Category: Healthy Eating

Ask the Dietitian: Is there any nutritional benefit to coconut sugar or date sugar?

Coconut sugar (Istock)

 Date sugar (Bing)

You may have seen recipes that say ingredients like coconut sugar and date sugar contribute nutritional benefits. Although there are a few elements in these sugars that make them different from regular sugars, in reality, coconut sugar and date sugar are almost identical to regular cane sugar in terms of nutrients and calories. Both consist mainly of sugars, which are simple carbohydrates. Diabetes Canada states sugars may be eaten in moderation by people with diabetes but there is no advantage to those with diabetes in using one type of sugar over another.

Coconut sugar is also called palm sugar and comes from the dehydrated sap of the coconut palm. Coconut sugar may contain some trace minerals found in the coconut palm like iron, zinc, magnesium and B-Vitamins.  These nutrients support good health, but coconut sugar does not contain enough of them per serving to offer a measurable benefit. Coconut sugar also contains inulin, a type of soluble fibre. Fibre is a more complex type of carbohydrate and it slows down the absorption of the sweetener which is linked to a lower risk of blood sugar spikes.  Coconut sugar may impart a nutty flavor and is recommended as a substitute for brown sugar in food preparation.

Date sugar is simply dried dates ground into a fine powder. Date sugar has the trace nutrients found in whole dates, including potassium, calcium, and antioxidants. The fibre in a teaspoon of date sugar is nutritionally insignificant. The main drawback to date sugar is that it doesn’t melt or dissolve completely in water, so its uses are somewhat limited. Replacing brown sugar in recipes, such as banana bread and bar cookies, or sprinkling some on yogurt or fruit are suggested uses.

Bottom line: If you prefer to use coconut sugar or date sugar, go ahead and enjoy it. But remember it’s really just like eating another type of sugar. It provides just as many calories and carbohydrates as regular sugar: about 15 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrate per teaspoon. All added sugars should only be used in moderation. Speak to a dietitian about your personal nutrition questions.

Sources: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Today’s Dietitian, Diabetes Canada

Inflammation & Nutrition

Image: Shutterstock. Description: Selection of healthy food reducing chronic inflammation salmon fish avocado seeds nuts leafy green vegetables berries on a white rustic wooden table.

What is inflammation & why does it matter?

Inflammation is a natural and protective response by the body’s immune system to an injury, infection or harmful substances.  Symptoms of inflammation include redness, heat, swelling and pain.

There are two types of inflammation: acute and chronic. Imagine cutting your finger or scraping your knee. What happens? The area turns red, is painful and perhaps starts swelling. This is acute inflammation – your immune system is sending white blood cells to your injured finger or knee to protect it. In this way, inflammation is helpful and essential and speeds up the healing process.

In contrast, chronic inflammation happens when the body continues to respond for a long time as if it was under attack by a foreign or unwanted substance. Chronic inflammation does not help the body because it fights against its own cells by mistake. Some diseases or medical conditions associated with inflammation are rheumatoid arthritis, where many joints throughout the body are permanently inflamed, psoriasis – a chronic skin disease, and inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.  These chronic inflammatory diseases can last for years or even a lifetime. Chronic inflammation also contributes to heart disease, type-2 diabetes, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and some allergic conditions.

What you can do about managing inflammation?

With all the conditions that involve inflammation, no wonder people are interested in food choices to help reduce ongoing harmful chronic inflammation. Overall good nutrition is key to enhancing immunity and providing antioxidants that lower the stress of inflammation. You may be wondering about specific foods that have been called out as part of the ‘anti-inflammatory diet’.   Here are FIVE types of foods to keep on top of your list that may help reduce chronic inflammation:

1.Foods rich in omega- 3 fats

  • Eat oily fish 2 – 3 times / week (salmon, herring, sardines, mackerel, anchovies, trout)
  • Replace regular eggs with omega-3 eggs
  • Choose plant-based sources of omega-3 fats including flax oil, ground flax seeds and walnuts

2.Antioxidant rich vegetables and fruit

  • Look for colour – dark green, red, orange, yellow, purple and blue – they are chock full of antioxidants
  • Enjoy a variety of vegetables and fruit everyday – make them half your plate at each meal

3. Fibre

  • Choose fibre rich foods such as vegetables, fruit, pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils) and whole grains. High fibre foods help support your gut health and nourish the beneficial bacteria that help fight inflammation and disease.

