Tag Archives: nutrition

Benefits of Workplace Wellness

Happy business colleagues having lunch on table at office cafete

Do you wish you had more energy at work? Do you find it tough to eat well on the job or during shift work? Do you want to be more efficient in using your talents to produce outstanding results? You’re not alone. These were just some of the challenges we heard from the attendees at this year’s Partners in Prevention Conference and Trade Show. As exhibitors for Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists, we were delighted to share our most popular presentation at the Healthy Living stage – “Top 5 Ways to Eat Better” – and had the chance to connect with workplace wellness leaders about food, nutrition, improved concentration and productivity.

Many of us spend eight hours a day – and probably more – at work, so let’s make them count for health and wellness!

Why Promote Wellness in the Workplace?*
Did you know that 57% of employees in Canada are living with at least one chronic condition such as high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol?** Good food builds healthier people and a healthier workplace. Worksite health promotion is an investment in your most important asset: your employees. Studies have shown that employees are more likely to be on the job and performing well when they are in optimal health. Benefits of implementing a wellness program include:

  • Lower health care costs, due to a healthier workforce and improved disease management
  • Enhanced recruiting by attracting the most talented workers
  • Reduced absenteeism and improved productivity
  • Improved on-the-job time utilization, decision-making and productivity
  • Improved employee morale
  • Reduction in turnover

As dietitians, we LOVE food! We’re credible experts who translate the science of nutrition and unlock the potential of food to support healthy living for Canadians. Book us for your next Lunch and Learn or Wellness Fair. Contact us with your wellness boosting food & menu questions – we can help! Shout out to us Lucia@WeilerNutrition.com

*Source: Mumby, Workplace Wellness
**Source: Chronic Disease in the Workplace: Focus on Prevention and Support

 

New Nutrition Labels are HERE! Are you ready to transition? We can help!

One year ago, Health Canada updated the Nutrition Facts table and ingredients list on packaged foods.  This important change is part of the strategy to help make healthy food choices the easy choice for all Canadians. Food makers have until 2021 to transition to the new labels and many of our clients are starting to make the shift. Plan ahead and connect with us to help unlock your food’s nutrition potential and support healthy living for all Canadians.

Here’s a quick at-a-glance comparison of the old versus the new Nutrition Facts table as well as Ingredients lists.

Contact us at:  lucia@weilernutrition.com  for more information about these label changes and to discuss how the proposed front-of-package labelling will impact your business.

The new Nutrition Facts table places a greater emphasis on calories, potassium, calcium and iron. For the first time ever, total sugars will have a % Daily Value (%DV) set at 100 grams:

nutrition-labels-old-vs-new-bigger


 

 

 

 

 

Different types of sugars will still be individually identified, and will now also be grouped together as “Sugars”:

ingreds-list-sugars

 

 

 

All food colours will now be listed by their name rather than collectively listed as “colours”:
ingreds-list-new

 

A well fed brain is more likely to lead to good mood, behaviour and learning.

pennutrition back to school 2017 DHSN1OYXsAAiJZp
(Photo Credit  PENNUTRITION https://twitter.com/pennutrition)

Nutrition is important for the brain as well as the body. As the school year is off to a start, we reviewed a research summary on diet, behaviour and learning in children. Here are our top 3 tips for unlocking food’s potential to support your child’s learning. The key areas of focus are the overall nutritional balance of regularly timed meals, and adequate intake of some essential nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids.

  1. Mind the overall nutritional balance!

Enjoying a variety of foods help the body and the brain get what they need to function best. The brains and bodies of children need a regular supply of energy so that they can think effectively.  Studies show that most children would benefit from more fruit and vegetables, and fewer sugary drinks, high-fat and high-sugar snacks.  Although the brain prefers glucose (sugars) for energy, in the long run it doesn’t cope well with major swings in blood sugar. Emerging evidence shows that foods that are digested more slowly and provide long lasting energy may be better choices.

DIETITIAN’S TIP: To moderate blood sugar swings, choose whole grains more often, and balance carbohydrate intake with some protein in each meal.

