Archive for March, 2015

Cure Commuter Cravings this #NutritionMonth

March 31st, 2015 No Comments

It’s the final day of Nutrition Month. Dietitians of Canada’s theme has resonated for many on eating well at work ‘Eating 9 to 5!’ At the end of a busy workday, food decisions may be more impulsive; individuals may be more susceptible to environmental food cues such as vending machine or coffee shop transit treats. Here are some strategies to usher you and your munchies home!

1. Long commute? Before you head home, grab a drink to wet your whistle.

Staying hydrated helps us feel refreshed and fight fatigue. Here are a few super sips to pack ahead or pick up while waiting for transit:

  • Water. Plain or fizzy, it’s Mother Nature’s elixir! Bring a reusable bottle to work daily and refill it with fresh water before you leave.
  • Latte. Frothy and filled with nutrient-rich, hydrating milk. Go plain and low fat, without sugary syrups or whipped cream. Try decaf to cut the caffeine.
  • Tea. Ask for green, black or herbal tea. Skip the sugar; enjoy the taste of the tea itself.

2. Avoid pre-dinner munchies. Pack healthy snacks for the commute home.
Need a snack to enjoy on the commute home so you don’t eat your way through dinner preparation? Here are five portable, flavourful snacks that will last in your lunch bag until the end of your workday:

  • Fruit and veggies – an apple, a pear, a small bunch of grapes or cherry tomatoes
  • Small portions of trail mix with whole grain cereal, dried fruit, nuts and seeds
  • Homemade whole grain muffins
  • Spicy roasted chickpeas mixed with popcorn
  • Plain, high-fibre, lower-sugar cereal, granola or nut bars

3. Snack time! Dietitians reveal what’s in their drawers.
A dietitian’s snacking motto is like a Girl Guide: be prepared. Check out what dietitians keep at work to snack better.

Desk Drawer:

  • Pre-portioned packs of almonds, pistachios or pumpkin seeds
  • Small containers of whole grain cereal
  • Homemade whole grain granola bars or muffins
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Snack-size cans of light tuna
  • Green, black and herbal tea bags
  • Real utensils and hand sanitizer
  • Water bottle

Lunchroom Fridge Drawer:

  • Veggies and fruit
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Black bean dip, lentil dip and hummus
  • Milk for drinking and stirring into coffee, tea or cereal

4. Craving a snack for the commute? If you’re in a pinch, reach for better vending machine choices.

If the vending machine is your only choice when hunger hits, here are 10 snacks to reach for:

1. Fresh fruit

2. Cheese and crackers

3. Veggie-and-dip packs

4. Whole grain granola or cereal bars

5. Seed or nut bars

6. Plain popcorn

7. Nuts, seeds and trail mix

8. Unsalted pretzels

9. Tuna-and-crackers kits

10. Yogurt

Don’t forget about healthy vending machine drinks, such as water, milk and low-sodium 100% vegetable juice. If your workplace doesn’t have healthy choices, ask them to make some changes so you can have the choice to eat well at work all year long!

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2015.ca.

Bookmark and Share

Posted in Eating Vortex, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

Dump the Midday Slump this #NutritionMonth

March 25th, 2015 2 Comments

Yes folks, by now you are well aware that March is national Nutrition Month. I have been featuring Dietitians of Canada’s theme: eating well at work ‘Eating 9 to 5!’ This week’s focus is that afternoon fading ebb – the midday slump. Humanoids can only handle so much work, stress and screen time. It helps to plan ways to dump that midday slump, so read on!

1. Midday slump setting in? No need for caffeine! Get back up with energy-boosting habits.

Try these three healthy habits to help yourself skip the slump:

  • Move it! Stand up during phone calls, walk to deliver messages instead of emailing, or do a few stretches at your desk.
  • Grab a small snack. If you’re hungry, have a snack with carbs to fuel your brain and protein for longer-lasting energy. Dip carrot sticks in nut butter, or enjoy cottage cheese with fruit.
  • Drink water. Staying hydrated helps you avoid that sleepy feeling. Add cucumber, lemon and mint to perk up your cup. Replenish often so you can keep on sipping before a slump sets in.
  • Thirsty? Some sweet drinks are more like dessert. Swap your sip!

