Posts Tagged ‘Nutrient Rich Food Index’

Don’t be a Dairy Contrarian!

April 29th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , ,

I was grocery shopping this past weekend and found myself by the dairy case. To my dismay there was an array of weak milk imitations from soy to cachew to goat’s milk, what gives?! I almost let out a loud “Nayyyyyy” as I had difficulty finding my usual choice of pure and delicious skim milk… I remembered that a book was launched recently poo pooing Mother Nature’s nearly perfect food. It’s unfortunate that it caught media’s attention. It’s a mad mad mad mad mad world, sadly.

Call me a dairy maiden, I don’t really care. But when your nutritional goal is to count a bouquet of nutrients and not just calories the last items you want to omit from your shopping list are dairy products!

Some decades ago I was one of the authors of a paper published in The Lancet evaluating milk’s impressive and lengthy nutritional profile. Actually, I was the pion who did the calculations, reviewing nutrient requirements of various age groups and comparing these to milk’s nutrient profile. This work convinced me of the many nutritional attributes of milk. That work sold me to forever be a dairy queen and to milk this group for what it’s worth!

The nay sayers spend their time classifying dairy products as simply a food chocked full of calcium and protein. They couldn’t be more wrong. This nearly perfect food has a vast array of 16 essential nutrients – it’s impressive. There’s so much more to dairy foods than simply the calcium and protein. It’s difficult to make up the nutritional shortfall if you omit it. Today, Canadian’s diets lack nutritional quality. There is much more to food that just calories: the nutrient profile of the food and natural nutrient richness are paramount. Milk has this in spades.

I dare you to walk down the mile long beverage aisles in your grocery store and compare the nutritional profile of every other product to milk. Everything else pails in comparison. So when experts downplay the importance of milk and dairy products in your diet ask them what you should drink in its place! Undertake a food modelling exercise while you’re at it to convince you.

Incidentally, those so called milk replacement drinks require you to use your spatula to scoop out the nutritional goodness from the sediment at the bottom of the carton, UG. So much for the “natural veneer” they paint their products to be. Who needs that aggravation when you can drink the true natural goodness of milk and not have to give it another thought.

Check out my ebook Skinny on Slim The Little Black Dress of Diet Books and review my four [not 44] most fundamental food-related suggestions in Chapter 7 and don’t give the dairy contrarians another thought.

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Spring Shake UP!

April 8th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

Spring has sprung despite Mother Nature not getting the memo! It’s time to awaken from that winter slumber and shift gears. It’s time to change that winter tire that is situated in your mid-drift and shake up your routine!

Wake UP – Let’s work on getting all of the zzz’s you need this spring and onward. Not getting enough sleep because you’re burning the candle at both ends isn’t good for health and well being along with your weight.

Shake UP – Do some hippy hippy shake and work in new moves throughout the day as you build up your interval training… working in 15 minutes of moving at least two times a day. If you’re a chronic sitter, work in a few more to get your blood flowing, muscles working to refresh yourself.

Make UP – Kiss and make up with your past food foibles adopted during winter hibernation. You have a new slate of possibilities. Instead of beating yourself up, lift yourself up.

Bake UP – Cook yourself up a healthy and stealthy scheme with ideas from my ebook Skinny on Slim the Little Black Dress of Diet Books. A good spring cleaning is warranted and best started by purging those pillow sacks of junk food and replacing them with a rainbow of produce grown by Mother Nature herself.

Break UP – Nix that negativity of the dark side where excuses dwell like a cesspool of doom. Lighten up and replace negative self talk with prose of kindness to stoke your motivation.

Take UP – Tighten the screws on your eating behaviour such as slowing down your eating pace while actually tasting your food and enjoying it to the max. Drop the caveman routine and use utensils and a plate, sitting down every time you eat to savour the flavour of your food. These are two essential behaviours that’ll help you get results STAT.

Put a spring in your step with a mini shake up of your repertoire to shift you in a positive direction.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Treat Your Body Right, Build a Healthy Lifestyle

February 25th, 2015 No Comments Tags: , , , , , , ,

When you’re in good health it’s easy to take it for granted. That ability to take on the day like a bull fighter is great. When you’re totally on your game it’s a snap to add more “to-do’s” to your day because you have the time and zest to do them. You embrace your day effortlessly with vim and vigour.

