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Nutrition & Immunity Challenge – Covid19

Your immune system is always on guard against attacks on your body. Attacks could come in many forms including virus, bacteria or even cancer cells. If your immune system trips up, you could become more vulnerable and even ill. In terms of nutrition, there are many nutrients that are involved with the normal functioning of the immune system. The immune system is sophisticated ‘team’ with many ‘players’ involved. The best performance in defending your body happens when all ‘players are present’ and ready to do their job. That is why health experts recommend to promote your own immunity follow an overall healthy eating plan.

With Covid19 there seem to be a lot of questions about nutrition and immunity so here is a closer look at the basics.

  • No diet, supplement will cure or prevent disease. Good hygiene practice and physical distancing remain the best means of avoiding COVID19 infection.
  • Almost all nutrients help the immune system in one way or another; however some nutrient deficiencies may be more harmful to immunity than others. Malnutrition and deficient intakes of many vitamins and minerals are associated with lower disease resistance. Among the nutrients well recognized for their roles in building immunity are Protein, Zinc, Vitamins A, C and E. Below we profile these nutrients of interest that support general immunity but emphasize the bottom line:  Eat a variety of healthy foods each day in order to support immune function.

Protein:

Protein helps build and repair body tissues and forms antibodies. Antibodies are protective proteins produced by the immune system to fight foreign substances in the body.

Eat protein foods at each meal. Recommendations for most adults are to aim for 20-30 grams of protein at every meal. Examples of protein rich foods include fish, shellfish, poultry, lean meat, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), tofu (edamame), eggs, nuts, seeds, greek yogurt and cottage cheese.

Vitamins and Minerals:

All vitamins and minerals promote good health and many protect against infection and diseases. Research suggests that certain vitamins and minerals may have bigger roles in immune health. Examples include Zinc, Vitamins A, C, E. For most people, however, there is no good evidence that taking more of these nutrients than what you can get from a varied healthy diet will improve your immune system. For reference, here is some information about vitamins/minerals of interest for immune health.

    • Zinc:
      A wide variety of foods contain zinc. By far, oysters have more zinc per serving than any other food. More good sources of zinc are lean meats, fish or poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, cereals (fortified) and dairy products
    • Vitamin A:
      Vitamin A is naturally present in many foods and most people get enough Vitamin A from the foods they eat. The most active form is retinol, a fat soluble vitamin found in animal foods such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy products. Beta carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body is found in yellow, orange and dark green vegetables and fruits.
    • Vitamin C:
      Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid is found in fruits and vegetables. Among its many other roles, Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that helps protect cells against damage. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin C by eating a variety of foods including citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit). Red and green peppers and kiwifruit also have a lot of vitamin C as do other fruits and vegetables.
    • Vitamin E:
      Vitamin E is found in many foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant that helps protect the tissues from damage. Rich sources of Vitamin E include vegetable oils (wheat germ, sunflower, safflower), nuts (peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds), seeds (sunflower), fortified cereals.Watch our one minute VIDEO summary and tips on the immunity challenge here:

Sources:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2020 Health Information Facts
  • Health Canada (2019) Nutrient Function Claims
  • Duyff Academy of Food and Nutrition (2017) Complete Food & Nutrition Guide
  • Sizer et al (2017) Nutrition Concepts and Controversies

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:

Clean and sanitize your kitchen surfaces like a food safety pro during COVID-19

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by preventing the spread of germs. Although there are not many studies on COVID-19 specifically, scientists suggest that what we know works against other coronaviruses could work against this new strain too. Well known food safety cleaning and sanitizing practices can kill many different kids of harmful germs that cause disease.  Consider these expert tips for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces you use for food handling and preparation to reduce your risk of COVID-19 exposure.

3 Food safety rules to sanitize kitchen surfaces

  1. CLEAN: Remove dirt by washing down surfaces using warm soapy water & rinse with clean water.
  2. SANITIZE: This step reduces the harmful germs to safe levels on surfaces so illness is less likely to occur. Before preparing meals food safety pro’s make sure that counters, cutting boards and work surfaces are sanitized first. Chemicals approved as sanitizes for food-contact surfaces in food-service are chlorine, iodine and quaternary ammonium. Diluted chlorine bleach is a very effective sanitizer that is easy to make at home too. You can make your own sanitizing spray using 1 tsp (5 mL) bleach for every 3 cups (750 mL) of water. (Ministry of Health & LTC Ontario)  This sanitization method works for both plastic and wooden cutting board, taps, sinks and other surfaces. (Note: Bleach is NOT recommended for marble or stone countertops!)
  3. AIR DRY: Let surfaces air dry or dry with a clean disposable paper towel.

 

More tips on cleaning and sanitizing in the kitchen are available at this link: https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/foodnut/kitchen-sanitize.pdf

Dietitians’ tips to stay fueled and focused when working from home

 

desk with vase of flowers

 

The doorbell rings. The dog is barking. A load of laundry sits in the hallway. There can be a lot of distractions when working from home! Here are a few tips to help you stay fueled and focused.

