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nutrition month

Fish Taco Bowl

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the Slaw

  • ¼ cup Grapeseed oil
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ cup chopped green onions
  • ½ cup cilantro leaves (optional)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 limes juiced
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
  • 3-4 cups shredded purple and green cabbage

For the Fish Taco Bowls

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 lb cod or other white fish
  • ½ cup brown rice flour or whole wheat flour (can use white all purpose flour if that’s what you have)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • avocado, salsa, lime wedges and shredded mozzarella cheese for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

SLAW:

  1. Blend the oil, water, green onions, cilantro (if using), garlic, salt and lime juice in a blender or food processor until chopped/chunky. Add the sour cream and pulse again until just combined (you don’t want it totally smooth more like an herby creamy sauce).
  2. Toss the sauce with the cabbage and Let it sit in the fridge while you prepare the other ingredients.

 QUINOA:

  1. Prepare the quinoa according to package directions.

 FISH:

  1. Pat the cod dry with paper towels and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Combine the flour, spices, and salt in a shallow dish.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  4. Dredge each piece of fish in the flour and add it to the hot pan, frying for a few minutes on each side. When the fish is golden brown, remove from pan and sprinkle with the salt.

 SERVING:

  1. Plate each dish with a scoop of quinoa, a few pieces of fish, a scoop of lime cabbage slaw, and avocado, salsa, grated cheese or any other toppings you like.
  2. Serve with lime wedges

Inspired by: http://pinchofyum.com/spicy-fish-taco-bowls-with-cilantro-lime-slaw

Shrimp and Kale over Cauliflower Mash

Servings: 4

Ingredients

For the Cauliflower Mash

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into small florets (about 6 cups)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 cups reduced sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 14-ounce can white beans, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • ½ cup partly skimmed shredded mozzarella

For the Kale

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 package kalettes, if you can find them Or 3 cups chopped kale
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

For the Shrimp

  • 1 lb. shrimp
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

For the cauliflower

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the cauliflower and garlic. Sauté for a minute or two, until the garlic is fragrant.
  2. Add the milk and 2 cups broth. Simmer for 10 minutes or until soft.
  3. Add the while beans and mash roughly with the back of a large wooden spoon or a potato masher.
  4. Stir in the cornmeal (the mixture will start to thicken).
  5. Adjust the consistency by adding the last cup of broth to the consistency you want.
  6. Stir in the cheese and season to taste.

For the kale:

  1. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium low heat.
  2. Add the greens and garlic and sauté until softened.

If using kalettes, add a little water at the end to sort of steam them to finish them off.

  1. Remove kale and wipe out pan with a paper towel.

For the shrimp:

  1. Using the same skillet as you used for the kale heat it over medium heat.
  2. In a small bowl mix the extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt and pepper together.
  3. Place shrimp into a medium bowl and pour oil and spice mixture over shrimp mixing to coat shrimp.
  4. Add shrimp to the skillet and cook the shrimp for ~1 minutes per side (pink and cooked through)

Serve the shrimp and kale over the cauliflower mash!

Inspired by http://pinchofyum.com/spicy-shrimp-cauliflower-mash-roasted-kale

Slow Cooker Asian Beef Bowl

Serves: 6 servings

Cook Time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds flank steak, trim excess fat and slice into one-inch pieces (against the grain), you can also buy packages of beef cut in “stir fry” strips
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger*
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar or rice vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 2 cups brown rice or quinoa, cooked
  • Shredded carrots, red cabbage, julienne cucumbers and chopped green onions for serving

HEALTHY ALTERNATIVE! Instead of using brown rice or quinoa try making cauliflower rice or combining half quinoa or brown rice with half cauliflower rice.

HEALTHY ADDITION!  Add kale or a leaf of your choice on top of the rice for an added green!

