2,300 mg (down from the previous 2,400 mg).

Potassium is also an essential mineral and electrolyte. Potassium is needed to maintain normal blood pressure, regulate your body’s fluid balance, support muscle contractions and nerve impulses, as well as maintain a regular heart rhythm.

In food, potassium chloride is used to: enhance flavour, increase shelf life of foods, prevent food spoilage / bacterial growth, control pH of foods as well as reduce the sodium content of foods.

Best sources of potassium are beans (e.g. white beans, adzuki beans), potatoes, sweet potatoes, leafy green vegetables, beets, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Potassium declaration on the Nutrition Facts Table is now mandatory with the new regulations, and the 100% Daily Value (% DV) has been upped to 4700 mg from 3500 mg.

Sodium-Potassium Relationship
Sodium is associated with an increased risk of high blood pressure. On the other hand, potassium acts as a vasodilator to lower the risk of high blood pressure. Health Canada has approved the following health claim, “A healthy diet containing foods high in potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure.”

*Image source: time.com

What’s HOT in chefs’ kitchens? Our Dietitians’ take of TOP Trends.

chef survey trends bRestaurants Canada’s 8th annual Canadian Chefs’ survey tells what’s trending now and what the up and comers are as well. Of the 20 chef trends mentioned in the research, here are our TOP 7 favourites  with insights from our food forward health conscious perspective.

  1. Locally sourced foods – eating what’s in season where you live is a terrific way to discover seasonal foods. Local is a perennial favourite of dietitians, chefs and consumers alike.
  2. Sustainable seafood – Eating at least two servings of fish each week is recommended as part of healthy eating for all Canadians. Producing safe, sustainable fish is important for the future of food.
  3. Ancient Grains – Canadians like to explore dishes that showcase authentic food from around the world.  Discover the heritage of ancient grains and try  authentic recipes using kamut, spelt, amaranth and freekeh.
  4. Simplicity / back to basics – Remember family style comfort food meant for sharing? We love the serve-yourself shared dining experience, be it eating out or at home. If you make it yourself  or in-house, you’ll add some authenticity that everyone will appreciate.
  5. Veggie centric cuisune. YAY! Veggies are ON TREND which we find very exciting. Aim to have HALF YOUR PLATE as vegetables. Let’s get creative on making veggies more centre-plate.
  6. Craft beers / microbrews – Alcohol in moderation continues to add enjoyment to meals. Remember to follow Canada’s LOW risk drinking guidelines.
  7. It’s Canada’s 150th Birthday – Let’s celebrate our Canadian food heritage!  Consumers are ready to embrace  this trend. What a great opportunity to boost variety beyond the obvious Canadian foods.

For more foodservice trends and consumer insights, join us at the 10th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 26, 2017, University of Toronto. Register at www.NutritionForNONNutritionists.com

What’s Your Food Personality?

Sue hosts - 2

Are your eating habits helping or hindering your New Year’s resolutions?

Watch / take Sue Mah’s Food Personality quiz to find out.


Question #1: I eat when I am…

a) Bored
b) Stressed / Upset
c) Hungry
d) All of the above

We’ve probably all had time when we’ve nibbled out of boredom or stress. But if you answered a) or b) or are constantly reaching for food when you’re upset, you may be an Emotional Eater.

Advice: Keep a food diary. In your diary, write down everything you eat and drink, the amounts, the time, and how you were feeling before you ate. Do you notice any patterns and eating triggers? Are you always bored or stressed before you eat? If so, find a healthy distraction away from food. Go for a walk, clean out your closet or give yourself a manicure (you can’t eat with wet nails, right?)


Question #2: I stop eating when…

a) All of the food is gone
b) My plate is clean
c) I’m not hungry anymore
d) I feel stuffed

If you answered a), b) or d), you may be a Mindless Muncher. You may be overriding you natural cues for fullness and satiety, which can lead to overeating and weight gain.

Advice: Eat until you’re 80% full. Even though you could probably take a few more bites of food, you’re comfortably satisfied and not hungry anymore. To avoid picking at food until it’s gone, pack up any leftovers quickly or put your napkin on your plate as a signal to yourself that you’re finished eating.

Question #3: On my kitchen counter, I’m most likely to have…
a) Packaged snacks such as cookies, chips and baked goods
b) Cereal
c) Candy or soft drinks
d) A bowl of fresh fruit

If you answered d), you’re on the right track to being a Mindful Eater. Research from Cornell University shows that women who kept comfort foods on their counters, such as cookies, chips, soft drinks (regular or diet) and cereal, weighed 4 to 5 lbs more than women who kept a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter. Men who put candy on the counter were 3 to 4 lbs heavier than men who kept a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter.

Advice: Keep only a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter. This helps to create a healthy kitchen environment. Make it easy to find the healthy choices.