Stick to a regular eating schedule. Get into a routine by eating your meals at the same times every day if possible. Routine gives us a little sense of control during these uncertain times. Plus, you’ll keep your energy levels steady to power through your work day. (Ditto the routine message for sleep and exercise.)

Cook extra for tomorrow’s lunch. Now that you and everyone else in your family are staying home, you’re likely eating all your meals at home too. No more lunch meetings or buying lunch at the food court. Plan to cook extra and portion them out so they’re ready to reheat for tomorrow’s lunch.

Snack on nourishing foods. During times of crisis, we all stress eat. Food can offer us both comfort and nourishment. Give yourself permission to enjoy ALL foods without guilt. If you’re finding that you’re frequently eating to deal with stress or emotions, reach out to a friend, family member or health professional for support.

Stay hydrated with water. By the time you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Keep your water bottle nearby. Other beverages like coffee, tea and milk count towards your fluid intake too.

Take a break. Stand up and stretch. Do some shoulder rolls. Go out for a walk. This helps minimize mindless munching at your desk. To reduce eye strain, follow the 20-20-20 rule – every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

Keep well, everyone!

 

Spot the Nutrition MYTHS & ask for the FACTS

Image: Bigtsock

Spring is in the air, a perfect time to take a fresh look at what’s hot and what’s not in food and nutrition. As speakers, teachers and consultants, we’re always connecting with professionals and nutrition students. We find there is a surprising increase in questions about myths and misleading nutrition advice. More and more people come forward with confusing nutrition information that hold them back from achieving their goals. According to a recent survey of dietitians the top sources of nutrition misinformation for consumers are celebrities, friends/family, blogs and social media. Don’t get trapped by myths – ask for science based facts from the experts.

Here are our top ten tips to help you spot misleading nutrition advice. Watch for these warning sings in the language used to provide you with information.

Top 10 tips to spot the Nutrition MYTHS:

  1. Quick fix promise
  2. Extreme warnings about a food or food group
  3. Sensational claims that sound too good to be true
  4. Personal beliefs /opinions presented as facts (Notice the use of language like “I believe” and don’t confuse someone’s confidence in their belief with credible scientific evidence.)
  5. Advice based on a single study or from a ‘study under way’ or observations
  6. Statements that are not supported by credible scientific associations (e.g., Dietitians of Canada, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Diabetes Canada, Health Canada)
  7. Lists of “good” and “bad” foods
  8. Testimonials endorsing the product, often from celebrities or highly satisfied customers
  9. Aims to sell food products or supplements
  10. Undermines a healthy, enjoyable relationship with food

BOTTOM LINE: If you’re looking for credible food facts check out blogs, social media tips and recipes written by registered dietitians. Dietitians are the most trusted credible food and nutrition experts who understand the science behind food and its connection to health. Contact us for help to translate the power of food for your team and business.

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.

Simple Ways to Boost Your Fibre

Dietitian Sue Mah talking to TV host about fibre

With the start of the new year, one way to eat better is by eating more fibre!

We need 25-38 grams of fibre every day, but most of us are only getting about half of that amount! There are generally 2 main types of fibre:

  • Soluble fibre – this is the type of fibre that can help lower blood cholesterol and control your blood sugar. It’s found in foods like apples, oranges, carrots, oats, barley, beans and lentils.
  • Insoluble fibre – this is the type of fibre that helps you stay regular. It’s found in fruits, veggies, whole grains and bran.

How can you get enough? As the in-house dietitian expert on Your Morning, our Co-Founder Sue Mah shared a few simple tips for boosting fibre at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Take a peek at the before and after meals below, and watch the TV interview here!

 

original breakfast plus breakfast with fibre boost

original lunch plus lunch with fibre boost

original dinner plus dinner with fibre boost

[Images: @YourMorning]

 

Healthy and Sustainable Eating: Leading the Shift – Event Highlights

Sue Mah with Dr. Fiona Yeudall and Dr. Cecilia Rocha

Sue Mah with Nutrition Connection Forum speakers Dr. Fiona Yeudall and Dr. Cecilia Rocha. Image source: Lucia Weiler

Hosted by Nutrition Connections, this year’s annual forum explored the shifts that will be required in eating habits and food choices in order to benefit the health of current and future generations as well as the health of the planet. Here’s our summary of a few of the presentations.

What is Sustainable Eating? – Dr. Cecilia Rocha

Dr. Rocha is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems, a Professor in the School of Nutrition and a researcher at the Centre for Studies in Food Security at Ryerson University.

Sustainable diets, defined by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations are: those diets with low environmental impacts which contribute to food and nutrition security and to healthy life for present and future generations. Sustainable diets are protective and respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems, culturally acceptable, accessible, economically fair and affordable; nutritionally adequate, safe and healthy; while optimizing natural and human resources.

