Tag Archives: Healthy eating

5 tips for engaging online meetings

Online get-togethers are the new normal way of working and socializing. You’ve probably become quite savvy with the technology whether it’s for work meetings or connecting with friends. But are you participating in virtual meetings with flare? As a consulting dietitian, teacher and facilitator I also pivoted to going fully online. Our team is creating even better content to inform, educate and engage with people. In addition to leveraging technology we also focus on building the human connections that are so very important at this time. Here are 5 tips to help you build engaging meetings online.

  1. Open with a smile
    Whether you are using video or only audio your smile will carry in your voice. Positivity catches on and no matter what you say your tone is more upbeat and friendly when you say it with a smile.
  2. Start with a welcoming icebreaker activity
    A quick opening activity is a terrific way to strengthen relationships and build goodwill. Give your team members a chance to find connections and discover common ground. Food and nutrition topics naturally lend themselves to positive conversation starters that everyone can relate to.
  3. Use people’s names in conversation
    People pay attention to the sound of their name more than any other word in a conversation. When you use someone’s name it makes them feel valued and important.
  4. Mind the time
    Did you know most people’s attention span is about 20 minutes? With so many obligations to juggle, directing everyone’s focus to the purpose of the meeting encourages participation. Create an agenda to help make the most of your time together and meet the needs of people on the call.
  5. Show appreciation
    Saying thank you is a powerful acknowledgement of another person’s efforts. Being grateful has potential health benefits as well. During these changing times showing support and appreciation is good practice for everyone.

Ask us about how to add flare to your meetings, boost engagement and build stronger teams. We offer lunch and learn sessions and provide professional resources.

Nutrition & Immunity Challenge – Covid19

Your immune system is always on guard against attacks on your body. Attacks could come in many forms including virus, bacteria or even cancer cells. If your immune system trips up, you could become more vulnerable and even ill. In terms of nutrition, there are many nutrients that are involved with the normal functioning of the immune system. The immune system is sophisticated ‘team’ with many ‘players’ involved. The best performance in defending your body happens when all ‘players are present’ and ready to do their job. That is why health experts recommend to promote your own immunity follow an overall healthy eating plan.

With Covid19 there seem to be a lot of questions about nutrition and immunity so here is a closer look at the basics.

  • No diet, supplement will cure or prevent disease. Good hygiene practice and physical distancing remain the best means of avoiding COVID19 infection.
  • Almost all nutrients help the immune system in one way or another; however some nutrient deficiencies may be more harmful to immunity than others. Malnutrition and deficient intakes of many vitamins and minerals are associated with lower disease resistance. Among the nutrients well recognized for their roles in building immunity are Protein, Zinc, Vitamins A, C and E. Below we profile these nutrients of interest that support general immunity but emphasize the bottom line:  Eat a variety of healthy foods each day in order to support immune function.

Protein:

Protein helps build and repair body tissues and forms antibodies. Antibodies are protective proteins produced by the immune system to fight foreign substances in the body.

Eat protein foods at each meal. Recommendations for most adults are to aim for 20-30 grams of protein at every meal. Examples of protein rich foods include fish, shellfish, poultry, lean meat, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), tofu (edamame), eggs, nuts, seeds, greek yogurt and cottage cheese.

Vitamins and Minerals:

All vitamins and minerals promote good health and many protect against infection and diseases. Research suggests that certain vitamins and minerals may have bigger roles in immune health. Examples include Zinc, Vitamins A, C, E. For most people, however, there is no good evidence that taking more of these nutrients than what you can get from a varied healthy diet will improve your immune system. For reference, here is some information about vitamins/minerals of interest for immune health.

    • Zinc:
      A wide variety of foods contain zinc. By far, oysters have more zinc per serving than any other food. More good sources of zinc are lean meats, fish or poultry, beans, nuts, whole grains, cereals (fortified) and dairy products
    • Vitamin A:
      Vitamin A is naturally present in many foods and most people get enough Vitamin A from the foods they eat. The most active form is retinol, a fat soluble vitamin found in animal foods such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy products. Beta carotene which converts to vitamin A in the body is found in yellow, orange and dark green vegetables and fruits.
    • Vitamin C:
      Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid is found in fruits and vegetables. Among its many other roles, Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant that helps protect cells against damage. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin C by eating a variety of foods including citrus fruits (such as oranges and grapefruit). Red and green peppers and kiwifruit also have a lot of vitamin C as do other fruits and vegetables.
    • Vitamin E:
      Vitamin E is found in many foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant that helps protect the tissues from damage. Rich sources of Vitamin E include vegetable oils (wheat germ, sunflower, safflower), nuts (peanuts, hazelnuts, almonds), seeds (sunflower), fortified cereals.