2. Did you know? There’s a big difference between a snack and a treat. Snack smart!

Snacking is on the rise in Canada. We’re typically twice-a-day snackers, with more than 34% of Canadians reaching for afternoon snacks to bridge the hunger gap.

Snacking can be healthy if you’re hungry between meals; however, there’s a difference between a treat and a snack. Treats, such as cookies, chips or chocolate, are low in nutrients and best saved for occasional enjoyment.

Dietitians recommend smart snacking! Choose small portions of nutrient-rich foods to stay energized and satisfied. Nutritious snacks include a piece of fruit and a handful of nuts, whole grain crackers with cheese, yogurt with granola, or veggies with hummus.

3. Give your brain a boost with dietitians’ top 10 smart snacks to pack in your lunch bag.
Smart snacks are rich in nutrients, with carbohydrates to fuel your brain, fibre to fill you up and protein to help energy last longer. Pack these top 10 dietitian-recommended snacks in your lunch bag:

1. Whole grain crackers with a hard-boiled egg

2. Handful of grapes with a chunk of cheese

3. Veggie sticks with hummus

4. Apple slices with almond butter

5. Fresh fruit added to yogurt

6. Handful of nuts with dried fruit

7. Edamame and mint-infused water

8. Snap peas with black bean dip

9. Banana with peanut butter

10. Crunchy roasted lentils and green tea

4. Here’s the bitter truth about the sugar content of popular sweet drinks:

  • A large (473 mL) specialty coffee with syrup and whipped cream has the equivalent of 17 sugar cubes.
  • A large (541 mL) fast-food smoothie made with juice concentrate has as much sugar as 20 cream-filled chocolate cookies.
  • A big (500 mL) sweetened bubble tea has the same amount of sugar as two cans of pop.
  • A large (563 mL) coffee shop “double-double” has the same calories and more sugar than a chocolate glazed donut.

Swap your sweet sips for water, small smoothies made with fruit or plain lattes, tea or coffee.

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2015.ca.

Bookmark and Share

Posted in Eating Vortex, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Who's Zoomin' Who?? | 2 Comments »

Loving Lunch a Bunch this #NutritionMonth

March 18th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve been following the Dietitians of Canada theme of eating well at work as we sing along ‘Eating 9 to 5!’ throughout March, which is Nutrition Month. Statistics show that some love it and some leave it – 37% of Canadians say they prepare lunch at home while 36% admit to skipping it – good grief. If you want any hope to charge through the afternoon it’s a good idea to plug in your battery with nutrient rich choices. You don’t want to end up like Dilbert and be asleep in your cubicle in the afternoon, do you?

Here are top tips to help you get good grub in your tummy at lunch to revitalize your workday:

1. Give your lunch bag a one-two punch! Perk up your packed lunch with four tasty energizing options.

You’ll love these quick, simple and tasty make-and-take lunches:

  • Layer black bean dip, avocado and peppery arugula on a rustic whole-grain baguette for a simple sandwich with big flavour.
  • Pack hard-boiled eggs, cheese, fresh veggies, a few olives and whole-grain crackers for a super snack-like lunch.
  • Mix lentils, roasted sweet potato and red peppers, quinoa and a drizzle of lemony dressing for a protein-packed salad bowl.
  • Toss light tuna, snow peas and grape tomatoes with leftover whole grain pasta, basil-filled pesto and a pinch of chili flakes – this dish is great cold or heated.

2. Lunching at work? Think outside the cubicle. Start a healthy lunch club.

Want a healthy homemade lunch at work but don’t have time to make it? Form a lunch club with co-workers and take turns making and bringing a nutritious lunch.