 Instructions

  1. Add flour and beef to a large resealable plastic bag (e.g. Ziploc) and shake to combine until flour equally coats beef.
  2. Put beef in slow cooker
  3. In a medium blow, whisk together soy sauce, ginger, honey/maple syrup, vinegar, garlic and oil.
  4. Pour over beef.
  5. Cover and cook on high for 3.5 hours.
  6. Once done turn slow cooker off and let rest for 30 minutes.
  7. Serve immediately with rice (or quinoa) and top with carrots, cabbage, cucumbers and green onions.
  8. Top with additional sauce and sesame seeds if desired.

Adapted from http://momtomomnutrition.com/food-and-recipes/slow-cooker-asian-beef/

*Kitchen Hack: Peeling ginger with a teaspoon is a lot easier and less wasteful than using a knife.

  1. Cut the amount of ginger you need.
  2. Hold the ginger in one hand and use the tip of your spoon to scrape off your peel.
  3. The peel is very thin and you should find that it comes off easily.

HELPFUL LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9zgXSdnPGI

 

Nutrition Month Poster

By: Corey Etherington

Nutrition Month has come and gone but our healthy eating journey is just beginning! I have learned so much over this past month and my goal moving forward is exactly what Dietitians of Canada has set out for all of the participants – to Make it Stick!

This past month gave me confidence in the kitchen that I didn’t know was possible. I overcame my own fears and self-doubt and realized that I actually CAN cook. That is a great accomplishment but the biggest feat by far was that I managed to successfully feed my family something fresh, new and tasty almost every night.

Prior to this challenge, I was feeding my toddler Edie in her high-chair while hurriedly trying to prepare something for Ross and I to eat once Edie was asleep. Being able to eat together over the last few weeks was awesome and Edie absolutely loved it. She looked forward to it and ate so much more than before. Eating as a family definitely made a difference for her and I know I want to keep that up!

I plan on taking all that I’ve learned and applying these healthy new habits moving forward. Below are just some of my favourite nutrition tips:

  • Create weekly meal plans
  • Write a detailed grocery list and stick to it!
  • Buy quality ingredients including more local ingredients whenever possible
  • Ensure I am cooking enough for next-day leftovers!
  • Continue to try new things and new cooking techniques

Amanda showed me that cooking at home is possible even with a busy lifestyle. Her guidance and encouragement really helped and I’m so thankful for the nudge she gave me to participate in the 100 Meal Journey. Working with a dietitian doesn’t have to be something we save for when there’s a health problem. I hope you have enjoyed following along and I hope you too can Make it Stick!

For more expert advice on healthy eating, contact: Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc.Registered Dietitian, Simply Nutrition 416-805-2584, amanda@simplynutrition.ca, www.simplynutrition.ca

RELATED LINKS:

Week 4: Tips and Tricks for Trying Something New!

Week 3 Recap: Prioritizing Portion Size

Week 3: Prioritize Portions

Week 2 Recap: Quality Counts!

Week 1 Recap: Meal Plan Your Way to Success!

Stocking-Up On Nutrition Month Essentials!

Following One Family’s Journey to Healthier Eating

Edie Etherington enjoying her shrimp & kale over cauliflower mash during Week 4 of Nutrition Month

By: Corey Etherington

Wow, Nutrition Month is flying by!

This week’s theme of trying something new was not one I was super excited for, especially considering I’m nine months pregnant.  It took a little persuading and a lot of motivation but I’m proud to say I made it through with the added bonus of learning some great new recipes, here’s how the week went:

Monday: Shrimp & Kale over Cauliflower Mash

Ross & Corey’s Rating: So tasty! And so easy!

Edie’s Rating: Yummmm! Edie loved this meal.

I don’t generally cook with kale because I find it’s either or over or undercooked depending on the day, but with this simple recipe, it came out perfectly.  As for the cauliflower mash, where have you been all my life? It was so good and also so easy.

Corey’s Tip 1: One head of cauliflower makes a lot of mash. If you don’t plan on using it again the next day you can probably use half the cauliflower and have enough for dinner and a bit left for lunch the next day.