4. Herbs and spices

  • Add flavour with cinnamon, ginger and turmeric which seem to supress inflammation, but evidence is unclear about how often and how much to eat. Have fun exploring some dietitian approved recipes that enhance flavour with these herbs and spices.

5. Protein

  • Eat protein foods to build antibodies which play a role in supporting a healthy immune system. Include fatty fish (see tip #1 above) and lean white meat in your diet. Use cooking methods that do not char meat such as poaching, stewing, and steaming. Try acidic marinades such as lemon, lime vinegar or yogurt for a health and flavour boost. Acid ingredients tenderize meat and studies show that marinating meats may reduce harmful compounds that can form on meat exposed to high cooking temperatures.
  • Choose plant proteins including tofu, tempeh, edamame, beans, chickpeas, lentils, nuts and seeds.

 Bottom line

There is no single anti-inflammatory or miracle food!  However, eating an overall healthy diet is an important way to help manage inflammation.  In addition,  getting enough sleep , engaging in regular physical activity as well as other lifestyle factors (such as NOT smoking)  have a direct impact on lowering inflammation.

A registered dietitian can break down the anti-inflammatory diet for you into easy-to-follow steps and provide you with a variety of enjoyable ways to eat well.  Contact us to find out more about our personalized nutrition counselling sessions.

 

Dietitian or Nutritionist? What’s the Difference?

There is often a mix-up about the difference between a dietitian and a nutritionist.  Many people mistakenly use the terms “Dietitian” and “Nutritionist” interchangeably but there are big differences between the qualifications and the protection of your health. To be sure you are accessing the most qualified nutrition professional, look for the initials RD or PDt (DtP in French) after the health professional’s name or ask – are you a dietitian? Remember EVERY dietitian is also a nutritionist but NOT every nutritionist is a registered dietitian.

Let’s take a closer look at the important differences that can impact your health and wellness.

What is a Dietitian?

  • The title ‘Dietitian’ is protected by provincial laws across Canada just like a nurse, dentist, physician and pharmacist.
  • Dietitians are highly educated and trained. They have a university degree in foods and nutrition. After graduating they undergo comprehensive training, both on the job and in universities and then they have to pass a rigorous professional licensing exam.
  • Dietitians are the only regulated health professionals in the field of nutrition. This means that they must belong to a regulatory body and adhere to their standards, otherwise they will be penalized with legal action.
  • Regulated by a Health Professional College the public is protected and has access to accredited and licensed nutrition advice from Dietitians.
  • Dietitians are held accountable for safe, competent and ethical nutrition services throughout their career.

What is a Nutritionist*?

  • The title ‘Nutritionist’ is NOT protected by law so technically anyone can call themselves a nutritionist.
  • A Nutritionist’s education varies with different levels of training and knowledge. The title nutritionist is often used by those who have completed privately owned training programs that vary in length and rigor.
  • The risk is that unregulated people calling themselves ‘nutritionist’ can offer advice regardless of their education or training which could be dangerous. For example recommending vitamins, minerals herbal products regardless of their knowledge and training in this area could put the public at risk of nutrition misinformation that may result in health-related harm.
  • * In the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Quebec and Nova Scotia the title Nutritionist is also a protected title along with Dietitian.  If you live in these provinces, please refer to your provincial regulations for criteria or send us a question and we’ll be happy to direct you to the source information. Dietitians of Canada – The difference between a dietitian and nutritionist

Why Work with a Dietitian?

We are all hungry for information about nutrition and health, but not all advice out there is credible and evidence-based.  Think about it, you wouldn’t ask a celebrity how to build a safe bridge; you’d ask a professional engineer. You also wouldn’t ask any friend to fill your cavity, you’d ask a dentist. The same thinking should apply for nutrition advice. So dig a little deeper and look for credentials.

If you choose to work with a Dietitian you know they are qualified health professionals who give you life-changing advice for healthy living. Dietitians are passionate about the power of food and help unlock its power for your health and wellness.

Dietitians are the most credible and trusted health professionals who promote health through food and nutrition. You can find out if your nutrition professional is a registered dietitian by checking the College of Dietitians Registry in your province or territory. Many dietitians are also found on the Dietitians of Canada website under ‘find a dietitian’.

