Tag Archives: nutrition

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

Be Good to Your Gut

gut-health-n4nn-2016-jpgJoin us at the Microbiota Summit on Nov 7th!
RD Lucia Weiler teams up with Chef Eric Deletroz to dish out healthy advice, one bite at a time!

Two out of three Canadians experience digestive health problems every year.  For some people it’s just uncomfortable for a while, but for others it’s a chronic, painful or even life threatening condition. Researchers are looking at ways to keep your gut healthy and are discovering the significant impact of microorganisms that call your gut home.

Did know your body is home to trillions of microorganisms? The human gut in fact has its own microorganism colonies made up of mainly bacteria that are living and working in your body to help keep you healthy. Gut microorganisms are an exciting leading area of research and we are seeing the emergence of a movement on how gut microorganisms impact lifelong health.

On Monday Nov 7th, 2017, the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation (CDHF) is hosting a special education summit on gut health in Toronto for professionals and consumers. Registered Dietitian Lucia Weiler will be teaming up with Chef Eric Deletroz at the event to showcase healthy eating and cooking tips to improve your gut health. Our session will help you discover what to eat for digestive health & how to feed the microorganism world within you. Join us to learn more!

To register for the Microbiota Summit:

  1. Health Care Professional Session: Discover the World Within – Understanding how the Human Microbiota Impacts lifelong health.12:30-5:30 pm in Toronto. Design Exchange, Toronto, Ontario.http://cdhf.ca/en/events/microbiota-summit-for-health-care-professionals
  2.  Consumer directed education session “Healthy Gut Summit’ is also available to help Canadians attain – and maintain — a happy, healthy gut. The session is FREE, but registration is required.http://cdhf.ca/en/events/healthy-gut-summit  Mon. Nov 7. 2016 | 7 – 9pm | Design Exchange Centre | Toronto, Ontario

October is Workplace Wellness Month!

workplace-wellnessIf you find it hard to eat well at work, you’re not alone. Research from an Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Dietitians of Canada finds that 45% of Canadians say that eating healthy meals and snacks while at work is challenging.  As Registered Dietitians and nutrition experts, we know first hand the many benefits of eating well at work:

  • gives you energy to be stay focused and meet your deadlines
  • boosts your concentration and productivity
  • protects you from chronic health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and even dental disease.

Here’s what you can do to improve your eating habits at work:

  1. Load up of vegetables and fruit. Pack your own fruit and veggie snacks so you’re not tempted by a vending machine or cafeteria.
  2. Bring healthy snacks for meetings. Instead of donuts and muffins, offer vegetables and fruit more often and have some whole grain products available.
  3. Bring your own lunch to work instead of eating at the fast food court.  Packing your lunch is both a healthy and saves you money. Also, chances are, the portion sizes you pack are more reasonable!
  4. Satisfy your thirst with water. At meetings serve plain water in pitchers. For flavour boost add lemon, lime or cucumbers. Keep a water bottle on your desk.
  5. Choose to be active. Have a walking meeting around the block or have an activity break instead of a coffee break. Active living is not only healthy but also stimulates creativity!

Keep it going! Workplace wellness and nutrition programs are an investment in your employees’ health and well-being! We can help you build a workplace nutrition program and offer engaging, interactive seminars that will leave a lasting impression and inspire you towards your best health!  Contact us to get started!

Let us know if you’d like some help with adding some punch to your lunch!