news & trends

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

 

 

 

 

Nutrition Month 2016

Nutrition Month buddha bowl 2
(Photo credit: Canadian Lentils)

Celebrate the joy of good nutrition and healthy eating all month and beyond! Be inspired to make small, lasting changes to your eating habits. And try a new recipe every now and then too! Trending in the news was this fabulous recipe for Garden Veggie Buddha Bowl. 

Senate Report on Obesity

Senate-report-Obesity-in-Canada-p1-normal

Almost 2/3 of adults and 1/3 of kids are overweight or obese. The obesity crisis is a complex issue. What can be done?

In their report Obesity in Canada released earlier this month, the Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology made 21 recommendations to chart a course for a leaner, healthier future. Here are some of the key recommendations which are generating a healthy discussion:

– The federal government assess the options for taxation levers with a view to implementing a new tax on sugar-sweetened as well as artificially-sweetened beverages.
– The Minister of Health:

  • immediately undertake a complete revision of Canada’s food guide in order that it better reflect the current state of scientific evidence.
  • reassess the daily value applied to total carbohydrates based on emerging evidence regarding dietary fat and the fat promoting nature of carbohydrates and require that the daily intake value for protein be included in the Nutrition Facts table.
  • assess whether sugar and starch should be combined under the heading of total carbohydrate within the Nutrition Facts table and report back to this committee by December 2016.
  • encourage nutrition labelling on menus and menu boards in food service establishments.

    Obesity is a multi-factorial issue with no easy solution. Join in our upcoming Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course (April 20, 2016) to get our in-depth POV on these recommendations and issues, or contact us to discuss how these recommendations will impact your business innovations and communications.

  • 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.

    Everyday Super Food

    Sue Lucia Jamie Oliver bookICYMI, Jamie Oliver was in Toronto to launch his new TV show on Food Network Canada and his new cookbook Everyday Super Food. We were there at the TV show prescreening and had a chance to listen to Jamie’s thoughts on his latest cookbook.

    The uber chef and foodie, noted that his 40th birthday was the impetus behind this cookbook in which he has a section dedicate to nutrition healthy eating. With so many inspiring words of wisdom from Jamie, we just aren’t sure which one of these is our favourite!

    • “On cold, wet, rainy days, food can be a hug.”
    • “Access to freshly grown food is linked to longevity.”
    • “If you just pick up your shopping and get cooking, you’ll be in a beautiful place.”
    • “Food is there to be enjoyed, shared, and celebrated, and healthy, nourishing food should be colourful, delicious, and fun.”

    The Buzz on Sustainability

    Sustainability DFC event-1

    Sustainability is HOT! Food industry leaders are responding to this ever growing consumer trend and making sustainability a top business priority. Responsible consumption is everyone’s responsibility and it encompasses concerns for people’s nutrition/health, for the welfare of animals and crops, for our communities and the environment overall. Here’s a selection of sound bites that we and other thought leaders tweeted from national events on sustainability food waste.

    • Features of a #SustainableHealthyDiet: reduce overconsumption; maintain a healthy weight; limit consumption of nutrient-poor foods; reduce food waste; conserve water and energy in the kitchen.” (DFC symposium)
    • $31 billion of #FoodWaste in Canada 2014. 53% of food waste is from fruits n veggies. Yikes! (DFC symposium)
    • #ReduceFoodWaste by eating leftovers, meal-planning, preserving food.” (DFC symposium)
    • ReduceWaste! Eat what you buy – a family of 4 throws away over 120lbs of food a month!” (DFC symposium)
    • Some work to do: Canada wastes 40% of food post-purchase.” (DFC symposium)
    • Wasting less food is not only important from a sustainability standpoint but also for budgeting.” (Conference Board of Canada, Ontario Agri-Food Education Inc. presentation)
    • Only “59 % of Canadians understand what organic food means” (Conference Board of Canada Report Card on Food)
    • Environmental footprint labelling is on the rise in grocery stores. Could this trend be here to stay?” (DFC symposium)
    • The food system of the future must be: nutrition sensitive; climate smart; secure the environment and our natural resources” (DFC symposium)
    • 5 top tips from 100 years ago that still apply today: (DFC symposium)
      • Buy it with thought
      • Cook it with care
      • Serve just enough
      • Save what will keep
      • Eat what would spoil

    National Nutrition Month – Eating 9 to 5

    According to a poll by Ipsos Reid, 45% of Canadians say that eating healthy meals and snacks while at work is challenging. Are your 9 to 5 eating habits helping or hindering your productivity? Let us show you how healthy eating can boost your concentration, productivity and overall wellness.