Rocha reminded us of the 17 sustainable goals proposed by the United Nations, in particular, goal #12 which focuses on responsible consumption and production. Consumers have the potential to be agents of change through their healthy and ethical choices of what to eat. Through responsible consumption, ordinary people can effect change by carefully selecting the products they buy. However, price, convenience and brand familiarity are often the most important decision for most consumers, rather than fairness, sustainability and health.

In a world in which food is mostly a commodity, bought and sold through markets, how do we make the transition from unsustainable and unhealthy food systems to sustainable diets? Can consumers, through their choices of what food to buy, lead the way to that transformation? Rocha further posed this thought-provoking question: Is it realistic or reasonable to put this heroic task on the shoulders of consumers?

Rocha acknowledged that alternative food markets such as Community-Supported Agriculture (CDA), famers’ markets and fair-trade may offer consumers a more sustainable, healthy and ethical model of food production and consumption. Her opinion is that these alternative markets are still viewed as niche and alone, aren’t the answer. Rocha suggested that public policy is needed in at least three areas to facilitate responsible consumption:
– taxes and regulation (e.g. on sugar-sweetened beverages, use of chemicals, ultra-processed foods, and advertising)
– subsidies (e.g. for ecologically-friendly processes and alternative markets)
– information, education and nudging (e.g. food-based dietary guidelines).

 

How Do Our Eating Habits Compare to Canada’s Food Guide? – Dr. Rachel Prowse

Dr. Prowse, Applied Public Health Science Specialist at Public Health Ontario, compared the recommended proportions of food (by weight) in the new Canada’s Food Guide versus Ontario adults’ intakes from the 2015 Canadian Community Health Survey – Nutrition Public Use Microdata File. Research results are expected to be published next year, however preliminary findings show that we’re not eating according to the recommended proportions of the food guide. Dr. Prowse suggests that non whole grains and “Other foods” (such as cookies, cakes, pastries, ice cream and confectionary) may be displacing nutritious foods on our plates. A consumer shift towards eating a more plant-based diet may help to drive the production of sustainable food options.

 

A Deep Dive into Food Waste – Dr. Kate Parizeau

As an Associate Professor at the University of Guelph, Dr. Parizeau researches the social context of waste and its management. Parizeau shared some staggering statistics:
– Canada generates 12.6 million tonnes of organic waste per year
– Canada wastes $49.5 billion of food annually – enough to feed every person living in Canada for almost 5 months.

In collaboration with the Guelph Family Health Study, Parizeau looked at food waste both at the household level. Household food waste was defined as either “avoidable” (food that could have been eaten such as whole fruits and vegetables, spoiled food, uneaten leftovers, food past it’s best before date as well as bought but forgotten food) versus “unavoidable” (such as egg shells, banana peels and meat bones).

The study found that about ¾ of the household food waste was avoidable. Most of the avoidable food waste (over 65%) came from fruits and vegetables, 24% from bread and cereals, 6% from meat and fish, and 2% from milk, cheese and eggs. Overall, this amounts to an average of $936 per year, over 175,000 calories thrown out and 1,196 kg of C02 emissions created.

 

Image source: Kate Parizeau

 

Food literacy skills can result in reduced food waste. Behaviours such as meal planning, shopping with a list, food preparation, storing food safely and cooking at home are encouraged. A new cookbook Rock What You’ve Got – Recipes for Preventing Food Waste is now available for free download. This cookbook was created by the Guelph Food Waste Research Group in partnership with The Helderleigh Foundation, George Brown College’s Food Innovation and Research Studio (FIRSt).

 

 

 

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.

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

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)

Beware of Free Food in the Workplace!

workplace conference eating

Does your workplace offer free food at meetings, events or in the common area? Turns out that all of this free food can be adding about 1,300 empty calories to your week!

A one of a kind study in the USA analyzed the food and beverage choices of over 5,000 employees who either purchased food from on-site vending machines or the cafeteria, or obtained food for free in common areas, at meetings or at workplace social events. The preliminary results, presented at last month’s meeting of the American Society of Nutrition, found that nearly 25% of the employees obtained food from work at least once a week which added up to almost 1,300 calories by the end of the week. The bad news is that the food and beverages tended to be high in empty calories which contain little to no nutrition. Even worse news is that over 70% of the calories consumed came from free food that was offered in the workplace such as pizza, soda, cookies, brownies, cake and candy.

Bottom line:
About 87% of Canadian employees have personal goals to eat healthier foods. Workplaces can play a huge role in helping employees eat better and improve their food habits. Start by creating a workplace healthy eating policy to ensure access and availability of healthy options in foodservice, vending machines and at workplace meetings / events. We can assess your current offerings and help you build and implement a winning workplace healthy eating policy that will boost productivity and performance! Contact us here or at info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com for more details and / or to book an inspiring workplace wellness presentation for your team.