Watch my one minute VIDEO summary and tips on the immunity challenge here:

Ask us about how to add flare to your meetings, boost engagement and build stronger teams. We offer lunch and learn sessions and provide professional resources.

Sources:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2020 Health Information Facts
  • Health Canada (2019) Nutrient Function Claims
  • Duyff Academy of Food and Nutrition (2017) Complete Food & Nutrition Guide
  • Sizer et al (2017) Nutrition Concepts and Controversies

Be Well! Navigating the grocery aisles efficiently during COVID19

Getting in and out of a grocery store fast is more important than ever during the COVID19 pandemic. Health experts ask us to stay at home as much as possible which means limiting the number of shopping trips to a minimum. Once you arrive at the grocery store keeping a safe 6 foot distance from others is a new skill for many people including myself. It’s also important to navigate the aisles efficiently. Somehow it doesn’t seem OK any more to forget something and have to run back through the store to find it.

To help you stay well I created an efficient grocery shopping list. I really like this template because it prompts meal planning so you buy only what you need. I also limited the number of items to make your trip more manageable.   You’ll notice the list is organized in categories that follow the grocery store layout to help you get in and out of the store fast.

Here is how you can use it:

  1. Create a meal plan.
    Before going to the grocery store consider the meals you’d like to make in the upcoming week. Make a note of the most important items you need in case your trip is stressful and you don’t get through your whole shopping list.
  2. Complete your efficient grocery shopping list *
    Print out a copy of the Be Well! Efficient grocery shopping list and keep it in your kitchen. You can ask others you live with to help complete the list so everyone contributes to the eating plan. When the list gets full, you’ll know it’s time to go shopping.
  3. Navigate the aisles efficiently
    When you arrive at the store pick the aisles with the least number of people and keep your physical distance 6 feet from others. Make your way through the store quickly and efficiently. Because your shopping list is short you won’t need a pen to check off the list.

Keep well and good luck grocery shopping!

* Print off your copy of the shopping list by clicking on this link and then the image. Be Well! Efficient Grocery Shopping List by L.Weiler RD

Watch my one minute VIDEO summary and tips on efficient grocery shopping here:

Serving food safely during COVID-19

Since COVID19 arrived, you already know about the importance of hand washing. This is a great first step in handling food safely. Remember to use the WHO method to wash your hands every time before touching food or setting the table.

When it comes to serving food safely there are some additional simple steps you can take to help you keep germs at bay. For example, don’t let your fingers touch the surfaces of of dishes or utensils that come into contact with mouths or food. Here are some examples and tips to help you build your healthy habits and serve food safely during COVID-19 and beyond.

  1. Don’t put your thumb on top of a plate to hold it.
    Hold plates underneath with your thumb on the rim.
  2. Don’t touch the inside or lip of a cup.
    Use the cup handle instead
  3. Don’t let others touch the lid of your beverage container that comes in contact with your mouth!
    Ask the cup to be handed to you and place the lid on yourself.
    If others bring you a lidded cup consider removing it before you drink it.
    Pour canned or bottled beverages into a clean cup instead of bringing the can or bottle to your lips.
  4. Keep your hands off  the bowl of a spoon or prongs of a fork.
    Grip utensils by the handle and don’t let handles touch the food.
  5. Don’t share dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils.
    Wash your dishes well in hot soapy water after each use.

Keep well and remember it is important to get information from credible, trustworthy sources during this time. Dietitians are regulated health professionals committed to providing evidence-based advice and information that is tailored to your personal needs and challenges. For the latest and most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit Health Canada at www.canada.ca/coronavirus

Top 10 food & nutrition trends for 2020

Are you looking to keep up with food, beverage and nutrition trends? As dietitians we love helping people unlock the power of food for health and wellness. Our team is on top of food and nutrition movements and we know how to translate the latest science on key trends. Here we share some highlights that are of interest to many of our clients.

