Tag Archives: #healthycooking

Healthy eating on a budget

We heard from people who find it challenging to eat healthy on a budget. It’s such a great question and many folks, especially students, want to eat well and struggle with where to start.  Some of you may feel that you have no choice but to buy more expensive processed foods because you believe you can’t afford good nutrition.  There are many ways you can stretch your food dollar without sacrificing your health. Here are just FIVE tips to help you get started with making the most of your food dollar and eat well.

  1. Plan your meals
    Planning menus ahead lets you buy just what you need and stay on budget. It’s also a good way to avoid wasted food and help you lower you food costs. Planning reduces the time and stress of unplanned shopping trips and last minute dilemmas ‘what’s for dinner’. Before you go shopping think about what foods you’d like to eat/prepare. Know your food budget and adjust your menus as needed.
  2. Prepare a shopping list.
    Studies show that keeping a running grocery list is a great way to stay on track – it jogs your memory, saves money at the store, saves time too. It also keeps you from buying what you don’t need. Bottom line: Write a list and STICK TO IT.
    During Covid 19 many people prefer a paper list so they don’t have to handle their phones in the grocery store. When you prepare your list organize the items you need by category to match the store layout – for example, produce for veg and fruit, dairy, meat, bakery , frozen and grocery. We created this terrific Be Well Efficient shopping list that you can download from our website to help create your shopping list. Clicking on this link and then the image for your copy of the Be Well! Efficient Grocery Shopping List by L.Weiler RD
  3. Stock up on healthy staples that are on sale.
    Check for grocery store deals. Look for healthy food items on sale – fresh or frozen vegetables, fruit, canned beans, canned fish and meats and poultry. Dried foods are also budget friendly like dried beans, pasta, rice and oatmeal & they keep for a long time. If you like quiona buy it on SALE. Take advantage of local / seasonal produce. The price may be lower depending on where you shop. Fruits and vegetables are frozen at their peak of freshness so they are just as nutritious as fresh. You can easily add frozen or canned veggies to main dishes like casseroles and stews. You can also use frozen fruits in oatmeal, yogurt, baking and smoothies. Great choices include any dark green or orange like edamame (which are soybeans that boost protein content), peas and carrots or dark coloured berries.
  4. Cook once eat twice.
    Plan meals to make more than what you need today and enjoy the leftovers in another meal the next day. Cook extra whole grains like quinoa or barley for dinner and make a salad bowl recipe for lunch. If you eat meat and find lean cuts on sale consider buying a bit extra, roasting it and then incorporate it into another meal later. Look for recipes from Registered Dietitians that give you tips for using leftovers in your next meal.
  5. Store food properly
    Which uneaten food do you throw out most often?  Did you know that the most wasted foods in Canadian households are vegetables (30%), fruit (15%), and leftovers (13%) of total waste. So if you toss vegetables and fruit or leftovers in the trash then you’re like many Canadians. By eating the food you buy and storing it properly you will save money and reduce waste. If you find it challenging to be mindful of food storage here are some tips you could consider:
    • Butternut squash and sweet potatoes are excellent sources of the antioxidant beta carotene. They’ll last for at least two weeks.
    • Leafy greens tend to wilt within a week. So, shop and plan your menu accordingly.
    • Apples spoil 10 times faster in the fruit bowl than in the fridge.
    • Potatoes like a cool, dark spot so they don’t soften and sprout.
    • Keep cooked food in the fridge for 3-4 days and if you can’t eat it, freeze it for later use.