Innovation Unleashed – 5 hot topics from Canada’s largest foodservice trade event

rc show 2018

 

People LOVE food – it unites us all! The power of food is everywhere and the Restaurants Canada show Innovation Unleashed was a great place to discover fascinating insights on advances in the foodservice industry. We were there and connected with Operators, Presidents, Buyers, Agents, Chefs & more about key industry issues and the future of hospitality. #RCShow18

Here are the 5 hot topics that caught our interest as food and nutrition experts:

  1. Where does food come from? Local is by far still the biggest trend in restaurants today and expected to keep gaining momentum. Running a profitable restaurant, maintaining food costs, and satisfying the local trend is challenging for many businesses. Restaurants are discovering how to incorporate local ingredients to menu items  while boosting the bottom line.
  2. Why does food go to waste?  Stats are shocking…too much of the food cooked in restaurants is thrown away. What about grocery stores? Does food end up in the waste bin because it doesn’t look good? Consumers’ attention is moving beyond where food comes from to where food is going. With such tight margins let’s keep the food out of the trash bin. Speakers also discussed a “Feed it Forward Food Insecurity” option where safe, unused and unsold food destined for landfill could be donated to those who are hungry and in need of food aid.
  3. Wellness anyone? Want to make better-for-you foods and boost your sales with claims? There are labelling laws & science for that!  The power of good food and nutrition has a direct connection to health. Good energy, focus, concentration and productivity are all benefits of healthy food choices throughout the day. As dietitians, we translate the science of nutrition to unlock foods’ potential and support healthy living for Canadians. Call us with your wellness boosting food & menu questions – we can help!
  4. Beverage menu in focus. Coffee and tea are popular beverages among Canadians.  Research-based industry trends showed strong areas of opportunity for Restaurateurs, including the largely untapped world of decaf coffee and herbal tea. Tea and food pairing is a trending opportunity. The positive impact of Non-Alcoholic Cocktails can create memorable drinking experiences while striving for a more balanced lifestyle. Cheers to that – healthy hydration never looked better!
  5. Future of Food & Eating. Space research yields fascinating insights on innovation in the hospitality industry. Expert panelists discussed technology, new agriculture, experiential eating, personalized foods and more that will transform the future of everything edible.

For more foodservice trends and consumer insights that can elevate your business contact us info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com or join us at the 11th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 18, 2018, University of Toronto. Register at www.NutritionForNONNutritionists.com

 

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

3 Tips to Overcoming Weight Bias

Did you know that weight bias and discrimination are real and rampant? A recent study looking at news stories in media found that 72% of images and 77% of videos stigmatized  people with obesity[1].  With so much weight bias in our society, what can we do to help?  As dietitians we reviewed the science and bring you these 3 tips to help stop the weight bias, with hopes that we can all make lasting positive change in response to weight shaming, stigma and discrimination. 

N4nn weight bias 2017 2017-11-26_20-25-57

  1. BECOME AWARE – Do you have a weight bias? A first step in addressing weight stigma is to become aware of our own potential attitudes and assumptions about body weight. What do you think and say about people with obesity? Did you know being called “fat” is the most common reason children are bullied?[2] A Harvard University survey reveals many people have an automatic preference for ‘thin people’ relative to ‘fat people’.[3] This survey is based on an Implicit-Association Test (IAT) that anyone can take, and measures the implicit attitudes and beliefs that people are either unwilling or unable to report. The WEIGHT-IAT asks you to distinguish images of people who are described as ‘obese’ or ‘fat’ and people who are ‘thin’. Try the IAT here: https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html – and select the Weight IAT to discover whether you have a hidden weight bias.
  1. SPEAK WITH COMPASSION Use words that hurt less. At a recent nutrition symposium, we learned about research that shows the choice of words we use can have different impacts on people with obesity. [4]

words we use obesity bias N4NN 2017 11-27_14-57-23

  • Body weight should not be a topic of social conversation. It’s a deeply personal subject for most people. Even as a health professional, ask permission to speak about body weight.
  • Use person first language rather than describe people by their disease. ex. Saying “a person with obesity” is person first langauge. Saying “an obese person” is not person first language. It’s the same way you would say a person “has a broken leg” rather than say they “are a broken leg.”
  1. SHOW RESPECT – Every body deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. Are YOU ready to help STOP the weight bias? Here are some tips:
  • Notice weight shaming and speak up when you hear inappropriate comments or jokes. Talk about someone’s performance, enthusiasm or other positive attributes rather than talking about their weight. If you notice someone blaming a person for their weight, remind yourself and others “We don’t know their story, so don’t blame them for their size.”
  • Shift the focus from weight to health and well-being.
  • Adjust your attitude – if you change your thoughts, your feelings and actions will follow.[5]

The journey toward well-being starts with how we eat and dietitians have the knowledge, compassion and flexibility to help Canadians achieve their goals. If you have questions about food and health contact a Registered Dietitian for reliable, life-changing advice.