  1. Fragmented food communities
    Consumers are splitting into ‘tribes’ to meet their health goals based on philosophies and preferences. Wellness communities are emerging that bring people closer together.
  2. Food as medicine
    What’s a fact what’s a myth? Celebrity opinions, friends/family, blogs and social media influence food choices but there are risks! Personal beliefs and opinions may be confused with scientific evidence and hold people back from achieving their health goals. To unlock the power of food for health, look for credible science based facts from registered health experts.
  3. Fat has rehabilitated
    What are healthy fats and how are they good for you? Discover fat quality for health and culinary arts.
  4. Protein sources are pivoting
    Plant forward proteins are all the rage, but do you know how to get enough? What’s happening to meat, dairy and alternatives?
  5. Carbohydrates are under the microscope
    Are all sugars created equal? Discover the dietitians’ Carb quality meter for best bets.
  6. Vitamins, Minerals and phytochemicals have important health impact
    Vitamins and Minerals are powerful partners in health & wellness. Which are of key public health significance? Determine the latest science behind other food compounds such as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.
  7. Shifting focus to food relationships & mental health
    Healthy eating is about so much more than food – how people eat is important too. Look for mindful eating, enjoying food and the power of planning to eat well and live well.
  8. Digestive comfort
    Get to know your microbiome & how to be a good host to your friendly gut bacteria.
  9. Taking care of our planet
    Sustainability and waste reduction are here to stay. What can you do to make a positive difference?
  10. Taking care of people – health and wellness as a business strategy
    The future is bright for integrating health science and wellness into workplaces. From recruiting to retention and employee assistance programs (EAP) dietitians help people and businesses unlock the power of food for healthy living.

Do you want to leverage food and nutrition trends for yourself and your business?

Studies show the strength and benefit of interprofessional, collaborative teams in business and education. Dietitians can enable a culture of change that supports healthy living for all Canadians. We translate the science, look beyond the fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable, life changing advice. Contact us with your questions! We’d love to hear from you.

Join us for the 13th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 28, 2020.
Get our expert nutrition insights, trends & sparks!
Register at www.NutritionForNonNutritionists.com

Healthy Eating for Celebrations

Lucia shares tips on how to navigate the holiday season with mindful eating and nutrition strategies

Do you face holiday food and eating challenges? You’re not alone! Canadians tend to spend more on food and beverages during the holidays. Did you know food and beverage purchase at large retailers go up by about 16% in December compared to other average monthly sales?

This abundance of food in a celebratory environment can be challenging when your plan is to eat healthy. However, there are many ways to enjoy get-togethers and keep up with your healthy eating goals.

Here are some tips to help keep up healthy eating during celebrations:

  • Healthy eating means making a habit of eating a variety of healthy foods each day. During celebrations continue to try eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, whole grain foods and protein foods.
  • Keep an eye on portion size. It’s usually not WHAT you eat but HOW MUCH of a food type you eat that makes a difference. Enjoy all the foods you like and remember to keep treat foods portion sizes small – such as one small piece of dessert or deep fried food.
  • Be choosy in what you eat. Limit the sweets and choose more vegetables. Skip the chips and creamy dips and go for bean dips or hummus instead. Read nutrition fact labels when choosing packaged foods. Check the % Daily Value (DV) and remember 5% or less DV for a nutrient is a little and 15% DV or higher for a nutrient is a lot. Look for foods with LESS saturated fat, sugars and sodium. Choose foods with MORE fibre, vitamins and minerals.
  • Make water your drink of choice.
  • Enjoy celebrations & practice mindful eating. Savour the moment, the flavours and enjoy the get together. Depriving yourself of special holiday or party foods, or feeling guiltily when you do enjoy them is neither a healthy strategy nor part of the spirit of a festive get together. Let go of any food related guilt. Embrace and nurture your relationship with food. Share your love of food – it unites us all!Wishing you happy holidays and joyful celebrations which are wonderful times to bring people together.

How to peel a pomegranate

Are you looking to add a pop of colour & burst of flavour to your salads & roasted veggies? Pomegranate seeds are all the rage. Getting to the seeds can be messy, but by removing them under water you keep the seeds from taking over your kitchen. Scroll on for my tips on how to get to the best part of this tasty fruit.