Dietitian Tip: Corey is right one head of cauliflower gets you a great deal of bang for your buck.  Cauliflower can last up to 10-12 months in the freezer.  Chop the cauliflower or “rice” it, use what you need for dinner and place the rest in a plastic freezer bag.  One mess for more than one meal!

Shrimp & kale over cauliflower mash
Shrimp & kale over cauliflower mash

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Lentil Soup & Marinated Skirt Steak

Ross & Corey’s Rating:

Soup – Flavorful and delicious!

Steak – I had to make a few modifications and it ended up being not as flavorful as I had hoped.

Edie’s Rating: I LOVE STEAK!

Corey’s Tip 1: The slow-cooker is always a good idea! This soup is full of vegetables and tastes amazing. I didn’t have ‘herbs de provence’ and even though it was on my grocery list I forgot to buy it. A quick Google search and a dive into my spice rack was all I needed to create something similar.

Corey’s Tip 2: I recommend skirt steak, as called for by the recipe, as opposed to another cut of meat.  We had flank steak on-hand and it didn’t come out quite as flavourful as we’d hoped.

Dietitian Tip:  Getting to know how to substitute cuts of meat can be very useful, but don’t be shy: ask the butcher at the grocery store what they recommend as a substitute. 

Wednesday: Fish Taco Bowl

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Insanely delicious!!

Edie’s Rating: Edie ate fish!! Edie ate fish!!

I sometimes find fish to be a challenge in the kitchen, but this recipe gave me a huge confidence boost because it came out so well!

Corey’s Tip 1: Cut the spice down a bit if you think your kids will eat it. I used 1.5 tsp of chili powder and it had some kick to it. Edie still ate it but I probably could’ve done 1 tsp and it would’ve been just as good.

Dietitian Tip: It’s important not to give up immediately when toddlers don’t like certain foods.  They may have to be presented with that food 15-20 times before they learn to eat or enjoy it.  Your best bet for success is to have that item at a family meal, enjoy it yourself but avoid applying any pressure to your toddler.  Remember those little people are allowed to have preferences too and they may just not like that food!

Fish taco bowl
Fish taco bowl

Thursday: Braised Chicken with Vegetables and Rice Noodles

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Ross is not a huge stir fry fan. Probably because it was the only thing I ever made when we moved in together and it wasn’t very good. But… this recipe was delicious!

Edie’s Rating: More chicken please!

I always want to use rice noodles in stir fry but I always ruin them. As it turns out, I’ve been missing one key step – soak the noodles in cold water before cooking with them!

Corey’s Tip: Add whatever vegetables you have in the fridge. The sauce is light and flavorful and tastes great on all vegetables – I added broccoli and water chestnuts.

Dietitian Tip: Stir fry is the best way to empty out your vegetable drawer!

Week four has been another great week. I tried new ways of cooking and I gained confidence in the kitchen. I was also able to make more dishes that did not require the slow cooker!

With all that we have learned over the past four weeks – meal planning, the importance of quality ingredients, portion control and now trying new things I really feel like we can make this stick. We have been eating well and saving money but most importantly we have been enjoying quality family time, can’t wait to invite the newest member of our family to the dinner table!

For more expert advice on healthy eating, contact: Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc.Registered Dietitian, Simply Nutrition 416-805-2584, amanda@simplynutrition.ca, www.simplynutrition.ca

RELATED LINKS:

Week 4: Tips and Tricks for Trying Something New!

Week 3 Recap: Prioritizing Portion Size

Week 3: Prioritize Portions

Week 2 Recap: Quality Counts!

Week 1 Recap: Meal Plan Your Way to Success!

Stocking-Up On Nutrition Month Essentials!

Following One Family’s Journey to Healthier Eating

 

 

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia/Creative Commons

By: Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc

The theme for nutrition month this week is Try Something New! So I’m encouraging all of you to join the journey and try something different. Here are a few kitchen hacks to test out this week:

Monday

 Become a Garlic Guru

Q: Love using fresh garlic but hate that it takes so long to peel?

A: Microwave the head of garlic for about 20 seconds and the peels will slip right off.