  1. Eat regularly – especially breakfast.

When children go without food for too long they may lose concentration and / or they may get in a bad mood.  Researchers find that eating breakfast leads to better learning compared to skipping breakfast. Encourage your kids to eat breakfast. Any breakfast or lunch meal is better than nothing, however including some fibre and protein in your child’s breakfast (and lunch) may be helpful for the brain.

DIETITIAN’S TIP: Try some of these great breakfast ideas:

  • A boiled egg with wholegrain toast and sliced peppers or tomato
  • Cooked oats or other whole grain cereal with milk and a sliced apple or banana
  • Yogurt berry smoothie with nuts and seeds
  1. Eat a variety of foods to get key nutrient for the brain.

One of the most important areas of research into the relationship between foods and brain health focuses on oily fish that are rich in omega-3 fats.  There is also some evidence that omega-3 fats help with attention. Iron, zinc and magnesium are also thought to be particularly important for the brain. Low iron levels are strongly linked to poor mood and concentration. Low magnesium may be linked to anxiety, and low zinc may lead to poor attention and poor sleep.

Oily fish is the best source of omega-3 fats. Red meat, poultry and pulses (beans, peas, lentils, chickpeas) are examples of good sources of iron and zinc. Green vegetables, nuts and seeds are all a good source of magnesium. For some children who are not getting enough, increasing their intake of foods containing one or more of these nutrients could make a difference to their mood, behaviour and learning. Talk to a dietitian if you’re concerned about these nutrients for your child.

DIETITIAN’S TIP:  A varied and nutritious diet is the most reliable way to help your child’s developing brain and body get the nutrients it needs. Children (and adults) should eat two servings of fatty fish a week. Choose fish high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, sardines or herring. Plant based sources of Omega-3 include enriched eggs, walnuts & flaxseeds.

Bottom line: Giving your child regular meals and a healthy, well-balanced diet helps their development, mental well-being and physical health. Your child might also benefit from reducing their intake of foods that are low in nutritional value.  If you have questions, or for more information contact us or a Resisted Dietitian in your community. Factsheets on selected topics are also available on Dietitians of Canada website.

Reference: BDA The Association of UK Dietitians, Food Fact Sheet 2017. Source PENNUTRTITION.

Is your food making you sick? Check out our top 5 tips to prevent food poisoning!


1 in 8 get food poisoning N4NN July 2017

One in eight Canadians get food poisoning each year according to a recent report by The Public Health Agency of Canada. So let’s brush up on food safety with our 5 top tips that can help protect you and your family from getting sick.

  1. CLEAN – Wash your hands, and we mean really wash your hands for 20 seconds using hot water and soap. This is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of foodborne illness! Remember to use hot water and soap to clean cutting boards, cooking utensils and counter surfaces.
  2. SEPARATE – Don’t cross-contaminate ready to eat food. Keep fresh fruit and veggies separate from raw meat, poultry, seafood and eggs in your fridge and when preparing food.
  3. COOK – You can NOT tell if a food is cooked by looking at it! The best way to tell if your food is cooked properly is to use a food thermometer. Look for these safe internal cooking temperatures:
    –  medium rare steak 63 C (145 F)
    – your sausage or burger is done at 71 C (160 F)
    – chicken pieces 74 C (165 F)
    – whole poultry 85 C (185 F)
  4. CHILL – Keep cold foods cold at or below 4 C (40F). Storing your food properly is one of the key things you can do to protect yourself from food poisoning.
  5. MIND THE DANGER ZONE which is between 4 C (40 F) and 60 C (140 F). This is where most bacteria grow well. Toss out perishable foods that have been in the ‘danger zone’ for 4 hours or more. Perishable foods include (but are not limited to) fresh meat, poultry, fish, deli meats, dairy, eggs, all cooked foods, cut up fruit and vegetables.
    Want to learn more about safe food handling practices? Contact us! We offer basic and advanced food safety training courses that can earn you a government approved certificate.