Visit our website for more tips and insights. Follow us on IG! @LuciaWeilerRD @Nutrition4NonNutritionists

Oven Baked Pasta

Melt in your mouth and full of veggies this oven baked pasta full is the comfort food of the day.  Inspired by a fave cookbook from Chef David Rocco, but veggie boosted to become a #dietitanapproved recipe. Here is how I made it:
👉INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2 lb (250g) rigatoni pasta ;
  • 3 tbsp (45 mL)  olive oil,
  • 1 large eggplant cut in small cubes ,
  • 1 leek sliced, 1 cup frozen spinach (150g) ;
  • 15 each – black olives & sundried tomatoes chopped,
  • 1 bottle (675 ml) tomato purée,
  • 1/2 lb (250 g) mozzarella cheese grated.
  • Hot pepper flakes (optional)

👉METHOD

  1. Cook pasta according to package direction (reserve 1/2 cup pasta water).
  2. In a pot heat olive oil, sautée leek, garlic; add eggplant & spinach cook for 10 min. Add tomato purée & cheese. (Rinse purée bottle w reserved pasta water & add to pot) Mix in cooked pasta & transfer the whole mixture to a shallow baking dish.
  3. Bake 20 min @ 400F.

    Serves 6. What’s your favourite pasta dish? #morethanfood #dietitiansarekey #cook #familymeals

Purple Cabbage & Potato Curry (Aloo Gobi)

  

Aloo Gobi is a classic Indian dish of potatoes and cauliflower. In this Canadian version inspired by Anita Stewart we swap in cabbage instead of cauliflower, but both can be called gobi!  Since I had purple cabbage on hand that’s what I used but any cabbage will do.  Either way it’s a one pot, super simple, comforting dish that’s full of flavour and ready in 30 minutes flat.  Scroll on for step by step on how to make it.

Ingredients:

Spice mixture: 

  • 1 tsp (5 mL) cumin
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) garam masala
  • ½ tsp ( 2mL) mustard seed (optional)
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) tumeric
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper or hot pepper flakes

Veggies:

  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
  • 1 medium cooking onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups (1L) potato cubed
  • 4 cups (1L) shredded cabbage
  • 1 tbsp (15mL) fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 cup (250 mL) water
  • Black pepper (ground)

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until fragrant for a few minutes.
  2. Add the spice mixture (cumin, garam masala, mustard seed, turmeric, and cayenne and cook until toasted, 1 minute more. )
  3. Add potatoes, ginger, cabbage and water.  Season with ground black pepper and pinch of salt to taste.
     
  4. Reduce heat and cook, covered, until potatoes and cabbage are tender, 15 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Clean and sanitize your kitchen surfaces like a food safety pro during COVID-19

You can protect yourself from COVID-19 by preventing the spread of germs. Although there are not many studies on COVID-19 specifically, scientists suggest that what we know works against other coronaviruses could work against this new strain too. Well known food safety cleaning and sanitizing practices can kill many different kids of harmful germs that cause disease.  Consider these expert tips for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces you use for food handling and preparation to reduce your risk of COVID-19 exposure.

3 Food safety rules to sanitize kitchen surfaces

  1. CLEAN: Remove dirt by washing down surfaces using warm soapy water & rinse with clean water.
  2. SANITIZE: This step reduces the harmful germs to safe levels on surfaces so illness is less likely to occur. Before preparing meals food safety pro’s make sure that counters, cutting boards and work surfaces are sanitized first. Chemicals approved as sanitizes for food-contact surfaces in food-service are chlorine, iodine and quaternary ammonium. Diluted chlorine bleach is a very effective sanitizer that is easy to make at home too. You can make your own sanitizing spray using 1 tsp (5 mL) bleach for every 3 cups (750 mL) of water. (Ministry of Health & LTC Ontario)  This sanitization method works for both plastic and wooden cutting board, taps, sinks and other surfaces. (Note: Bleach is NOT recommended for marble or stone countertops!)
  3. AIR DRY: Let surfaces air dry or dry with a clean disposable paper towel.

 

More tips on cleaning and sanitizing in the kitchen are available at this link: https://extension.colostate.edu/docs/pubs/foodnut/kitchen-sanitize.pdf

Spot the Nutrition MYTHS & ask for the FACTS

Image: Bigtsock

Spring is in the air, a perfect time to take a fresh look at what’s hot and what’s not in food and nutrition. As a speaker, teacher and consultant, I’m always connecting with professionals and nutrition students. I find there is a surprising increase in questions about myths and misleading nutrition advice. More and more people come forward with confusing nutrition information that hold them back from achieving their goals. According to a recent survey of dietitians the top sources of nutrition misinformation for consumers are celebrities, friends/family, blogs and social media. Don’t get trapped by myths – ask for science based facts from the experts.