Q: Can’t stand that your hands smell like garlic all day?

A: Try rubbing your hands on your stainless steel sink.  The stainless steel molecules  bind to the garlic molecules getting rid of that pesky smell.  Isn’t science cool!?

Tuesday

Cooking Gingerly:  Chop fresh ginger into one-inch pieces and freeze them for use at a later time! A microplane grater (like the one below from William Sonoma) is ideal for adding finely-grated ginger flavour to some of your favourite dishes!

How to Peel Ginger: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9zgXSdnPGI

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/microplane-rasp-grater/
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/products/microplane-rasp-grater/

Wednesday

Skinning a Tomato:

  1. Make an X on the bottom of your tomatoes
  2. Throw them into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute
  3. Take the tomatoes out with a slotted spoon and put them into a bowl of cold water or an ice bath.
  4. Lift them directly back out, peel back the skin with a knife or your fingers.
  5. The skin will slip off like a charm.

 Thursday

Trim the Fat! Have you ever noticed a thin layer of oil on the top of a soup or stew? If you drop a couple of ice cubes into a soup, stew or casserole, you’ll see easy to scoop globs of fat form. This is because the fat will begin to congeal in the colder areas.

Friday

Don’t Boil Over! Ever walk away from the stove only to hear the sizzle of water boiling over on to the burner? Place a wooden spoon across the pot or pan of boiling water and it stops it from boiling over. Problem solved!

Saturday

Freeze-in the Freshness! Use ice cube trays to save fresh herbs, sauces and stocks to use for future meals. Just pop them out and reheat as part of your next meal. This cuts down on waste and helps save money too!

Sunday

A Juicy Tip! I love when a recipe calls for lemon or lime juice but some lemons and limes are a little more difficult to juice. The trick? Pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to make juicing them much easier.

I hope you find these tips both fun and useful in your journey to eating healthier meals at home!

For more expert advice on healthy eating, contact: Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc.Registered Dietitian, Simply Nutrition416-805-2584, amanda@simplynutrition.ca, simplynutrition.ca 

 

RELATED LINKS:

Week 3 Recap: Prioritizing Portion Size

Week 3: Prioritize Portions

Week 2 Recap: Quality Counts!

Week 1 Recap: Meal Plan Your Way to Success!

Stocking-Up On Nutrition Month Essentials!

Following One Family’s Journey to Healthier Eating

5 Ways to Teach Kids About Nutrition

Reading Nutrition Labels

Show Your Fruits and Vegetables Some Love this Valentine’s Day

Korean Beef Bowl Prepared by Corey Etherington for Week 3 of Nutrition Week

By: Corey Etherington

Another successful week on our journey to healthy living!

This week we focused on portion control, something that’s been a challenge for us in the past as I tend to serve larger-than-necessary helpings that often lead to overeating. Our goal for the last seven days was to pay close attention to how much we were eating, to listen to our bodies and to walk away from the table feeling satisfied – not sick.

By applying the other lessons we’ve learned to date, including meal-planning and cooking with quality ingredients, we were able to prepare reasonable sized portions that were both healthy and delicious – and the slow-cooker only made an appearance once!

Here is what Week 3 looked like in our house:

Monday: Slow Cooker Asian Beef with Brown Rice

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Delicious!! Prep is insanely fast and easy and comes with a fun ginger peeling trick.

Edie’s Rating: Delicious!! Edie absolutely loved this dish. She even asked for it again on Tuesday night.

Corey’s Tip 1: The recipe says to cook for 3.5 hours but there isn’t a lot of liquid in this recipe so I decided to only cook it for 3 hours. Turns out that was a good decision as any longer and the meat would’ve been really dry. But… every slow cooker is different so just like Amanda told us to learn about our oven, learn about your slow cooker too.

Dietitian Tip: Cut the amount of brown rice by half and try making this dish with cauliflower rice to increase your daily vegetable intake.

Dietitian Tip: Add a green veggie like kale and serve the beef on top to add an extra crunch to the mix. Kale is a great source of Beta Carotene and C which are both antioxidants!