As dietitians we are experts at translating the science to help people navigate their food and nutrition related health and wellness journey. Contact us with your questions! We’re ready to help.

Tasty Tomato Soup

This tasty and hearty tomato soup is an all time favourite that you can put together in just 5 minutes.  It’s also budget friendly & nutritious providing veggies & protein. Toss a few pantry staples into a pot, cook for 30 min over a stove and enjoy.

PREP 5 mins COOK 30 min
Makes 5 servings  (1.5 cups / 375 mL each) 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic if, chopped
  • 1 can (28 oz/ 780 ml) tomatoes
  • 1 can (19 oz / 540 mL) white kidney beans, drained & rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp dried basil or oregano
  • 2 cup water or low sodium broth
  • Pinch of salt to taste

Method:

  1. In a pot, combine oil, onion, garlic and sauté for 3-5 min
  2. Add the large can of tomatoes & rinsed can of beans.
  3. Add dried herbs, pepper, water or broth and simmer for about 30 minutes.

Video of how to make it.  Tomato Soup Recipe Cooking IMG_4184

Kitchen & Nutrition Notes:

  • White kidney beans are also called Cannellini beans are large white beans . They are popular in Italian cuisine, particularly in Tuscan dishes. Beans are inexpensive and a great way to boost plant based protein and fibre.
  • Tomatoes’ red pigment comes from lycopene which has antioxidant properties. Foods rich in the red pigment lycopene like tomatoes, have been shown to protect against some kinds of cancer.

Diabetes Nutrition – Top 5 FAQ

November is Diabetes Month and a great time to check in on the concerns of people at risk or living with Diabetes. With so much free information online, as a dietitian I’m often asked questions about facts versus myths. Read on for credible tips and answers to 5 frequently asked questions about nutrition and diabetes.

There are many factors that help to manage diabetes and food is an important one.  We have long known that a balanced diet helps lead to better blood sugar control. But taking care of diabetes can be demanding and implementing a healthy way of eating is easier said than done. Registered Dietitians are here to help you along the way. Contact us for more information and support to help manage diabetes through personal nutrition counselling.

Q: Can I get rid of type 2 diabetes if I stop eating carbs?  

A: Once you have been diagnosed with diabetes you cannot ‘get rid’ of it, but you can find ways to help control it. Through diet and lifestyle changes many people find that they can control blood sugar levels. Your goal should be to manage the amount and type of carbohydrate that meets your body’s needs, not to eliminate carbs. You need the carbohydrates as energy for your brain and other body cells and they also provide many essential nutrients. Set your carbohydrate targets with the help of a healthcare professional.

Q: Do I need to give up fruit since it’s full of carbohydrate?

A: You can still enjoy fruit, you just need to know the amount that’s right for you in your meals and snacks. All fruit (fresh, frozen, dried, and canned without added sugar) are mainly carbohydrate foods. Fruit is a healthy food choice because it contains vitamins, minerals and fibre that are important for overall health. Your dietitian can help create a meal plan that will include the amount of fruit that is right for you.

Q: Is brown sugar better for me than white sugar?

A: No. All types of sugars will affect your blood glucose levels in the same way and are digested in the same way. Sugars differ in colour, flavour and crystal size, but whether it’s honey, brown sugar, agave syrup, brown or white sugar, nutritionally speaking, they are much the same. Your body can’t tell the difference between where the sugars come from and uses them all as easily digested carbohydrates for energy. The key to eating added sugars is to choose them in relatively small amounts and find ways to eat and use less.

Q: How do I read the Nutrition Facts Table for sugars?

A: The Nutrition Facts Table lists total sugars. Check for the word “Carbohydrates” and then look below it to find the amount of sugar (in grams) in one serving of the food. The amount of sugar on the Nutrition Facts Table combines both naturally occurring and added sugars found in the food. Look at the ingredient list to see if a food has added sugars. The Canadian Diabetes Association recommends that added sugars and sweetened foods be used in moderation. Reading Nutrition Labels can teach you about how the foods you buy may affect your blood glucose levels. Registered Dietitians can help with label reading.

Q: How can I stay motivated to take care of myself?

A:  Being newly diagnosed can be an intimidating experience. Taking care of diabetes and getting through your daily responsibilities is demanding. With these challenges it’s understandable that staying motivated is tough. You’re not alone and we have tools and resources to help you succeed and live your healthiest life possible. We’d like to offer some tips to help you get started:

  1. Have a plan
  2. Make small meaningful changes that you can keep up in the long run
  3. Get support

If you’re looking for more 1:1 nutrition support, education and life changing advice to move your diabetes management plan forward reach out to us.