Health Canada Consultations – Let your voice be heard ( NEW OPEN till August 14)

Now is THE time to let your voice be heard about food, nutrition, way of eating and sustainability! We know this comes just before summer vacations, but consider that the policies formed following these three consultations will influence how Canadians hear about food, nutrition and sustainability for years to come.

Health Canada chose Dietitians of Canada annual conference on June 9th to announce the latest federal food and nutrition consultations. As part of the Healthy Eating Strategy, there are 3 public consultations live/on-line now and more are expected in the Fall. Please contact us if you have any questions about what this means to you and your business.

Here is a bird’s eye view of what the consultations are about. We encourage you to let your voice be heard and complete these surveys that will help shape the future of nutrition in Canada.

Canada’s Food Guide Consultation (Phase 2)

Food guide cropped consult'n banner N4NN June 2017

Health Canada is revising Canada’s Food Guide to strengthen its recommendations for healthy eating. This is the second round of consultations that is built on what the government heard from 20,000 Canadians who responded to the first round of consultations in 2016.  If you are using healthy eating recommendations for yourself and others you care about, or to help others through your work, we encourage you to complete the survey and join the discussion. This is your chance to weigh in on key issues related to healthy eating and provide input on the new healthy eating recommendations.

http://www.foodguideconsultation.ca/ EXTENDED open till August 14, 2017.

Marketing to Kids

No ads to kids N4NN June 2017
Image Source Health Canada
Health Canada wants to reduce how much advertising children see or hear about unhealthy food and beverages. “This is a complicated subject so before action can be taken, some questions need to be answered, such as what we mean by unhealthy food and what kind of advertising should be allowed. Your ideas and opinions will help Health Canada decide how to go about restricting advertising for unhealthy food and beverages to children. This consultation document is available online between June 10 and EXTENDED till August 14, 2017.”[1]

https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/programs/consultation-restricting-unhealthy-food-and-beverage-marketing-to-children.html

[1] Health Canada (2017) Restricting unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children

Canada’s Food Policy

Food Policy N4NN newsletter June 2017

Food matters to Canadians. We “make choices every day about food that directly impacts our health, environment, and communities.” Agriculture Canada would like to help put more affordable, safe, healthy, food on tables across the country, while protecting the environment. This policy will cover the entire food system and you may have heard of the concept as ‘Farm to Fork’. An online survey is now open at www.canada.ca/food-policy and we encourage you to share your views that will help shape Canada’s food policy. Online consultations is open until July 27, 2017

 

Dietary tips for people with type 2 diabetes

one in three live with diabetes Feb 2017

Diabetes and PRE Diabetes affect many people. If you have diabetes or PRE-diabetes you know that managing the condition is key to your health and wellness. This however can be overwhelming and some people aren’t sure where to start or how to get back on track. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with appropriate lifestyle changes. [1]

Food is a key component in managing diabetes so having a dietitian as part of your care team will help you achieve your health goals. [2]  There is not a simple ‘one-diet-fits’ all approach. A dietitian is a credible trusted nutrition expert who works with you to meet your individual goals. Here are 5 tips to help you manage diabetes.

  1. Focus on small gradual dietary changes that you can stick with.
  2. Keep portion sizes in check. Consider the plate method – making half your plate veggies.
  3. Understand carbohydrates – it’s not just sugars, but starch also breaks down to sugars!
  4. Monitory your blood sugar levels.
  5. Trust a Registered Dietitian with your nutritional health.  You can DO IT, ask for help when you need it.

[1] Today’s Dietitian (2017)
[2] Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month (2017)

3 out of 5 adults have a chronic disease Are you one of them?

chronic disease apr 2017

Did you know that 4 out of 5 Canadian adults are at risk for chronic disease, and 3 out of 5 Canadian adults actually live with a chronic disease? [1]  The top 4 chronic diseases in Canada are Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes and Chronic Respiratory disease. The good news is that 40% of cancers, 80% of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and respiratory disease are preventable by reducing common risk factors such as:

  • poor nutrition
  • lack of physical activity
  • smoking
  • harmful use of alcohol.