  1. Cut off the top of the pomegranate with a sharp knife. (The top is end is crown shaped, not flat)
  2. Cut into the skin of the pomegranate from top to bottom and place pomegranate in a large bowl of water. Be sure its fully covered to keep the juices from splattering.
  3. Pull apart the fruit under water to expose the seeds and separate them from the membrane. The seeds tend to sink in water while the white membrane holding the seeds floats to the top. Just skim it off. Drain the seeds & enjoy as is, or add to salads & roasted veggies.

How do you like to eat pomegranate?

Googly eye strawberries

Fruit with eyes?  Now that changes everything! Kids love these fun and spooky treats all year round, but they are right on theme for Halloween. Strawberries are a tasty, healthy, convenient snack any time of day. You can also use them to add a burst of flavour in your snacks and meals. To make these funny faces, take some fresh @castrawberries and line them up with the green leafy part on top to make it look like tufts of ‘hair’.  Then, strategically place a couple of googly eyes (small sugar drops available in bulk food stores) on the strawberry’s ‘face’ and add a small chocolate chip ‘nose’.  You may want to make a slight cut in the berry and place the eyes and nose a little below the fruit’s surface to keep them in place. A tray of these googly eyed strawberry faces will disappear fast and bring smiles to everyone.  What’s your favourite googly eye fruit? #SnackOn8  #Dietitian

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Do you love pumpkin flavoured beverages? Here is a tasty & better for you version that’s homemade & dietitian approved.
Enjoy as flavoured milk or add it to brewed coffee for a tasty latte. Scroll on for how to make it. ⁣

Yields 3 servings. ⁣

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 4 Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp maple syrup. ⁣

Preparation:

  1. In a large measuring cup or bowl, warm the milk in the microwave for 3 minutes on medium high.
  2. Add pumpkin puree and whisk it into the warm milk.
  3. Add 1 tsp pumpkin spice, 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp maple syrup to the ‘pumpkin milk’.
  4. Mix well to keep pumpkin purée from settling on the bottom of this flavoured milk.⁣⁣
  5. Enjoy as ‘pumpkin milk’ or add to freshly brewed coffee for a delicious latte. Top with frothed milk & sprinkle with ground cinnamon or nutmeg. ⁣
    How do you like your pumpkin spice drinks?

Healthful Reset for Fall

Image Source: Bigstock

Are you looking for great tips to kick-start fall? Many of our clients are looking to squeeze in some professional development before year end and at the same time reset personal health routines. As dietitians – the food and nutrition experts – we can help!

People are spending eight hours a day – and probably more – at work, let’s make them count for health and wellness! Also, travelling can do a number on even the most conscientious eaters. Many Canadians are surprised to hear that eating well on the job could improve their concentration and productivity. Other benefits of workplace wellness programs include better employee morale, reduced absenteeism and turnover and enhanced recruiting.

Here are five tips to spark your healthful reset at work and at home.

  1. Keep it real
    Set realistic expectations without black and white thinking. Consider why you are making healthy choices. List the reasons and keep it handy as a reminder to help you stay on track.
  2. Have a plan
    There is no perfect way to eat well that works for everyone. Find a healthful way to change your food journey one small step at a time. For a list of ideas that fit your goals check out credible tips from registered dietitians.
  3. Keep unhealthy foods out of your home
    If you don’t buy it you’re less likely to eat it. Stick to buying wholesome foods and put food away when you’re finished eating. Remember, drinking water is the best way to stay well hydrated.
  4. Pack & carry to eat on the go
    When you’re on the go at school or at work it can be hard to stick to a healthy eating plan. Pack some healthy foods at home and carry them with you to eat later. If you eat out, check the foodservice options in advance for healthy choices.
  5. Practice mindful eating
    Enjoy the food you’re eating and appreciate all that has gone into getting it from the farm to your table. Mindful eating helps build a healthy relationship with food.

Improving your eating habits takes time and it’s not easy. However, finding a few strategies that work for you in the long run will be your best bet for health and wellness. Are you ready to embrace healthy eating? As dietitians we translate the science of nutrition and offer life- changing advice for healthy living. Contact us for more information – we can help make it a little easier for you to choose, eat and enjoy healthy food.