[1] Heuer C, Puhl R.  Obesity stigma in online news: A visual content analysis.   Journal of Health Communication.   2011

[2] Puhl, R. et.al Cross-national perspectives about weight-based bullying in youth: nature, extent and remedies. Pediatric Obesity, 2016

[3] Harvard University, Project Implicit Sourced Nov 2017 https://implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/selectatest.html

[4] Adapted from Puhl, Peterson, Luedicke 2013

[5] Michael Vallis, Canadian Obesity Network Presentation 2011

NEW Front of Pack Labelling Update – 3 tips on how you can prepare for the big changes ahead.

N4nn fop labelling nov 2017
Photo Credit: Health Canada

  1. WHAT?
    Front-of-Package Nutrition Labelling update is out – read it here!

Health Canada just published the future of Front-of-Package (FOP) nutrition labelling based on proceedings from Sept. 18, 2017 Stakeholder Engagement Meeting. The document’s summary and subsequent social media comments from scientists and regulators signal big changes for food makers.  Although ‘no firm decisions were reached and re-designed symbols would be subjected to further consultations,…Health Canada concluded that a mandatory ‘high in’ front-of-package labelling system is the most appropriate to use’.  Front-of-Package examples included warning symbols implemented in other countries such as Chile and Ecuador. Are you ready for something like this?

N4NN 2017 fop graphic

  1. SO WHAT?
    Consider if your packaged foods may have to show warning labels on front-of-package.

The ‘high in’ Front-of-Package label approach may require a black and white warning label on pack in the future but consumers already have a tool to focus on the 3 nutrients of public health concern in the NEW nutrition facts table (NFT). Have you considered what the % Daily Value (% DV) for sugars, sodium and saturated fat tells about foods? The NFT footnote explains the % DV as this:  5% or less is a little, 15% or more is a lot. The new FOP will make sure that the negative attributes of food products are represented to help Canadians make informed food choices. Health Canada recognizes that there is a gap in labelling between packaged foods and those sold in in grocery or restaurants.  Future work with provincial and territorial counterparts will aim to find the best way to provide nutrition information in restaurants and other food service establishments.

  1. NOW WHAT?
    Speak to a Registered Dietitian with food labelling expertise to plan your strategies.

Health Canada says ‘discussion is very important in moving this forward and we need to get it right’. We agree and encourage you to connect with Registered Dietitians who are regulated professionals accountable to the public based on the highest standards of science and ethics.  Our influence runs deep and we look beyond the fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable advice that supports healthy living for all Canadians.

Contact us to help you meet the demands of rethinking food labelling and to guide your team in unlocking food’s nutrition potential.

 

A well fed brain is more likely to lead to good mood, behaviour and learning

pennutrition back to school 2017 DHSN1OYXsAAiJZp

(Photo Credit PENNUTRITION https://twitter.com/pennutrition)

A new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia found that Canadian children are falling short on nutrition during the school day. The first of its kind, this study looked at 4,827 children across Canada between the ages of six and 17.

Using a 24 hour recall, their dietary intakes from 9 am to 2 pm was scored against a School Healthy Eating Index. The Index looks at 11 specific criteria based on Canada’s Food Guide’s recommendations, such as intake of vegetables and fruit, whole grains, milk products and meat and alternatives.

Here are the highlights from the research:
– 1/3 of daily calories (about 750 calories) are consumed at school; almost 25% of these calories came from “other foods” such as candy bars and salty packaged snacks
– Kids are falling short on vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium and protein
– The lowest scores were for green and orange vegetables, whole fruit, whole grains and milk products
– The average score was 53.4 out of a possible 100 points
– Teens’ diets scored worse than that of younger kids aged six to eight

Nutrition is important for the brain as well as the body. As the school year is off to a start, we reviewed a research summary on diet, behaviour and learning in children. Here are our top 3 tips for unlocking food’s potential to support your child’s learning. The key areas of focus are the overall nutritional balance of regularly timed meals, and adequate intake of some essential nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids.

  1. Mind the overall nutritional balance!

Enjoying a variety of foods help the body and the brain get what they need to function best. The brains and bodies of children need a regular supply of energy so that they can think effectively.  Studies show that most children would benefit from more fruit and vegetables, and fewer sugary drinks, high-fat and high-sugar snacks.  Although the brain prefers glucose (sugars) for energy, in the long run it doesn’t cope well with major swings in blood sugar. Emerging evidence shows that foods that are digested more slowly and provide long lasting energy may be better choices.

DIETITIAN’S TIP: To moderate blood sugar swings, choose whole grains more often, and balance carbohydrate intake with some protein in each meal.

  1. Eat regularly – especially breakfast.

When children go without food for too long they may lose concentration and / or they may get in a bad mood.  Researchers find that eating breakfast leads to better learning compared to skipping breakfast. Encourage your kids to eat breakfast. Any breakfast or lunch meal is better than nothing, however including some fibre and protein in your child’s breakfast (and lunch) may be helpful for the brain.