    Book us now for an energizing Lunch and Learn presentation or an interactive nutrition display to meet your employees’ health and wellness needs.

    Consider integrating healthy nutrition approaches into your leadership training programs. We’ll offer strategies and solutions for tackling your everyday workplace challenges, and promote engagement across the organization that leads to an improved corporate health and wellness profile.

    We are also available to consult with your HR team to develop a workplace wellness plan and improve the nutrition environment in your workplace. For more information, contact us.

    Delicious Food Show

    Hands down, the highlight of this year’s Delicious Food Show was meeting Celebrity Chef Chuck Hughes! Featuring hundreds of exhibitors, the show was truly a food-lovers’ event. Here are a few cool things we tried!

    Camelina Oil – Extracted from the Camelina sativa oilseed, camelina oil is about 90% unsaturated fat, with 39% omega-3 fat and 18% omega-6 fat. The oil boasts light, nutty and earthy notes. With a high smoke point of 475°F, camelina oil is versatile and can be used in salads, dips, dressings and marinades as well as cooking.

    Nu Pasta – This gluten-free pasta is made from the konjac plant. It’s a type of tuber plant, which grows on slopes about 600 to 12,000 m above sea level. The root of the konjac plant is dried and milled into a fine flour which is the main ingredient of the pasta. A 210 g package contains: 25 calories, 1 g fat, 0 mg sodium, 6 g carbohydrates, o g sugar, 6 g fibre, and 1 g sugar. We sampled it in a stir-fry with garlic and pine nuts, which was a nice way to perk up the flavour.

    Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream – What do you get when you add milk, cream, sugar and -196°C liquid nitrogen? Ice cream, of course! It’s the coolest and coldest way to make ice cream, and it’s all ready in less than 60 seconds. Liquid nitrogen is simply the harmless nitrogen gas which has been cooled to such a low temperature that it becomes a liquid. We happily sampled the Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream – it was delicious!

    Top Trends at Grocery Innovations Canada 2014

    Grocery Innovations Canada is the annual “must attend” event for professionals involved in the retail and food service industry. We were there again this year to see what’s hot and what’s not, as well as to check out new food and beverage innovations.

    Here are the top five trends that jumped out at us.

    1. Clean ingredient list. Consumers are looking for pronounceable ingredients. What is NOT on the label is as important to consumers as what IS printed on the packaging.  More shoppers are asking for ‘natural’ or unprocessed products. We expect to see more of this “ free of ….“ focus in the future.
    2. Ethnic flavours continue to be a strong trend. Food makers anticipate a growth in Asian, Indian and Latin America cuisine.
    3. Supermarket Chef Showdown!  Canadians eat out often and busy shoppers are looking for help with prepared meals. Supermarket chefs showed their talents on how they create delicious and healthy meals to attract food loving grocery shoppers. In the Globe and Mail, Marina Strauss reports on this fast growing grocery-resto or takeout trend calling it the “Grocerant”
    4. Chocolate, Chia and Coconut were notable ingredient trends. New product innovations with chocolate included baked goods, lactose free chocolate milk (Natrel) and chocolate flavoured peanut butter (Kraft).  Chia seeds were introduced in new yogurts (Olympic), cereals and breads. (Chia seeds are similar to flax seed and contain omega-3 fats and boost fibre.) Coconut was featured in whipped cream from Gay Lea Foods, and in Campbell’s Thai Tomato Coconut Soup.
    5. Go Green theme was evident in several sustainable and environmentally friendly innovations. For example “Green” shopping bags are made of material that resists bacterial growth and the Green Lid bins are completely compostable containers made from recyclable cardboard and newsprint.

