Tag Archives: Lucia Weiler

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.

 

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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.)

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 

 

 

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

N4NN ONLINE training services

Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists™ (n4nn) is a leader in nutrition training communications internationally. Since 2007, the course has supported 100’s of food and beverage professionals across Canada to communicate about nutrition issues with more confidence.

Co-Founders Lucia Weiler and Sue Mah design engaging educational courses specifically to help your business leverage the growing consumer interest in nutrition and healthy foods.

  • Developed by experienced adult educators leveraging best practice learning solutions and a variety of mediums including e-learning, virtual facilitation, and blended learning
  • Delivered and facilitated online by dietitian experts N4NN is a perfect fit to your small to mid-sized training programs
  • Contact us to help your team continue to learn, grow and innovate in a mature, professional learning environment

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

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

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.

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.

Greek Salad & Chicken Bowl

Are you looking for a tasty & healthy Caesar salad recipe that makes the grade? Check out this student made dietitian approved dish that may ‘make healthy your new favourite’ .

 Makes 5 servings of 4 cups (450 g)

 Ingredients:      

  • 13 cups (700 g) romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 2 cups (340 g) tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 cups (300 g) red pepper, chopped
  • 2 ½ cups (300 g) English cucumber, sliced
  • 1 ½ cup (200 g) pre-cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1 large (150 g) red onion, sliced
  • 1 six inch(64 g) whole wheat pita bread, cut in pieces
  • 3 tbsp (25 g) olives
  • 3 tbsp (22 g) light feta cheese
  • 4 small (20 g) green onion, sliced

Salad Dressing:

  • 2 ½ tbsp (40 mL) olive oil
  • 2 tbsp (30 mL) lemon juice
  • 1 tsp (5 mL) red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp (3 g) garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp (1 g) dill weed, dried
  • ½ tsp (1 g) oregano, ground

Preparation: 

  1. Wash, rinse and dry lettuce leaves then chop into bite size pieces.
  2. Cut all other vegetables to appropriate sizes
  3. Make Dressing: Mix together oil, lemon juice, garlic, vinegar, oregano, and dill.
  4. Mix the dressing and toss all salad ingredients together.
  5. Place pre-cooked chicken pieces and pita bread pieces on top of salad.

Recipe created by: Humber College HRT Students
Image source & Nutrition Facts table: Lucia Weiler RD, PHEc, Humber College Faculty and Advisor