Take a few weeks ago; I joined a special someone on a business trip to Geneva. My down time was spent taking long walks in the old town, along the serene Lake Geneva looking for Shania Twain, meandering near the United Nations building and more. Each evening was spent taking another stroll to and from dinner, not giving walking an extra few miles a second thought. We probably clocked 7 to 11 miles each day to’ing and fro’ing.

Coming home on the plane I sat near a fellow who coughed the entire flight. I was doomed. The next day I succumbed to this year’s flu bug, UG. I truly can’t remember the last time I was so sick. You know the score, high fever, achy muscles, a splitting head ache and left with little energy even to sip water. I turned from a free spirit who could walk 10 miles in a day to a shut in who was winded after shuffling 10 steps, what gives!

It got me thinking about what a blessing good health truly is. During one of my usual daily Twittersphere scans I read a brash tweet that read “I know what’s good for my health and choose NOT to do it.” Hmmmm, I thought how strange it is to deliberately do the opposite of what’s good for me. As I recuperated that week how good it felt to do things that made me feel better. As I tend to say, “don’t mess with the machine!

It was wonderful to regain my energy to bundle up and head out for a daily walk again. It felt great to unravel my mat to bend and stretch and reach for the stars. I also listened attentively to my body’s cues for the whole foods it craved to help whip my systems back into shape – one day I yearned for homemade apple sauce; another homemade soup; then to eggs and toast; to fresh berries and plain Greek-style yogurt. I knew I was really coming around when I pined for ribs!

Establishing a healthy lifestyle is the best gift you can give yourself. Having it helps you be the best you can absolutely be. Your body truly is your temple, so treat it right!

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Shades of Grey 5 MORE Ways

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

Thought I’d follow that “shades of grey” theme from last week. There certainly are a multitude of grey zone issues in the realm of food and nutrition. I thought I’d feature a few more for you to digest!

Test, Test, Put Your Favourite Food to My Eating Satisfaction Test - Gotta love a test involving savouring your most favourite food, right? I used to be in love with anything deep fried, salted that went CRUNCH, until I put it to this test and it fell off my favourite food list. Go figure! My love of pie however, has endured…

Thoughts on Healthy – Everyone who eats is a self promoted nutrition expert, it would seem. From, “Eat your carrots!” to “Don’t let Timbits touch your lips!” and more. What’s my favourite line of singer Barry White “…too much of anything’s not good for you baby….” Right on Barry!

Weighing in on “Full” – Why is it that fullness and satiety are so elusive and ever changing? Here are some tips to help you get more satisfaction with less which’ll bring you double the joy AND more eating enjoyment!

Grey Matter Matters! – This is less about grey zone and  more about grey matter…I write on about eating well and getting fit, but alas I have spent too little time writing about ways to nurture your noodle – your bountiful brain. Grey matter should be top of mind!

What’s the best diet out there? – This is “greyist” question of them all! What can I say in short: own it, stick with science, don’t mess with the machine, follow the loser and enjoy the journey!

So there you have it folks, another smattering of grey zone food and nutrition issues to mull over as February rolls on. Anyone can manage in the absolutes of black and white, but the grey zone is where real complexities lie.
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Shades of Grey 5 Ways

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

We live in a world filled with shades of grey. I assume you can create your own steamy 50 Shades of Grey sequel for Valentine’s without advice from this square RD! It is good, however, to learn to manage life in the grey zone on many fronts. The world of food and nutrition is no different, there are numerous “grey zone” issues to make sense of. So here you go a compilation of food and nutrition grey zone issues. Some food for thought to help build your love affair with food and activity. Enjoy!

Thinking of trying a diet? Put it to my Thanksgiving Dinner Test - Want to know what I think of any diet plan you’re contemplating? Put it through my simple test to see if it passes, if it doesn’t don’t give it another thought. Save your effort and money.

What’s so super about “super food” you ask? – What’s the “food jag du jour”? Is quinoa still in or is it barley? Should I awash myself with droplets of hallowed vitamin water…drip, drop, drip? Does an apple a day still keep the doctor away? Let’s get to the bottom of what’s really super, shall we!