    Book Review – Unmasking Superfoods by Jennifer Sygo, MSc., RD

    It’s not always easy to find a nutrition book that’s easy to read and backed by credible research. But Sygo does just that. In Unmasking Superfoods, Sygo separates the truth from the hype behind some of today’s superfoods such as acai, noni, quinoa and the increasingly popular coconut oil.

    She also gives a shout out to kiwi, pistachios and mussels, calling them underappreciated superfoods. In another chapter of the book, Sygo offers a sound perspective on beef, eggs, potatoes and other foods which she feels have been given a bad rap.

    For each superfood, you’ll learn about the backstory, the nutrition, the science and finally the bottom line. Unmasking Superfoods is a mini nutrition encyclopedia for consumers and health professionals alike. It’s a keeper on our bookshelf.

    Tracking Nutrition Trends 2013 – report released (June 2014)

    Established in 1989, Tracking Nutrition Trends (TNT) is the longest standing nutrition study in Canada. The recently released report examines the self-reported knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of adult Canadians with respect to food and nutrition. Also included in the report are key factors that affect consumer food choices.  Here’s a summary of the key findings.

    • Nearly all Canadians say they have done something to improve or change their eating and drinking habits over the past year. The top three improvements/changes are: eating more fruits and vegetables; reducing salt/sodium; and reducing sugar.
    • Only 24% of Canadians follow Canada’s Food Guide.
    • 2/3 of Canadians use supplements. The most popular supplements are vitamin D, multi-vitamins and vitamin C.
    • 63% of Canadians eat breakfast every day (up from 58% in 2008).
    • 97% of Canadians say taste is the most important factor when choosing a food, followed by nutrition and cost.
    • 88% of Canadians say that maintaining good health is a key influence on their food choices.
    • When looking at the nutritional information, the most influential factors of food choices are: source of protein, low in saturated fats, low in salt/sodium, source of fibre, no trans fat, and low in total fat.

    For more detailed report findings, and to discuss relevance to your work please contact us.

    Let your voice be heard! Help shape Canada’s new food labels

    Health Canada recently announced proposed new changes to the Nutrition Facts table and ingredients lists with the goal of improving nutrition information on food labels. We encourage you to you consider the proposed changes and voice your opinion to Health Canada through their 10 question on-online survey and/or technical consultation before September 11th, 2014.

    Some of the key proposed changes include:

    • listing Calories in a bigger and bold font
    • using consistent serving sizes on similar foods
    • increasing the Daily Value for fat and calcium, and decreasing the Daily Value for sodium
    • removing the % Daily Value for fibre and total carbohydrates
    • adding information about added sugars by including a % Daily Value for sugars as well as showing the amount of added sugars in the product
    • removing vitamins A and C, but adding potassium and vitamin D to the label
    • grouping nutrients that we should limit (fat, sodium and sugar) at the top half of the label
    • grouping nutrients that we need to get enough of (fibre, vitamins, minerals) at the bottom half of the label.

    The consultation period is now open, and all consumers and stakeholders are invited to provide input on the proposed changes. We strongly urge you to let your voice be heard and share your feedback in shaping this important national nutrition labelling regulation.

    Health Canada has developed three consumer fact sheets about Ÿ Serving Sizes, ŸNutrition Facts table and Ingredient List and  Sugar Content.  Consumers can provide their feedback through a 10 question online survey.

    For food and health professionals, there is also a series of five technical consultation documents which explain the rationale for the proposed changes: Ÿ Format Requirements, ŸCore Nutrients, ŸDaily Values (%DV), ŸReference Amounts and Ÿ Serving Sizes. You are also invited to provide feedback to each of these consultation documents.

    All comments must be submitted to Health Canada by September 11, 2015. Please contact us for assistance in reviewing the proposed changes, providing feedback to the consultation, and discussing how these changes may impact your products’ nutrition claims.