Tuesday: Skillet/Oven Chicken Burgers with Greek Salad

Ross & Corey’s Rating: WE LOVE BURGERS!

Edie’s Rating: More! More! More!

Corey’s Tip 1: I made a few modifications to the recipe, including: using ground turkey instead of chicken, eliminating cumin (personal taste) and barbequing the burgers for that delicious, charred quality. Lesson here – make whatever easy modifications you need to in order to ensure the family is eating a balanced, healthy homemade meal.

Corey’s Tip 2: Greek salad dressing is a staple in our house. I never put the salt in and I cut the sugar in half. I also use the optional oregano. LINK: http://www.food.com/recipe/greek-salad-dressing-57642?nl=email_share

Dietitian Tip: Corey is absolutely right! Modify recipes and replace herbs and spices that you’re not fond of with ones you love.   Experimentation is key!

Wednesday: Buddha Bowl

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Maybe we should go vegetarian?! This was so delicious!

Edie’s Rating: Edie tried this on Thursday night but only ate some sweet potato dipped in the tahini sauce. She liked it but was more interested in leftover turkey burgers.

Corey’s Tip 1: Mix-up the flavours according to your preference. This dish will work with any vegetable you have in the fridge and if the recipe is too spicy, modify it!

Dietitian Tip: This dish calls for Tumeric, the spice that gives curry its yellow color. Here are some healthy facts you might not know about it:

  • Curcuminoids or curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric
  • Research being conducted looking at the the beneficial effects of cucumin on;
    • Inflammation, aging, depression, prevention of Alzheimers Disease
Preparing vegetables for the Week 3 Buddha Bowl
Preparing vegetables for the Week 3 Buddha Bowl

Thursday: Citrus Marinated Chicken

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Ross is obsessed with this chicken, the fresh ingredients taste like an explosion of summer!

Edie’s Rating: Edie wasn’t feeling the cilantro in this dish.

Corey’s Tip 1: I used chicken breasts instead of thighs. I prefer white meat so again, personal preference.

Corey’s Tip 2: This recipe calls for broiling. I am not good at broiling – I tend to overcook everything I broil so instead, I just baked the chicken.

LINK: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Citrus-Marinated-Chicken-Thighs-51178850

Dietitian Tip: Setting timers is very useful! Broiling can be an important part of a recipe but sometimes it just needs a couple minutes. Turn the oven light on and keep on eye on your food.

SUMMARY

Week three was a really good lesson for us. We listened to our bodies and as a result, our meal planning really paid off. We had leftovers for lunch and even dinner if we wanted it! One of the best parts of the week was that Edie had something new every night and because I was so prepared, we were able to sit together as a family and eat dinner every night. Edie is such a good eater when we are eating too and she is more willing to try new things. It’s awesome!

I can honestly say that this journey has been an amazing experience so far and we have learned so much.

Week 4 is all about trying new things so wish us luck and follow along!

For more expert advice on healthy eating, contact:
Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc.Registered Dietitian, Simply Nutrition

RELATED LINKS:

Week 3: Prioritize Portions

Week 2 Recap: Quality Counts!

Week 1 Recap: Meal Plan Your Way to Success!

Stocking-Up On Nutrition Month Essentials!

Following One Family’s Journey to Healthier Eating

5 Ways to Teach Kids About Nutrition

Reading Nutrition Labels

Show Your Fruits and Vegetables Some Love this Valentine’s Day

Edie Etherington enjoying her potroast during Week 2 of Nutrition Month.

By: Corey Etherington

Quality definitely does count. The fresher the ingredients, the better the taste and the more my family eats! But – spending quality time spent with family also counts so I’m working on finding the balance between grocery shopping, working full time, and taking care of a toddler, I know it can be done!

Week 2 has been a great reminder of how important it is to be organized – I can’t even begin to tell you the degree to which a meal plan – as we discussed last week – simplifies weekday cooking!