DIETITIAN’S TIP: Try some of these great breakfast ideas:

  • A boiled egg with wholegrain toast and sliced peppers or tomato
  • Cooked oats or other whole grain cereal with milk and a sliced apple or banana
  • Yogurt berry smoothie with nuts and seeds
  1. Eat a variety of foods to get key nutrient for the brain.

One of the most important areas of research into the relationship between foods and brain health focuses on oily fish that are rich in omega-3 fats.  There is also some evidence that omega-3 fats help with attention. Iron, zinc and magnesium are also thought to be particularly important for the brain. Low iron levels are strongly linked to poor mood and concentration. Low magnesium may be linked to anxiety, and low zinc may lead to poor attention and poor sleep.

Oily fish is the best source of omega-3 fats. Red meat, poultry and pulses (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas) are examples of good sources of iron and zinc. Green vegetables, nuts and seeds are all a good source of magnesium. For some children who are not getting enough, increasing their intake of foods containing one or more of these nutrients could make a difference to their mood, behaviour and learning. Talk to a dietitian if you’re concerned about these nutrients for your child.

DIETITIAN’S TIP:  A varied and nutritious diet is the most reliable way to help your child’s developing brain and body get the nutrients it needs. Children (and adults) should eat two servings of fatty fish a week. Choose fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, sardines or herring. Plant based sources of Omega-3 include enriched eggs, walnuts & flaxseeds.

Bottom line: Giving your child regular meals and a healthy, well-balanced diet helps their development, mental well-being and physical health. Your child might also benefit from reducing their intake of foods that are low in nutritional value.  If you have questions, or for more information contact us or a Resisted Dietitian in your community. Factsheets on selected topics are also available on Dietitians of Canada website.

Reference: BDA The Association of UK Dietitians, Food Fact Sheet 2017. Source PENNUTRTITION.

Men’s Health Initiative

men's health

June is men’s health month and a terrific time to take a look at what we can do to encourage men to take care of their bodies. Did you know that among Canadian men, 29% are obese; 68% don’t eat healthy food; and 35% don’t get enough sleep? This shows that Canadian men aren’t as healthy as they could be, in part due to lifestyle choices that they make. But the good news is, says the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF), that men don’t have to change much to improve their physical health and wellness.  Canada’s Health Minister announced funding for the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF) to expand their Don’t Change Much initiative that helps Canadian men make simple lifestyle changes that can result in long-term benefits for individuals, families and communities. If you are looking to make healthy eating changes, consider seeking advice from a registered dietitian either in person or online. We look at the science that is beyond the fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable, life-changing advice that supports healthy living.  Here are some terrific links and a video with more information on men’s health:

http://dontchangemuch.ca/faqs/    www.Dietitians.ca;          www.ero.ca

Earlier this month, Sue joined Ben Mulroney on CTV Your Morning to talk about men’s nutrition. Check out her interview here:

Sue and Ben Mulroney N4NN June 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMJrLUcm_gQ

 

 

Congrats to Sue and Lucia

Sue win N4NN June 2017

Sue is an accomplished leader who is highly deserving of the honour presented to her by the Dietitian of Canada. Recognized by her peers, Sue received two awards: 2017 Dietitian of the Year by Dietitians of Canada Business & Industry Network and the Member Recognition Award for Innovation by Dietitians of Canada.  Sue translates the science of nutrition into easy advice that everyone can understand and she advances the dietetic profession as an acclaimed nutrition writer, nutrition trends expert, inspiring speaker and engaging media spokesperson. Her nutrition trend tips and insights are sought after by business leaders, entrepreneurs, and consumer and trade publications. Sue has helped fellow dietitians and hundreds of professionals leverage the power of good nutrition.

Lucia N4NN June 2017

Lucia is honoured to start a 4 year term as a Director of the Board, Dietitians of Canada. She was elected by her peers to this leadership role to represent members’ voice. Dietitians of Canada is one of the largest organizations of food and nutrition professionals in the world with over 5,000 members who are committed to advancing health through food and nutrition. In her role as a Board member, Lucia will help steer the organization by setting the strategic direction to raise the profile of the profession as the most trusted source of nutrition information, offer support in practice, and create new opportunities for growth, learning and development.

What’s on the MENU? Calorie labelling!

what's on the menu blog march 2017

Have you noticed the new calorie labelling on Ontario chain restaurant menus? Operators, servers and consumers are coming to grips with the new reality of revealing calories in a serving of food. We’ve been busy moderating partnership events and engaging with stakeholders about the challenges of the new menu labelling. The events were in collaboration with Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP), Restaurants Canada and Dietitians of Canada.

A shout out to fellow dietitian Donna Bottrell who did a terrific job organizing the events, and to Nancy Hewitt President CAFP Toronto for her support.