Five growing trends in food innovation

Our world is facing disruption and uncertainty. Yet in this changed world people seek to nourish their bodies to the best of their ability. Consumers have re-evaluated their food and nutrition priorities and in this post we take a closer look at what this means for your business. We joined virtual global conferences including SIAL 2020 and reviewed top notch research articles to study the future of food innovation.  Here is our translation of the 5 growing trends in food innovation that will impact all food and nutrition professionals for the next 5-10 years to come.

  1. Covid 19 disruption in food purchasing
  2. Clean label
  3. Plant based
  4. Food safety
  5. Well-being and immunity

1 Covid 19 disruption in food purchasing

Consumers are looking for new ways to meet their food needs. Less time spent in grocery stores and restaurants means convenience and personalized shopping is essential.

Digital-age solutions are transforming the way grocery stores, food retailers and restaurants operate. Pandemic-impacted brands must adapt and power through by branching out of traditional platforms to sustain consumer engagement.  Discount chains are offering more food brands and premium brands at better value. Have you seen groceries in dollar stores yet? They are priced as close to a dollar as possible.

The line between retail and restaurants continues to blur.  A completely new restaurant concept dubbed as a ‘dark kitchen’ or ‘virtual kitchen’ is rising. These kitchens sell meals exclusively through delivery – no eating in, seating or serving is involved.  Virtual kitchens cook purely for delivery so the food that is produced there must be transported and enjoyed elsewhere.  Third party delivery and distribution channels enable these food businesses to connect with consumers quickly and effectively.

2 Clean labels

Consumers continue to seek clean labels. Although undefined by regulators, shoppers consider ‘clean label foods’ to have familiar sounding ingredients and made simply using fewer ingredients.  Various claims are also sought after including ‘organic’, ‘free from’ and health-related benefits like reduced sugars. Product innovations across all categories are now sharing messages about minimal processing and fewer chemicals as consumers don’t want to see labels packed with additives to extend shelf life.  Some consumers are also evaluating foods’ environmental impact based on climate change and land / water use.

In our work with clients we collaborate with them to simplify food labels and provide meaningful, legally sound claims that address clean-label project goals.

3 Plant based

Gone are the days when plant based was just an ‘alternative’.  Plant-based foods are successfully crossing over into the mainstream and becoming a regular part of people’s diet.  More and more consumers are looking to limit meat or dairy intake based on deeply held values such as ‘eco-health’ or ethical reasons.

This macro trend is driving innovation for dairy and meat substitutes and fish/shellfish alternatives are expected to follow. The key ingredient of interest in food innovation for plant-based foods and beverages is protein, a trend that continues to remain strong.  Consider the variety and diversity of plant based sources of protein including a larger selection of grains and cereals. Consumers are also expecting great taste and an eating experience that is beyond imitation.

What’s holding your plant-based food innovation back from crossing over to the mainstream? As dietitians and food experts we empower our clients to make plant-based foods an everyday healthy choice.

4 Food safety*

Ensuring high food safety standards is becoming a greater concern as people focus on keeping illnesses at bay.  Although there is no evidence to suggest that food is a likely source of transmission of the Covid19 virus it’s critical that all stakeholders protect food safety, animal health, plant health and market access. Everyone has a role to play to bolster and safeguard food. Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is committed to appropriate oversight of domestic production and imported food products. Agri-food stakeholders, including farmers are providing safe food for consumers and managing the supply chain. Culinary professionals and consumers should continue to follow good hygiene practices during food handling and preparation including:

  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Clean and sanitize food preparation surfaces including chopping boards and countertops
  • Clean fruit and vegetables before eating, cutting, cooking and wash them under running water. (Do NOT use soap or detergents or other chemicals on food.)
  • Keep fruits and vegetables separate from raw foods that come from animals such as meat poultry and seafood. Avoid potential cross-contamination between cooked and uncooked foods
  • Cook meat thoroughly and use a meat thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperatures

More information about food safety is available at our previous post here or consult Health Canada’s website for food safety tips.