Question #4: I tend to eat…

a) At my desk or while watching TV
b) In the car or on the go
c) Over the kitchen sink
d) Sitting down with family and friends

If you answered a), b) or c), you could be a Mindless Muncher. If you answered d), it’s a sign you may be a Mindful Eater. Distracted eating hits us with a double whammy! Research shows that when we’re visually distracted with TV or work or social media, we eat 10% more food at that particular meal, AND we eat about 25% more food at the next meal! When we’re distracted, we’re not building awareness or memories of the food that we’ve just eaten. So when it’s time for the next meal, we have no “food memories” of what we ate previously so we tend to overeat. On the other hand, when we’re eating with attention, we’re building food memories – what we’re eating, how much we’re eating, how the food tasted, how we felt full after the meal. These positive food memories actually lead us to eat about 10% less food at the next meal.

Advice: Enjoy your food and create wonderful food memories with friends and family!

References:

Slim by Design: Kitchen Counter Correlates of Obesity Wansink et al., Health Education & Behaviour, 2016; Vol.43(5):552–558.

Eating attentively: a systematic review and meta-analysis of the effect of food intake memory and awareness on eating Robinson et al., Am J Clin Nutr 2013;97:728–42.

Is Your Workplace a 4STAR Eating Environment?

Four star food environment
Four star food environment - stars

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 Trends for 2014

From protein and probiotics to tea and cooking, we’ve got the scoop on the top 10 hottest trends for 2014.

  1. Protein Power – New science is underscoring the beneficial effect of dietary protein on weight management and muscle health. For example, eating a high protein breakfast not only leads to increased feeling of fullness but also reduces evening snacking. Also, a protein source at each meal and snack helps to maintain energy and muscle strength especially after exercise and as we age. In light of this, current protein recommendations may be under review with respect to the amount and distribution of dietary protein, including considerations for meal based rather than specific daily recommendations.
  2. Anti-wheat Sentiment – Although scientific evidence is lacking for wheat – or gluten-elimination diets for weight loss or health (unless it is associated with a clinical disorder or disease) consumers will continue to seek this popular diet. According to an NDP survey 28% of adults claimed to be cutting down or avoiding gluten completely.
  3. Supermarket Savvy – Supermarket Dietitians are increasingly visible at grocery stores which is an exciting trend for consumers. Registered Dietitians are the food and nutrition experts who are uniquely positioned to assist Canadians to shop smarter, cook healthier, and make healthier food choices. Some experts predict that supermarkets could become a new form of the culinary centre. Many stores already offer cooking demos or “community cooking centers” that allow shoppers to come together and learn from one another.
  4. Back to Basics with Cooking – The 2014 Nutrition Month Campaign – Simply Cook and Enjoy! – is dedicated to serving up practical advice on cooking and food skills from dietitians, the food and nutrition experts. Health Canada’s Healthy Eating Awareness and Education Initiative for 2014 concentrates on Healthy Eating and Healthy weights by focusing on food skills, portion sizes and calories. Industry experts say that a deeper understanding of how Canadians prepare and consume meals helps manufacturers and retailers provide mealtime solutions in the kitchen.
  5. Pro Biotic Power & Fermented Foods – Studies suggest that probiotics (live bacteria in food) may help lessen diarrhea, improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Consumers may be interested in foods other than yogurt that contain probiotics such as fermented foods like kefir milk, sauerkraut and kimchi. Also watch for more news on the gut – brain connection.
  6. Sugar & Sugar Substitutes – Media and consumers are intent on added sugar as another food trend. An IFIC survey reported that 58% of Americans are trying to limit or avoid sugar. Helping consumers understand the role of naturally occurring sugar, added sugar and sugar substitutes is important so they can make informed food and nutrition choices.
  7. Local & Eco-conscious – Sustainable food systems, local and eco-friendly foods are important to many Canadians who believe that a sustainable eating pattern contributes to their own health as well as the health of the planet. Food researchers say roughly one-third of food produced for humans around the globe is lost or wasted each year – 1.3 billion tons of it. Increased awareness of this problem is expected in 2014 with home and restaurant food preparers attempting to reduce food waste. Look for ways to promote sustainability in the kitchen, understand the issues of organics, local food systems, food choices, and carbon footprint.
  8. Government & Industry Compliance – Canada’s regulatory landscape continues to evolve and as a result industry’s relationship with regulators is also changing. Health Canada recognizes that a safe food supply is a major contributing factor to the health of Canadians. Food industry is also committed to providing safe food and wants to make sure consumers are happy with their products and continue to purchase them. Maintaining healthy and happy consumers is a challenge government and industry must face by working together.
  9. Tea is Hot – Canadian Tea consumption is expected to rise by 40%. Flavoured teas are catching on too. Expect to hear more about the health benefits of tea flavonoids related to heart health, brain health and weight management. Furthermore, tea is not just for sipping anymore, this natural ingredient is making its way into rubs, broths and marinades.
  10. The Age of (Mis)information & Social Media – Consumers continue to have an appetite for food and nutrition information which will only grow in 2014. Bloggers will continue to write about nutrition and health, there will be more and better food photography – watch for it on Pintrest and Instagram. With the boom of social media and the interest in health and nutrition, Canadians will continue to need advice from food and nutrition experts like dietitians to cut through the clutter.