CAFP lucia moderator event
From left: Donna Bottrell, organizer of the event; Nancy Hewitt, CFE, President of the CAFP Toronto Branch; Susan Somerville, Dean, from Humber College, and Panelist Jamie Rillet and Moderator Lucia Weiler.

Here is a snapshot of what we heard:

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

For more stakeholder views and participant feedback please contact us. We would be happy to help your team formulate unique insights that integrate our Registered Dietitian expertise in food and nutrition and provide you with solutions that both foodservice professionals and consumers can use.

Top 2017 food and nutrition trends

RD registered dietitian USA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

October is Workplace Wellness Month!

workplace-wellness45% of Canadians find it challenging to eat well at work. Here’s our advice for fighting the 3 o’clock brain drain.

If you find it hard to eat well at work, you’re not alone. Research from an Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Dietitians of Canada finds that 45% of Canadians say that eating healthy meals and snacks while at work is challenging.  As Registered Dietitians and nutrition experts, we know first hand the many benefits of eating well at work:

  • gives you energy to be stay focused and meet your deadlines
  • boosts your concentration and productivity
  • protects you from chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and even dental disease.

Here’s what you can do to improve your eating habits at work:

  1. Load up of vegetables and fruit. Pack your own fruit and veggie snacks so you’re not tempted by a vending machine or cafeteria.
  2. Bring healthy snacks for meetings. Instead of donuts and muffins, offer vegetables and fruit more often and have some whole grain products available.
  3. Bring your own lunch to work instead of eating at the fast food court.  Packing your lunch is healthy and saves you money. Also, chances are, the portion sizes you pack are more reasonable!
  4. Satisfy your thirst with water. At meetings serve plain water in pitchers. For a flavour boost add lemon, lime or cucumbers. Keep a water bottle on your desk.
  5. Choose to be active. Have a walking meeting around the block or have an activity break instead of a coffee break. Active living is not only healthy but also stimulates creativity!

Keep it going! Workplace wellness and nutrition programs are an investment in your employees’ health and well-being! 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!

Feeding kids a vegan diet in Italy could be a crime

vegan-kid

The buzz:
Late last month, Italian Parliamentarian Elvira Savino proposed a bill that would hold parents legally responsible for feeding a vegan diet to children who are under the age of 16. A vegan diet excludes all animal products such as meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs.

The bill was proposed after multiple cases of Italian infants were hospitalized for malnourishment presumably due to eating vegan diets. If the bill passes, parents who restrict their children to a vegan diet would face a year-long jail sentence. Should the child fall ill because of the diet, the sentence would increase to four years; and if the child dies, the jail term would rise to six years.

The Italian government has not been shy to step into people’s kitchens. Last year, an Italian court reportedly ordered a vegan mother to feed her son meat at least once a week after her divorced husband complained that the son wasn’t getting adequate nourishment. In 2015, a father was sentenced to nine months in prison after forcing his teen daughters to diet only on whole grains, cereals and veggies because he deemed them to be too fat.

Savino’s proposed bill will be debated later this year.

The science:

According to the Dietitians of Canada, vegan diets can lower your risk of many conditions including obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. A healthy vegan diet includes a variety of grains, vegetables, fruit, legumes (dried peas, peas and lentils), seeds and nuts.

However, because a vegan diet excludes meat, fish, poultry, dairy and eggs, it may take some planning to get enough protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12 and omega-3 fats from foods and/or supplements.

Our expert POV:
A vegan diet may be appropriate for toddlers to teens with careful planning. The most important consideration at these ages is to ensure that they are getting the nutrients they need to grow and develop well.

Talk to a dietitian about vegan food sources for nutrients such as protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12 (which are typically found in meat, fish, poultry and eggs). Calcium and vitamin D are also essential for the development of strong bones and teeth, while omega-3 fats are essential for brain development and eye health.

With our training and experience in health promotion, we wonder if nutrition education for parents / caregivers would be more effective than this punitive legislation.

Dare to Compare: Chia Seeds versus Flax Seeds

Ever wonder what the difference is between these two tiny seeds?

What are they:

chia seeds
[Image source: Flickr]

Chia seeds are tiny white or black seeds that look like poppy seeds. They were first cultivated by the Aztec tribes in Mexico.

flax seed 2
[Image source: Flickr]

Flax seeds are flat, yellow or brown, oval shaped seeds that are about the size of a sesame seed. Brown flax seeds are grown right here in Canada, mainly in the western Prairies.


Nutrition and health benefits:

Chia seeds are filled with insoluble fibre. When mixed with water or fluids, chia seeds expand and swell to form a gel. Chia seeds are a source of heart-healthy plant-based omega-3 fats, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium. When it comes to fibre, calcium and selenium, chia seeds win over flax seeds. (See comparison chart below.) Studies show many benefits to including chia seeds as part of a healthy diet, such as a reduction in blood cholesterol levels and the prevention of constipation.