Here is what I can say about our meals this week:

Monday: Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Really tasty! A hearty meal full of flavor.

Edie’s Rating: This is Edie’s absolute favourite meal ever! I’ve actually made it a few times and she seems to love it more and more each time. She is a big fan of beef so this is a no-brainer for us and definitely something we will make again.

Corey’s Tip 1: Chopping all the veggies the night before makes this dish really easy to prepare. Throw it all in the best appliance ever – the slow cooker – and walk away!

Corey’s Tip 2: I’ve made this with stewing beef and it is just as good.

Dietitian Tip 1: This dish has a great combination of vitamins and minerals. Beef is one of many great sources of iron and it is nicely complimented by the vitamin C in the potatoes, which helps our body absorb the iron.

Dietitian Tip 2: For parents with younger kids who are just starting out on solids having your little ones suck or gnaw on the beef can often be enough to get them the iron need – it’s in the juices!

Dietitian Tip 3: When buying pre-made seasoning mixtures such as; steak seasoning be sure to read the ingredients and look for ones without added salt and MSG. Making your own mixtures at combinations and keeping them in plastic bags is a surefire way to know exactly what goes into your spice mixtures.

Tuesday: Fresh Tomato Soup & Tahini Lemon Kale Salad

Ross & Corey’s Rating: Why did I ever use tomatoes from a can?!! This tomato soup recipe is so easy and so delicious. Plus, you will learn a really fun way to peel tomatoes – my mind was blown! The Kale Salad was delicious too. We LOVED the salad dressing. I might’ve forgotten to put the quinoa until we were almost done eating but regardless, it was delicious.

Edie’s Rating: Edie looked in the bowl and said “cereal” and then cried… her dreams of cereal for dinner were shattered in that moment.

Corey’s Tip 1: Remember all of the ingredients – I forgot to buy basil which would’ve been a nice addition to the soup and I forgot to put the quinoa in the salad.

Corey’s Tip 2: Add some extra vegetables to the salad. I added an avocado and it was so delicious in the dressing.

Dietitian Tip: Take advantage of your region’s tomato season! Pureeing and canning them ensures fresh tomato flavor all year round! In Ontario, field tomatoes are in season from July to October.   Check online for your local fruit and vegetable season guide.
Ontario:
https://www.ontario.ca/foodland/page/availability-guide

Wednesday: Leftovers! We had a bit of everything that was in the fridge.

Thursday: Thai Chicken Soup

Ross and Corey’s Rating: I’m not a huge fan of Thai food and I actually had dinner plans with a friend so I prepped this meal for Ross. Ross’ rating… a little bland. I forgot to buy fish sauce and I think that might’ve added some flavor.

Edie’s Rating: Stay tuned… we’re going to give it a try tonight!

Corey’s Tip 1: Don’t forget the ingredients!

Corey’s Tip 2: Chop the ingredients the night before.

Dietitian: When using recipes from new websites, check for comments from people who have attempted the recipe already. This was the mistake I made with this recipe and when I tried it this week, I too found that it was bland.

Week 2 was another successful week! Because I was well prepared with my fresh ingredients, meal plan and stocked fridge, the daunting task of cooking didn’t weigh as heavy on me as it has in the past. I prepped and cooked and I even had time to bake with Edie, which is something she loves to do. I guess I’m beginning to find my balance of quality ingredients and quality time – still have lots of work to do though. Looking forward to Week 3! Keep following us for more delicious recipes.

For more expert advice on healthy eating, contact:
Amanda Lapidus, RD, BSc.Registered Dietitian, Simply Nutrition

 

Photo Credit: Creative/Wikimedia Commons

This week’s theme for Nutrition Month is Quality Counts, so that’s where we’ll be focusing our attention on the next leg of our 100 Meal Journey.

When it comes to meal-planning and home-cooking, quality of ingredients is incredibly important because it requires a lot less preparation and manipulation to turn fresh and healthy groceries into a delicious meal.

Here are my best tips for ensuring quality in your everyday cooking!