According to the World Health Organization, an unhealthy diet is one of the primary risk factors for chronic disease. Research shows that diet counselling makes a difference. For example, structured and intensive lifestyle interventions delivered by dietitians can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by up to 60% in clients at risk.[2]

What can you do? 

  • Eat a nutritious and healthy diet, including lots of fruit and vegetables
  • Don’t smoke or use other forms of tobacco
  • Limit your alcohol consumption to Canada’s LOW risk drinking guidelines
  • Maintain a healthy body weight
  • Get regular physical activity

How do you know which nutrition information to trust?

There is so much nutrition information out there that Canadians don’t know what to believe. It can be challenging to know which online nutrition information is credible and which is not. [3] For your food and nutrition questions – ask a Registered Dietitian. Registered Dietitians are the most trusted food and nutrition experts who are committed to helping Canadians enjoy safe, nutritious, affordable and healthy eating.  As nutrition experts, dietitians can help you decide on and find factual information that’s relevant to your health and wellness needs. Contact us or check out the ‘Your Health’ section at www.dietitians.ca.

[1] Chronic Disease Alliance Prevention Canada (2016)  http://www.cdpac.ca/media.php?mid=1411
[2] Dietitians of Canada, The impact of diet counselling (2015) https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Chronic-Disease-2-pager.aspx
[3] Dietitians of Canada Nutrition Month (2017) www.dietitians.ca

What’s on new the MENU in Ontario Restaurants? Calorie Labelling!

what's on the menu blog march 2017

Have you noticed the new calorie labelling on Ontario chain restaurant menus? Operators, servers and consumers are coming to grips with the new reality of revealing calories in a serving of food. We are labelling experts who look beyond the fads to deliver reliable food forward advice.  I was honoured to moderate partnership events and engage with stakeholders about the challenges of the new menu labelling in Winter 2017 . Thanks to the leadership of Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP), Restaurants Canada and Dietitians of Canada in making these important professional discussions happen. A shout out to fellow dietitian Donna Bottrell who did a terrific job organizing the events, and to Nancy Hewitt President CAFP Toronto for her support.

CAFP lucia moderator event
From left: Donna Bottrell RD, event lead organizer; Nancy Hewitt, CFE, President of the CAFP Toronto Branch; Susan Somerville RD, Dean, Humber College, Jamie Rillet Vice President, Restaurants Canada and Lucia Weiler RD.

Here is a snapshot of what we heard:

  • ‘Medium and small chains are looking for guidance and consistency from the Government.’ Jamie Rilett, Restaurants Canada
  • ‘It’s challenging for a server to explain the calorie range for a serving size. More support and education would be helpful’ K.B.Bose, Shoeless Joe’s
  • ‘There is the nutrient variable to consider and educate about. How to address the fact that milk has more calories than pop but it’s also more nutritious?’ Katie Jessop RD
  • ‘Collaboration is needed between food professionals: chefs, dietitians and nutritionists.  And we are eating foods- not just one food. Food combinations in menus can help create healthier options. Nutrition professionals can assist operators and consumers.’   Lucia Weiler RD
  • ‘A lot of time was spent by Aramark in the initial analysis…they made sure to standardize recipes and then tested and tested which led to a recipe database.’ Karen Williams, Aramark
  • ‘Menu calorie labelling is just the beginning. There is a future importance for all aspects of nutrition and food, especially sustainable processing. Millennial consumers are very conscious about the’ what’ and the ‘how’ of food.’ K.B.Bose, Shoeless Joe’s

For more stakeholder views, participant feedback or restaurant menu labelling guidance please contact us.  We are registered dietitians who love food and our long term vision shapes nutrition and guides the way people eat.  Our expertise in nutrition communication and labelling can help your team formulate unique insights and create menu solutions that both foodservice professionals and consumers can use.

2017 Top food and nutrition trends

2017’s top 10 fowhat's hotod and nutrition trends signal big changes for the year ahead and include a renewed focus on quality and enjoyment of food, sustainability, clean eating and influential new regulations. Read on for more of our expert advice on trends that will impact consumer food choices. Let us know what you think…

1. Clean Eating
Consumers demand to know exactly what is in their food and where it comes from so they can make informed choices that are in line with their values. For mindful decisions, the ingredient list, the food source and recipe composition are all becoming more significant factors.