* Source: Health Canada, CFIA, CDC

5 Well-being & immunity

Research shows that many consumers have at least one health goal they are looking to reach and are actively seeking healthier foods.  Well-being is a common goal and functional ingredients, like prebiotic fiber and slow-release carbohydrates are setting the stage for wellness foods.  This is good news and we applaud food makers to evaluate and re-formulate as needed to provide healthier food choices and optimise nutrient density.
During the pandemic many consumers are seeking functional ingredients to boost immunity. Good nutrition is essential along the journey towards supporting immunity. There are many articles about how this claim will be growing in the future and we caution food makers in the way they approach immunity. Careful consideration must be given to maintaining the integrity and credibility of the statements as food makers formulate food and drinks to empower consumers’ lives. Contact us for credible and legally sound advice on food labelling and claims.

 

Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists Services     www.n4nn.ca
 
 
  • Food innovation and labelling support
 
  • Trends, innovation & strategic marketing
 
  • Monthly community newsletter (sign up here)
 
  • Social media tips and sparks (follow us @Nutrition4NonN)

 

 

Work with me! Nutrition Counselling Services – Unlock the power of food for your healthy living.

Do you have questions about good nutrition and healthy eating? Connect with us! We offer expert personalized sessions to help you simplify eating and leverage the benefits of credible nutrition science with professional support. As dietitians we love food and look beyond the fads and gimmicks to support you in your health goals. We unlock the power of food and deliver reliable, life-changing advice.

Click here to submit your interest in nutrition coaching appointments in a virtual format.

We offer gift certificates too – perfect for a friend or family member.  HOLIDAY BONUS OFFER – Purchase any counselling package and receive a 15% discount. Gift certificates available. Must purchase by December 11, 2020.

(NOTE: Registered Dietitian led Nutrition Counselling sessions are covered by many employee and private health insurance plans. Check with your plan provider for details on coverage for the cost of a Registered Dietitian / Nutritionist Services.)

Body Weight Words Matter!  Reflecting on the New Canadian Adult Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines

For most people their body weight is a personal issue. However people living in larger bodies face hurtful stigma including language surrounding obesity and overweight.  Developed by Obesity Canada and the Canadian Association of Bariatric Physicians and Surgeons, the new Canadian Adult Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines represent the first comprehensive update in Canadian obesity guidelines since 2007.[1]

Decades of research in behavioral and nutrition science suggest that it’s time to update our clinical approach and recognize that some patterns of communication about body weight are more helpful than others. Registered dietitians are deeply involved in this discussion and here are some of the topline messages from leading experts that stood out to us:

  1. Body Mass Index (BMI) is NOT an accurate tool for identifying obesity related complications [2]
    BMI is a widely used tool for screening and classifying body weight but it’s been controversial for decades.  A person’s BMI number is generated by considering their height in relation to their weight and it tells us about the size of the person’s body.  Experts now agree that more information than BMI is needed to determine whether a person is sick or healthy.
  2. Patient-centered, weight-inclusive care focuses on health outcomes rather than weight loss1,2
    Remember to ask permission before discussing body weight and respect the person’s answer. Health issues are measured by lab data and clinical signs. These can include blood pressure, blood sugar or reduced mobility. Shift the focus toward addressing impairments to health rather than weight loss alone.
  3. Obesity is NOT simply a matter of self-control and the ‘eat less, move more’ advice is insufficient
    The effects of a dieting lifestyle are burdensome. Evidence-based advice must move beyond simplistic approaches of ‘eat less and move more’. For example, in recent years researchers gained a better understanding of clinical evidence and body weight biology. These include the amount of food energy absorbed through the gut, the brain’s role in appetite regulation and the thermic effect of eating.[3] Environmental factors such as where people live, work and food availably also have an influence on body weight.
  4. People of higher weights should have access to evidence informed interventions, including medical nutrition therapy
    There is a lot of misinformation about body weight so evidence-based health management is key. One of the recommended interventions is to include personalized counselling by a registered dietitian with a focus on healthy food choices and evidence-based nutrition therapy.
  5. Recognize and address weight bias and stigma
    People with excess body weight experience weight bias and stigma. Weight bias is defined as negative weight–related attitudes, beliefs and judgements toward people who are of higher weight. This thinking can result in stigma which is acting on weight-based beliefs such as teasing, bullying, macroaggressions, social rejection and discrimination towards people living in larger bodies. People may also internalize weight stigma and criticize themselves or others based on body weight.