Note: Chia seeds can thin your blood, as well as interact with medications and blood thinners such as Warfarin/Coumadin. If you are taking any types of these medications or any type of blood pressure medications, then please avoid chia seeds and talk to you doctor.

Flax seeds are hailed as a super source of plant-based omega-3 fats which is an important nutrient to help lower the risk of heart disease. With a similar nutrition profile to that of chia seeds, flax seeds are also a source of zinc and selenium, and a good source of magnesium. Flax seeds are one of the best food sources of lignans, which are a type of plant-based estrogen. Research suggests that these lignans may play a role in protecting against breast cancer.

chia vs flax chart BIGGER REV


How to include in a healthy diet:

Both chia seeds and flax seeds have a nutty flavour and can be easily added to your favourite dishes.

Chia seeds – Sprinkle into smoothies, cereal, yogurt, soups and salads. Try our yummy Chia Seed Pudding recipe or mix some chia seeds into muffin batter. Store chia seeds in a dark, cool place for a few months.

Flax seeds – Sprinkle over cereal or yogurt, or add them to pancake batter and meatballs. Whole flax seeds can be stored at room temperature for up to one year. Ground flax seeds are easier to digest. Grind your own flax seeds in a coffee grinder or food processor. Store ground flax seeds in an opaque container for up to three months.

Dietitian’s Tip: Enjoy a variety of foods and include chia seeds and/or flax seeds when you can. Leave us a comment and tell us how you love to use chia and flax!

Chia Breakfast for Champions

chia seed yogo cropped 2016Get this all star easy to follow Chia Seed Pudding recipe we love for breakfast! Make it the night before and boost it with your favourite fruit and nuts. Recipe adapted from The Food Network, courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis. [1]


Ingredients

1 cup milk or vanilla-flavored unsweetened almond milk
1 cup plain low-fat (2 percent) Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus 2-4 teaspoons for serving
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chia seeds
1 pint strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1/8 teaspoon salt (optional)

Directions

In a medium bowl, gently whisk the milk (or almond milk), yogurt, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, the vanilla and 1/8 teaspoon salt until just blended. Whisk in the chia seeds; let stand 30 minutes. Stir to distribute the seeds if they have settled. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, in a medium bowl, toss the berries with the remaining 2-4 teaspoons maple syrup. Mix in the almonds.

Spoon the pudding into 4 bowls or glasses; mound the berry mixture on top and serve.

Nutrition Information per serving:

Calories 201; Fat 8g; Protein 8g; Carbohydrate 25g; Sugar 16g

[1] http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/chia-seed-pudding.html?soc=socialsharingtw

 

Bridging the Gap between Nutrition Science and Culinary Arts

ambition nutrition June 2016

We recently attended the AMBITION NUTRITION conference  at George Brown College in Toronto where academic professionals, dietitians, culinary experts, and industry leaders joined for an interactive day to examine the gaps and opportunities that exist between research, education, nutrition, diet, and culinary arts. Here are some of the top insights posted on twitter by thought leaders at #AmbitionNutrition…

  • “Public is confused about #nutrition says @Dmozaffarian” @SueMahRD
  • “@davidludwigmd advice is to replace highly processed casrbs we healthy fats #weightloss” by @SueMahRD
  • “Lets fall in love with food again! @MichaelMossC” by @SueMahRD
  • “Nutrition is emotional & personal – 1 person 1 meal at a time struggle” by @LuciaWeilerRD
  • “Food is #1 cause of poor health in the world-yet NOT on e-health record-pay more attention 2 diet 4 health @Dmozaffarian” by ‏@LuciaWeilerRD
  • “Diet quality is the driving force behind obesity” @Dmozaffarian by @JenniferSygo
  •  “Eat less and move more” advice (is too simple and) does not work!…” by‏ @JarRraSummer
  •  “Let’s not vilify foods & stop focusing on the bad ~ let’s flip this & add more good “back to basics” food to our day.” ‏@MairlynSmith
  • “Your diet is like dating. You have to get to know your diet or it will never last.” @DougMcNish
  • “It’s not the “bad” in the diet that causes problems. It’s too little of the “good” – Eat veg fish beans @Dmozaffarian” ‏@CaraRosenbloom
  • “It is all about the quality of your diet not calories in/out when it comes to wt loss & risk of disease @Dmozaffarian” by @ShaunaLindzonRD
  • “Villifying any food may be the gateway to orthorexia @JennSygo” by ‏@TrishBitesLife
  • “Creating a healthy and positive food environment has to come from the policy level, not the individual level.” @ConfessionsRD
  • “Good point re: menu labelling – may cause people to choose lower cal options regardless of their quality @Dmozaffarian” ‏by @chelseaallenrd
  • “Cilantro haters is not your fault! Blame the Soapy taste on your genes!” @elsohemy by @LuciaWeilerRD
  • “ Chefs make nutrition recos come to life! Dietitian says pick your fave veg oil!” by @LuciaWeilerRD