2. Kids & Youth
Health Canada identified promoting the importance of healthy eating in children and youth a priority. Look for more resources, reports and dietary guidance to help establish healthy eating habits at an early age.

3. Enjoy food in the company of others
Food is a powerful way to connect with people which has benefits well beyond nutrition. We’ll see focus on bringing back the pleasure of everyday shared meals, cooking and conversation.

4. Sustainability
Taking care of the planet is a priority with a strong millennial focus. Look for ways to eliminate food waste, use up less than perfect looking fruit/veg, eat food before it spoils, package in compostable or biodegradable materials.

5. Protein Power
Protein continues to be a nutrient of great interest at every meal occasion, especially breakfast. Expect increased attention to plant based protein sources in healthy recipes such as tofu, nuts, seeds, pulses (dried beans, peas, lentils and chickpeas).

6. Food Security
Let’s recognize the importance of equitable access to affordable, wholesome, healthy foods and drinks for all Canadians. Supporting best health through good nutrition for everyone is driving a variety of new efforts.

7. Veggie Believers
Growth of vegetarian, vegan and other plant-focused foods are fueled by consumers looking for ways to boost their veggie intake at home and while eating out. Find more ways to make half your plate veggies.

8. Digestive Health – Feed Your Fiber Famished Gut!
Keeping your gut healthy involves eating probiotics that feed the friendly bacteria that live in your intestine. Canadians get less than half of the daily recommended amount of fibre, so look for more tips on boosting fibre intake, specifically probiotic type fibres for digestive health. More information is available on probiotic fibres at http://bit.ly/2jPasvW 

9. New Food Labels and Claims
Health Canada through a commitment to transparency and ongoing regulatory modernization is revamping the packaged food label and Canada’s Food Guide. Calories, sugars, fat are focus on packaged foods and calories are required on restaurant chain menus. Check CFIA guidelines for any statements that may be made about the nutritional value of foods or menu items to help you avoid any violations.

10. Dietitians are Most Trusted Experts in Food & Nutrition
Many Canadians get their food and nutrition information from the ‘Wild Wild Web” of the internet which has so much misinformation. Instead, look to dietitians, the most trusted experts in food and nutrition. We do the hard work of studying the evidence, reviewing the research and translating the science to credible recommendations that you can use.

Let’s start a conversation! Join me at  our 10th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists Course  on April 26th 2017 University of Toronto

How to Cook Perfect Green Veggies – make ahead 2 step blanching method

green-veg-cook-recipeHere is my secret tip for tasty make ahead vibrant green veggies. It’s called blanching – where the veggies are placed briefly into boiling water then removed and plunged into an ice bath that stops the cooking. Blanching is a terrific preparation method to partially cook veggies making them a bit softer and removing any strong taste without compromising nutrition. You can serve blanched veggies directly or keep them in the fridge for up to 5 days. Use blanched veggies as salad boosters or reheat for a quick dinner side dish. It’s also a terrific pot luck dinner contribution where you prep ahead at home, store in fridge and upon arrival at the host’s home you only need to reheat briefly for a healthy and tasty side dish.

  1. Boil a large pot of water (you can add 2 Tbsp lemon juice to the water for flavour boost). Prepare your ice water bath and a dish with a tea towel to dry the veggies. (see pictures top row)
  2. Wash and clean you green veggies.
  3. Drop a small batch of veggies into boiling water for 2 min (3 min max. if you must). Repeat steps below until all your veggies are blanched.
  4. Take out veggies from boiling water using long handle tongs or slotted spoon & toss them into ice water bath for a few minutes to stop the cooking.
  5. Remove cooled veggies from ice bath, shake out water and place them on clean tea towel to dry.
  6. Place all your blanched veggies in a covered container and store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  7. Enjoy cold in salads or reheat on stove top in a pan with 1 Tbsp vegetable oil. Top with toasted almonds for a tasty and nutritious side dish.

Bon appétit