Keep it simple with a salad, soup or sandwich club. You could also have fun with weekly themes, like cuisine from different cultures or dishes featuring specific nutrient-rich ingredients, such as legumes, cheese, barley or colourful vegetables.

Whether it’s daily, weekly or monthly, a workplace lunch club lets you enjoy a healthy homemade lunch and share good eating habits with your colleagues.

3. No time to pack lunch? Navigate the food court or cafeteria with dietitian-approved tips.

I spy with my little eye something that is healthier:

  • Want salad satisfaction? Choose dark leafy greens, colourful veggies, protein-packed legumes (beans, peas and lentils) and whole grains such as barley or quinoa. Drizzle dressing lightly.
  • Love pizza? Get a thin whole grain crust, load on the veggie toppings, stick to a single layer of cheese and steer clear of salty, high-fat meats.
  • Craving a sandwich? Choose whole grain bread. Double up on veggies. Skip deli meats – go grilled instead. Get spreads on the side and use just a little.
  • Satisfied by stir-fries? Ask for extra veggies and less sauce with your chicken, tofu or shrimp stir-fry. Choose brown rice instead of white.

4. Eating out at work? Make better choices with expert tips from dietitians.

Keep dietitians’ tried-and-true tips in mind when you’re eating out:

  • Downsize it. Ask for half-portions or save part of your meal for tomorrow’s lunch.
  • Choose steamed – or baked, broiled, grilled or roasted – instead of fried.
  • Double up on veggies. Choose leafy green salads or cooked veggies for sides. Pile veggies on your wrap, pizza or burger.
  • Don’t get too saucy! Salad dressings, spreads and sauces can add a lot of fat, calories and sodium. Get them on the side and use just enough for flavour.

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2015.ca.

Bookmark and Share

Posted in Eating Vortex, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

Manage the Minefields at Work this #NutritionMonth

March 11th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , ,

Yes folks, March is national Nutrition Month and I will be featuring the theme of eating well at work ‘Eating 9 to 5!’ throughout. I’m focusing on meetings, events and the workplace this week. Pat Benetar sings that Love is a Battlefield well her sequel to that should be Work is a Minefield! Depending on the day, there could be food traps galore, stress on stress with a side order of stress, not to mention peer pressure to nosh along with the in crowd… oh boy are we celebrating another birthday? What gives!!

Dietitians of Canada has you covered with a wide array of solutions to your common workplace food challenges:

1. Did you know? In a company of 100 staff, celebrating each birthday adds eight slices of cake a month!

Work events focused on food may be causing you to overeat. That’s because eating with others can influence what and how much you eat. You might feel pressure to eat to fit in with your peers or find it tough to resist treats.

Try these tips to avoid workplace food traps:

  • Celebrate everyone’s birthday together once a month.
  • Skip sweets at events. Enjoy fresh fruit platters instead.
  • Don’t offer food at meetings. If you do, order better choices.
  • Opt out of Friday fast-food lunches. Brown bag it, then walk ’n’ talk after you eat.

2. Manage workplace munchies with Mother Nature’s candy dish – a big bowl of fresh fruit.

Is a workplace candy dish tempting you to eat too many sweet treats? Research shows that when treat-type foods are close by at work, you’re more likely to nibble.

Trying to resist those treats can be distracting, leading to less productive work time.

Here’s a sweet idea: keep workplace common areas free of treats. Instead, put out a fresh fruit bowl. Keep it free, charge a small fee or take turns filling the bowl with a variety of fruit.

3. Get the most out of your meetings. Order brain food, not drain food!

Next time you’re planning a meeting that’s scheduled over a mealtime, order food that will help keep attendees focused and productive:

  • Put pitchers of plain water on the table to quench thirst, boost hydration and keep workers alert.
  • Keep lunch light with salads and wraps filled with veggies and protein such as chicken, cheese, eggs or legumes (beans, peas or lentils).
  • Replace sweet desserts; offer fresh fruit or small portions of nutrient-rich snacks such as yogurt or whole grain mini muffins.
  • Be sure to schedule an activity break to keep everyone energized.