Here are my top ten tips to help you spot misleading nutrition advice. Watch for these warning sings in the language used to provide you with information.

Top 10 tips to spot the Nutrition MYTHS:

  1. Quick fix promise
  2. Extreme warnings about a food or food group
  3. Sensational claims that sound too good to be true
  4. Personal beliefs /opinions presented as facts (Notice the use of language like “I believe” and don’t confuse someone’s confidence in their belief with credible scientific evidence.)
  5. Advice based on a single study or from a ‘study under way’ or observations
  6. Statements that are not supported by credible scientific associations (e.g., Dietitians of Canada, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Diabetes Canada, Health Canada)
  7. Lists of “good” and “bad” foods
  8. Testimonials endorsing the product, often from celebrities or highly satisfied customers
  9. Aims to sell food products or supplements
  10. Undermines a healthy, enjoyable relationship with food

BOTTOM LINE: If you’re looking for credible food facts check out blogs, social media tips and recipes written by registered dietitians. Dietitians are the most trusted credible food and nutrition experts who understand the science behind food and its connection to health. Contact us for help to translate the power of food for your team and business.

 

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?

Boost your snack with berries.

Are you snacking more often? You’re not alone! Canadians love their snacks, and many would like to pick healthier options between meals. You can boost your nutrient intake by snacking on colorful fresh berries including strawberries.  Did you know California strawberries are picked in peak season and readily available in grocery stores? Strawberries are a tasty, healthy, convenient snack any time of day and you can also use them to bring on a burst of flavour in your snacks and meals.  Try this tasty, easy arugula and strawberry salad and enjoy it at home or carry it with you for eating on the go.

Recipe: Tasty Arugula and Strawberry Salad

This tasty salad is chef inspired and dietitian approved! Layers of fresh greens like Arugula, fresh juicy strawberries, sharp cheese topped with tangy sweet vinaigrette dressing make it a staple in my menu.

Here is how I like to put it together:


Image of Arugula Strawberry Salad with strawberries in foreground. L.Weiler RD

Ingredients

  • Arugula (3 cups)
  • Strawberries (8 berries halved )
  • Red onion slices (1/4 cup)
  • Sharp cheese shredded to taste (cheddar or parmesan); (2 Tbsp)
  • Cider or balsamic vinaigrette dressing* (3 Tbsp)

Serves 2 (110 calorie snacks)

* Cider Vinaigrette:

    • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 2 Tbsp water
    • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
      In a small measuring cup or jar with a lid, combine oil, vinegar, water, mustard and black pepper. Mix well.  Makes about 6 Tbsp (90 mL)

 

Healthy food tips for your game day party

Hey Sports Fans! Are you ready for the big game day party? When you’re gearing up to enjoy a big sports game, food, beverage and fun times come to mind. Whether you’re actually there for the game or just for the fun of the party you can gather ‘round without giving up on your healthy eating plan.

Here are some savvy food tips aligned with the latest recommendations of Canada’s new food guide for you to enjoy food and keep connected to your healthy eating goals.

Boost the veggies

This is the number 1 healthy eating recommendation in Canada’s new food guide.

  • Let veggies take the starring role at your party food platter. Serve lots of colour, crunch
  • Whip up tasty and nutritious dips such as hummus or guacamole.

Choose whole grain foods

Looking for a crunch?

  • Slice up and toast some whole grain fajitas to swap out the chips for a healthier option.
  • Air-popped popcorn is a great whole grain snack and source of dietary fiber. Serve it plain, or try adding different popcorn flavors such as smoked paprika or chili powder.

Get creative with your protein

Are you making crown pleasing party foods such as meatballs or chili?