BUY SEASONAL, BUY LOCAL!

Buying seasonal and local produce is your best bet for eating fresh, high-quality food. I advise my clients to purchase a vacuum sealer and freeze in the freshness to get long term use out of their fruits and vegetables. Local products are also usually less expensive and as a bonus, you can support your local farmers and fisherman while you’re at it!

GET TO KNOW YOUR FOOD (AND THE PEOPLE WHO SUPPLY IT!)

Whenever possible, get to know your local food suppliers so you know exactly what you’re getting. If that’s unrealistic, do your best to shop at grocers who are purchasing from local farmers and whose stores are curated with the products, their customers and the environment in mind.

MAKE SENSE OF THOSE TRICKY LABELS!

When shopping for the week, it’s important to understand the meaning behind all those labels and what to look for when making your purchases. The options can be overwhelming, from Organic to Non-GMO, antibiotic-free to hormone-free. Here’s a primer on what those terms actually mean and how they’re regulated in Canada:

Organic

What does it mean for food?

  • No synthetic (man-made) pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers ,but can use approved “natural” pesticides
  • Do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs), antibiotics and growth hormones
  • Do not use irradiation or ionizing radiation
  • Higher price point than non-Organic (conventional) foods

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs)

What does it mean for food?

  • Health Canada categorizes genetically modified foods as a novel food and defines genetic modification as changing “The heritable traits of a plant, animal or microorganism by means of intentional manipulation.”

What’s the purpose?

  • To lower price points
  • Enhance nutritional value
  • Improve environmental durability

Growth Hormones

What does it mean for food?

  • Used predominately in beef cattle to help produce leaner beef at a decreased cost
  • Not approved for use in dairy cows, poultry or pork

Antibiotics

What does it mean for food?

  • Promotes growth in animals (beef, dairy cattle, chicken, laying hens, turkey, pork, fish, sprayed on fruit, honeybees)
  • Used to prevent, manage ,and treat sick animals
  • Prevent disease in fruit crops
  • Used heavily on large commercial farms with high animal populations living in close quarters (translation: living in close quarters means when one animal gets sick there is an increased risk for all of the animals to get sick)

There are pros and cons to each of these designations and in some cases, the line is pretty blurry. For example, I don’t yet feel there is strong enough evidence to support that GMOs, antibiotics and growth hormones are harmful, but I am not convinced of their long term safety either. As a dietitian, I advocate for proper and transparent labelling of our food so that we as consumers can make informed decisions to choose high quality ingredients, regardless of how we define them.

BOTTOM LINE!

There are many ways to go about ensuring quality in your daily diet and these points I’ve outlined are just some of them. The best thing to do is ensure you’re as informed as you can be about what you’re eating and where it’s coming from, your family will thank you!

Please note that if you find that any of the information provided above is incorrect or insufficient please let me know. I would not only be happy to make changes but be grateful for any updates you can provide me with.

For more information on the regulation of organic products:

http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/ongc-cgsb/programme-program/normes-standards/comm/32-20-agriculture-eng.html

For more information on Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations:
http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/C.R.C.,_c._870/FullText.html#h-144

Guidelines on how to wash your produce: https://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Cooking/Food-Preparation/Everyday-tips-for-washing-vegetables-and-fruit.aspx

Amanda Lapidus is an experienced, innovative and supportive dietitian, mother and wife, living and working in Toronto.   She is one of the few dietitians who offers personalized and family focused care in the comforts of your own home.  Amanda completed her Honours Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition at The University of Western Ontario and her postgraduate internship in clinical nutrition at Mount Sinai Hospital.   She is a member of the College of Dietitians of Ontario, Dietitians of Canada and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Amanda draws from a diverse career in the field of nutrition with a wide range of physical and mental health knowledge and a special interest in integrative and functional medicine. Amanda works using real foods and believes in making nutrition in your home simple, satisfying and sustainable. For further information, please visit www.simplynutrition.ca or to book a session, contact Amanda at: Amanda@simplynutrition.ca, 416-805-2584

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