4. Is workplace stress eating away at you? Don’t feed your feelings with food!

If you reach for a sweet treat when you’re stressed at work, you’re not alone. Studies show that stress increases the desire to eat for some people. High-fat, sugary snacks are common comfort foods chosen to cope with stress.

The next time you’re stressed at work and craving a treat, ask yourself: am I hungry? If the craving comes from stress rather than hunger, food won’t satisfy it. If eating to deal with stress becomes a habit, it could be bad for your waistline. Don’t let food be your comfort.

5. Want a career path advantage? Add healthy eating to your to-do list!

Eating well at work can boost your concentration, productivity and vitality. It can also reduce missed days of work by helping to boost your overall health. Fuel your workday the healthy way with these five helpful tips:

  • Bring lunch from home so you don’t have to eat out.
  • Take a break away from your desk to enjoy your lunch.
  • Reduce boredom or stress by taking a brisk walk instead of nibbling.
  • Pack smart snacks so you can skip the vending machine’s sugary and salty treats.
  • Hydrate with water instead of caffeinated drinks.

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2015.ca.

Bookmark and Share

Posted in Eating Vortex, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin', Who's Zoomin' Who?? | No Comments »

Crush the Morning Rush this #NutritionMonth!

March 4th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Well folks, the calendar page has turned yet again. What do you know, it’s March already and March is nutrition month! This year Dietitians of Canada is featuring ways to eat well at work, focusing on ‘Eating 9 to 5!’ Sing along with me during the month, won’t you?!

An Ipsos Reid poll they conducted showed 45% of people find it challenging to eat well at work. Well that’s no surprise. For many, most of weekday waking hours are spent at work. It makes so much sense to extend our healthy eating goals and efforts from home into the workplace.

This week I’m focusing on rushed mornings. “How did that “snooze” button get pushed yet again?” you ask. We all live in the era of the “time crunch” but it feels like we’re hit hardest as we roll out of bed. Decisions, decisions, decisions galore as we wipe the sleepies out of our eyes to put our best face forward and take on the day. I don’t know about you, but easing up on morning stress is how I prefer to start my day. Missing breakfast isn’t an option in my home, so I get it ready the night before.

When you decide and prepare for breakfasts whether on weekends or each evening, that’s one less decision to make in the morning. It’s already decided! Fast and easy is another rule of the day.

Beat morning mayhem and eat well all day long with these helpful tips from Dietitians of Canada for prepping meals and snacks the night before:

  • Put dinner leftovers into containers and refrigerate for tomorrow’s lunch.
  • Portion and pack lunchbox snacks, such as fruit, vegetables with hummus, or roasted nuts.
  • Fill up and refrigerate your reusable water bottle for sipping at work.
  • Prep breakfast: wash and chop fruit, get out the breakfast dishes and set up the coffee maker.
  • Get ready for tomorrow night’s dinner. Cut veggies, cook grains and marinate meat.

Here are more top tips from Dietitians of Canada so you can drive by the drive thru:

  • Make barley, quinoa or oat porridge and refrigerate in portions. Reheat with mix-ins, such as fruit and seeds, in the morning.
  • Bake and freeze whole grain muffins, pancakes and mini frittatas.
  • Stock up on ready-to-eat items such as fruit and containers of yogurt, and pack individual portions of trail mix to grab ’n’ go.
  • Mix up some muesli with toasted oats, dates, coconut and almonds to enjoy with fruit and yogurt.
  • Make hard-boiled eggs for breakfast on the run. Refrigerate for up to one week.

For tasty make-ahead recipes, visit Cookspiration – that popular app.

Start the day off right by having a fast, easy and balanced breakfast to get you through the morning.

Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at www.nutritionmonth2015.ca

Bookmark and Share

Posted in Eating Vortex, Foodie Fundamentals, Miss Behavin' | No Comments »