Enjoy Maxing Out Nutrient Richness – Get real with your food. Now is a perfect time to up the natural nutrient richness in your diet. Calorie counting is SOOOO yesterday. Put the abacus away already! Fill yourself up with natural goodness containing more nutrients. Your body will smile back at you when you do!

Keeping Your Activity Routine Flexible – So much has been written about staying limber. Even more needs to written on how to keep our activity routines fluid and flexible to help us keep active every season, on busy work days, on fun holidays, when the sun’s shining or when snow is pelting. I know one thing for sure, KEEP MOVING and while you’re at it, make it a double (2 times a day!)

Grey Zone on Bad Food, Good Food & Piglets - One of my readers outed her “ice cream lovin’” Dad a while back. So I tried to set the record straight. Now I have a regular reader, guess which one?

So there you have it folks, a smattering of grey zone food and nutrition issues to mull over during this month that’s been very grey of late. There is beauty in grey, so embrace it. Once you learn to manage in that zone, you’ll know how to spot garbage when you read it and will be sailing right along…upward and onward ho!
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Portuguese Style Roast Chicken Piri Piri

December 15th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , , ,

I found myself in the engaging country of Portugal last month. The countryside, the people and the food are all a delight to experience. On one fine day we were treated to a family style dinner that filled up our tummies and tantalized our tastebuds. Roast chicken is one food you can rarely make a mistake with and easy to perfect over time. Give this a try!

Ingredients
1 roast chicken or chicken pieces
3-5 peeled and crushed garlic cloves
dash of paprika
vinegar

Instructions
1. The day prior to serving, prepare the marinade of garlic, paprika and vinegar into a paste and baste the thawed chicken. Cover and refrigerate.
2. Roast or barbecue the chicken as per usual instructions.
3. Serve with super hot piri piri sauce to dip your chicken in if you like heat! Make a few veggie dishes to accompany your fab chicken. Enjoy!

Commentary
This chicken was delectable: a simple family meal made to the nines! I am now adopting a Portuguese cooking style when I make chicken and am recommending to everyone I know to do the same. Give it a try!

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Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot! Making Arrabiatta Sauce with Nan

November 24th, 2014 No Comments Tags: , , ,

Despite having a procedure done on her eye last week, my Nan was adamant not to cancel our Arrabiatta Sauce making lesson. She is one gritty Italian who’s north of 80 and I chose not to argue with her… this time anyways. That food loving Ukrainian I know put this request in a while back when we started our lessons, so Nan & Pops had the ingredients ready to transform into saucy deliciousness. Venture into the heat with this speecy-spicy recipe that tantalizes the senses and does not disappoint!

Ingredients
8 hot yellow banana peppers, washed
canola oil
1/2 cup white wine
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 tsp each dried basil, parsley, oregano
salt & ground pepper to taste
4, 680mL bottles crushed stewed tomatoes
1m 400mL can diced stewed tomatoes
1 rack pork back ribs

Instructions
1) Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F. Cut your ribs into individual or double segments and arrange on a baking sheet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Slow cook in the oven for 90 minutes. Set aside to cool (make ahead of time before making your sauce).
2) In a large saucepan add canola oil and heat to medium, low. Using hand protection when handling the peppers on a cutting board cut the stems off and discard, then cut the peppers lengthwise then widthwise adding each to the saucepan, seeds and all (the seeds have the heat, so beware). Saute the peppers until softened and browned, stirring occasionally. Add white wine and simmer for 2 minutes.
3) Add all of the remaining ingredients then stir to combine, including the cooked ribs. Allow to simmer in the pot covered with a lid on medium low for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Serve over boiled pasta of your choice and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy to the MAX!

Commentary
This is one steamy proposition that transforms taste to a new level. We set the table with a tablecloth gift offering I brought back from Portugal and shared fun holiday stories during dinner.

We served another famous soup of Nan’s first – Acini di Pepe Soup that I made special to help her recuperation post eye surgery. Nice to see that it worked!

We enjoyed the pasta and ribs with fabulous Okanagan Wine and even better company. It was great to be the victim of this spicy food hangover, lucky me! What’s the next lesson on Nan, your famous Vodka Sauce?

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