news & trends

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spotlight on Metabolic Syndrome – Highlights from the Canadian Nutrition Society Conference

CNS 2016 conf snag it cropped 4

Metabolic Syndrome is a dangerous health condition affecting 1 in 5 Canadians. Despite it’s prevalence, little is known about metabolic syndrome. At the Canadian Nutrition Society’s 2016 Conference, experts shed light on this growing public health crisis.

Metabolic Syndrome was only identified about 20 years ago and is not a disease itself but a group of health conditions that includes high blood pressure, diabetes, high blood cholesterol levels, and excess abdominal fat. People with metabolic syndrome are also more likely to have chronic inflammation, another sign of health in danger.

Lucia & Penny K-E CNS lowe resolution

Lucia Weiler, RD & Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, distinguished Professor of Nutrition

Here are the key takeaway messages from the conference:

  • Dr Penny Kris-Etherton, Pennsylvania State University shared, “The power of a healthy diet is remarkable in lowering metabolic syndrome risk.” A high quality diet that especially includes more fruit and vegetable intake reduces risk of metabolic syndrome. Best results are achieved with concurrent weight loss, but changing to a healthy diet improves metabolic syndrome even without weight loss.
  • Dr. Wendy Ward, Brock University explained that diabetes weakens bone structure and increases the risk of bone fractures in people with metabolic syndrome.
  • Gut bacteria contribute to positive health. Dr Comelli, University of Toronto recommended we should aim to have a diverse gut microbiome that resembles a diverse rainforest not a barren desert.
  • Dr. Angelo Tremblay, Laval University agreed and stated that “Yogurt is the best player of the dairy food team” because it is nutrient dense and provides probiotics to boost good gut bacteria.
  • Dr. Benoit Lamarche, Laval University reviewed the new research on saturated fatty acids and its impact on heart disease. He stressed the importance to identify the source of dietary saturated fat and to advise individuals to enjoy whole, unprocessed foods more often to help reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Lamarche praised the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s position statement on Saturated Fat, Heart Disease and Stroke.
  • Dr. Khursheed Jeejeebhoy, University of Toronto and the father of clinical nutrition in Canada introduced a Metabolic Syndrome CHANGE program and offered these 3 tips for for dietary change:
    1. Advise people they have Metabolic Syndrome
    2. Explain to them it is a life threatening condition
    3. Engage patients and provide them with personalized tools for change best suited to them
  • Finally, Jennifer Sygo, Registered Dietitian closed the conference by sharing practical tips for helping clients make meaningful nutirition and lifestyle changes to achieve their personal health goals. There is no magic diet – rather, the best diet for weight loss is the one that works for you and you can stick to it. Dietitians provide credible, evidence-based information, and translate the science into the context of the whole diet for consumers to understand.

Veggies are Trending for Culinary Inspirations

Pictured: Cohen’s Broccoli Dogs - grilled and smoked broccoli sautéed in broccoli oil, and served with a side of broccoli kraut and broccoli rabe chips.

Pictured: Cohen’s Broccoli Dogs – grilled and smoked broccoli sautéed in broccoli oil, and served with a side of broccoli kraut and broccoli rabe chips.

“Anyone can cook a hamburger, leave vegetables to the professionals.”

That’s Amanda Cohen’s mantra. The Canadian born chef and owner of Dirt Candy restaurant in NYC is on to something with her vegetable inspired menu. Here are highlights from our interview with Cohen.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Cohen: I was born in Ottawa but grew up in Toronto. I came to New York to go to NYU and never looked back. I wet to the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Chef’s Training Program and after that I worked in pretty much every single restaurant I could for about 10 years. I realized that no one was going to give me a chance to cook the kind of food I wanted to cook, so I opened the original Dirt Candy in 2008. It’s been going like gangbusters ever since.

What inspired you to focus on vegetables only?

Cohen: There are hundreds of steak houses, thousands of seafood restaurants, millions of hamburger restaurants, but Dirt Candy is the only restaurant that only focuses on vegetables. I’m not making vegetarian food, and I’m not making fish with a lot of vegetable sides. I’m cooking vegetables. I’m sitting here in my kitchen and running it like a lab, seeing how far I can push each vegetable and what kind of flavor I can get out of them. No one else is doing this, so for me, it’s like being in the Wild West. There are no rules, and no one telling me what I should do. I love it!

What are vegetables so tricky to work with?

Cohen: Vegetables are tricky because they have no fat…fat carries flavor, so you have to add [flavor] yourself. Also, vegetables have a high water content that you have to get rid of somehow when you cook them. And finally, vegetables have a uniform texture throughout and don’t have the different flavours and textures that say a big chunk of steak will have. To make vegetables taste good, you really have to work.

Tell us about your Broccoli Dogs!

Cohen: I spent three months trying to make them work before throwing everything out and starting from scratch, which took another four weeks. I experimented with 38 different doughs before finding the right one I use for the bun.

Any plans to open a Dirt Candy in Canada sometime??

Cohen: I wish!

Snack Attack

Canadians are snacking more than ever and their snacking habits will continue to rise in the foreseeable future. According to a recent report by US based Hartman group, 56% of people snacked three or more times a day. This is a significant increase from the 1990’s when only 20% cent of people said they snacked frequently.

Today’s snacking revolution may be fuelled by changing lifestyles and demographics in which people don’t find the time to make full meals and prefer the simplicity of eating snacks.  US consumer data found that 33% of adults eat an early morning snack, while 55 % have a mid-morning snack that includes portable items such as yogurt, baked goods and snack bars. The most common afternoon snacks were chips and fruit. Canadian kids are also big snackers with the average school aged child eating about 4 snacks a day to fill their hunger gap. Typical lunch box snacks include an apple, mini-carrots, mini-yogurt, snack bar and a treat such as a cookie, according to Canadian Grocer magazine.

The food industry has taken notice of the snacking trend as is evidenced by the growing number of snack food choices available in grocery stores and restaurants.  Snacks can be a part of your healthy diet if you choose wisely. From a nutrition perspective, the quality and quantity of the snack matters! Consider our top tips for choosing healthy snacks:

  1. Make a snack that includes at least 2 of the 4 food groups in Canada’s Food Guide.
  2. Look for snacks that offer protein and fibre to help you feel full for longer.
  3. Reach for Mother Nature’s fast food – vegetables and fruit! They’re great snack options and generally, vegetables tend to contain less natural sugar than fruit.
  4. Read food labels. Look for snacks that contain 250 calories or less.
  5. Limit the salty and sweet snacks like chips, cookies and candy.