Drinking

Okay, so it’s a party and alcoholic drinks are on the menu. Simple tips to keep in mind:

  • Canada’s low risk alcohol drinking guidelines for special occasions suggest no more than 3 drinks for women; no more than 4 drinks for men on any single occasion.
  • Set your limits and stick to it.
  • Drink slowly ex 2 drinks in any 3 hr period and have water between alcoholic drinks. Try a flavoured water. Try adding citrus fruit or cucumber slices to fresh tap water for a great flavour booster with zero calories.
  • EAT before and while drinking.
  • Lower the alcohol content of your beverages by making a wine spritzer using 3 oz white wine and 2 oz of carbonated water to keep your head clear during a sports party and to cut back calories too.

Healthy eating is more than the foods you eat!

Bottom line – your relationship with food matters more than you might think!

  • Your culture and food traditions are an important part of healthy eating. Relax and enjoy!
  • Stay on track of your healthy eating goals by taking time to eat and following your hunger cues.

Enjoy the game. Go Team Go!

 

Introducing the NEW Canada’s Food Guide!

Today, Federal Minister of Health, Ginette Petitapas Taylor launched the new Canada’s Food Guide. The new Food Guide takes a modern approach to communicating guidance to consumers, health professionals and policy makers. This first suite of resources includes a document Canada’s Dietary Guidelines for Health Professionals and Policy Makers, as well as a Food Guide Snapshot.

Here’s just a sampling of what’s new in the Food Guide:

1. Positive key messages for Canadians in a modern format. Key messages are: Eat well. Live well. Eat a variety of healthy foods each day. The new Food Guide delivers healthy eating information in a mobile-friendly web application.

2. Beyond food. Healthy eating is more than the foods you eat. The new Food Guide offers advice on what to eat, what not to eat, and how to eat. Tips include cooking more often, eating meals with others, being mindful of your eating habits, enjoying your food, limiting foods high in sodium, sugars or saturated fat, using food labels, and being aware of food marketing.

3. Food groupings instead of food groups. Bye bye rainbow and the four food groups. A healthy meal is comprised of a variety of foods from three key food groupings: vegetables and fruits; whole grains; and protein foods. These foods should be consumed regularly.

4. Proportions not portions. There are no recommended servings to eat or serving sizes of food. A plate snapshot of the Food Guide gives at-a-glance information on what to eat. In the plate snapshot, 1/2 the plate is filled with vegetables and fruits; ¼ of the plate is comprised of whole grain foods; and ¼ of the plate is made up of protein foods.

5. Water is the beverage of choice. To help Canadians stay hydrated without adding calories to the diet, water is recommended. Alcoholic beverages are also flagged as potentially adding calories with little to no nutritive value.

The suite of online resources replaces the old “all-in-one” version of the previous Food Guides. Additional consumer resources are expected to be released later this year.

Want to discover more about how to make the Food Guide work for you and your business?

Save the date for our upcoming webinar on The New Canada’s Food Guide – Tuesday, April 16th, 1-2 pm ET. We’ll share:
• The science and rationale behind Canada’s Food Guide
• A closer look at the recommendations and considerations
• How to apply Canada’s Food Guide to your business plans

Can’t wait? Contact us now for an in-house presentation / workshop.

Written by: Sue Mah, MHSc, RD, PHEc and Lucia Weiler, BSc, RD, PHEc
– Co-Founders of Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists TM

Rapini with garlic, chili flakes and olives

Rapini with olives is one of my all time favourite veggie dishes. Rapini is an Italian style broccoli with a leafy head. Some say it’s like broccoli with a spicy bite. Sauteed rapini is becoming mainstream and as a dark green veg it’s also a terrific nutrition booster. Serve hot or cold. Enjoy as warm side dish or add to sandwich next day.

Ready in  15mins,  Serves 4

Ingredients

1 bunch rapini
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped medium onion
10 black olives slivered
5 sundried tomatoes slivered (optional)
1⁄2 teaspoon chili flakes
freshly ground black pepper

How to make it

Wash & chop 1 bunch rapini
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add rapini.
Boil three minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain.

Heat olive oil in a skillet on medium high heat.
Add chopped garlic, sliced onion to olive oil  saute for 5 min
Add blanched rapini, sliced olives (and sundried tomatoes if using), chili flakes and toss together, cover pan and cook three minutes.

Remove cover, season with black pepper and serve.