Experts consider that changes to language can alleviate the stigma of obesity within the health-care system and support improved outcomes for both people living in a larger body and for the health-care system.3,[4],[5],[6] In our Body Weight Words Matter!  chart below we provide several examples of communication interventions to help assess your attitude and reduce body weight bias.

Click here to download your copy of Body Weight Words Matter INFOGRAPHIC

Do you have questions about good nutrition and healthy eating? Connect with us! We offer expert personalized sessions to help you simplify eating and leverage the benefits of credible nutrition science. As dietitians we love food and look beyond the fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable, life-changing advice.

Contact us directly or complete this Nutrition Counselling Registration Form for your individualized nutrition coaching appointments in a virtual format.

[1] Obesity Canada (2020) Canadian Adult Obesity Clinical Practice Guidelines (CPGs) https://obesitycanada.ca/guidelines/References:

[2] Obesity Canada (2020) CMAJ Obesity in adults: a clinical practice guideline https://www.cmaj.ca/content/cmaj/192/31/E875.full.pdf

[3]   Rubino et al. (2020) Joint international consensus statement for ending stigma of obesity. Nature Medicine  www.nature.com/medicine

[4] Obesity UK (2020) Language Matters: Obesity https://cdn.easo.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/31073423/Obesity-Language-Matters-_FINAL.pdf

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

[6] Puhl R., Peterson J. L., Luedicke J. (2013). Motivating or stigmatizing? Public perceptions of weight-related language used by health providers. Int. J. Obes.  https://www.nature.com/articles/ijo2012110

Are you ready for virtual nutrition coaching appointments? We are open and ready to help!

Are you tired of food myths and ready for a positive change? Check out our dietitians’ blogs and recipes on this website to empower your healthy eating.

And, yes HANGRY is a real word. You may have seen hangry people who are ‘bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger’. Kids may also get hangry when they miss a meal.

Do you have questions about good nutrition and healthy eating? Shout out to us! We offer expert personalized sessions to help you simplify eating and keep ‘hangry’ away.

Contact us directly for your individualized nutrition coaching appointments in a virtual format. You can register at this link or Email:  Lucia@WeilerNutrition.com

Follow us on Instagram / Twitter @LuciaWeilerRD   LinkedIn 

 

 

Zucchini Sauce with Pasta

Recipe by Lucia Weiler RD;  www.WeilerNutrition.com

Bountiful zucchini is shredded and caramelized into a tasty pasta sauce with a little bit of milk and cheese. This pasta takes just minutes to make and uses the simplest ingredients including lots of zucchini. Bonus? It’s a recipe full of veggies and kid approved.
Serving Idea: Serve with your favourite protein such as lean chicken, fish or tofu.

Makes 4 servings      Prep time 10 min.    Cook time 10 min.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (250 g) dried penne pasta
  • 1 lb (450 g) zucchini (about 2-3 medium) trimmed and shredded or grated
  • 1 cup (160 g) large onion grated
  • 2  cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) milk (2 % MF)
  • 1/4 cup (60 mL) freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 tsp (1 mL)  freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch salt
  • pinch grated nutmeg (optional)
  • few leaves basil, chopped for garnish (optional)

Method:

  1. Bring to boil a large pot of water and cook pasta according to package directions. Just before draining, reserve 1 cup (250 mL) of the pasta cooking water. Drain.
  2. Shred or grate the onion and the zucchini.
  3. In a deep large skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add the shredded zucchini and onion. Stir and sauté until wilted (about 5 min). Cover the pan and sauté for a few more minutes until soft.
  4. Stir in the milk and bring to a gentle simmer.  Stir in the parmesan cheese, black pepper, nutmeg (if using) and salt to taste.
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the zucchini sauce. Add 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water (or more if need) to thin the sauce.  Add the basil and sprinkle with hot pepper flakes (if using).
  6. Transfer to a bowl, serve and enjoy!

Recipe Notes:

Variations: Adult tastes may like adding ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes.

Shredding veggies makes them appear like long strips while a grating them makes smaller fragments. If you prefer longer, textured veggies use a mandolin to shred instead of the standard household grater.

Nutrition Facts per one serving (290 grams) Calories 340; Fat 7 g; Carbohydrates 56 g; Protein 14 g; Source of 16 Vitamins and Minerals