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The Sweet Spot Workshop – with Chef Claire Tansey

Sue cooking with Chef Claire Tansey
Sue with Chef Claire Tansey

I love food! And a big part of my job as a dietitian is to help Canadians love food too! I’m passionate about translating the complex science of nutrition into everyday healthy eating tips that make sense and are easy for people to follow. So when my dietitian colleagues at the Canadian Sugar Institute invited me to a hands-on cooking Sweet Spot Workshop with Chef Claire Tansey, I was excited to learn more!

First, some nutrition background

Recently, Health Canada announced new guidelines for sugars and also some new changes to how sugars will be shown on food labels.

Specifically, for the first time ever, there is a Daily Value for sugars, set at 100 grams. According to Health Canada, 100 grams isn’t meant to be the recommended amount of sugars to consume, but instead it’s an amount of sugars that is consistent with a healthy eating pattern. On food labels, the sugars content of the food will be listed in grams (g) and also as a percent of the Daily Value (% DV) (see below for the “NEW” image of the Nutrition Facts table).

 Now remember that 100 grams is the total from all types of sugars:

  • naturally occurring sugars (like the sugars found in fruit, veggies and unsweetened milk products);
  • added sugars (like different sugars that are added when cooking or processing food); and
  • free sugars (these are added sugars plus sugars that are naturally found in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates).
A comparison of the original Nutrition Facts table to the new one. The new one shows a % Daily Value for sugars.
Image source: Health Canada

Now, the food!

So what exactly does 100 grams of sugars look like when it comes to real food? That’s where the Sweet Spot Workshop comes in. Dietitians teamed up at the workshop to make a day’s menu of food – adding up to 100 grams of sugars, staying within the sodium and fat recommendations, and totalling no more than 2,000 calories (the average number of calories needed by an adult). So here’s what we made. All recipes were inspired by Claire’s latest cookbook Uncomplicated.

Breakfast

Instant Bircher Museli – made with oats, unsweetened apple juice, nuts and fresh pears and paired with a single serving of Greek yogurt – 28 g sugars

Lunch

Chilled Cucumber and Sesame Noodles with Tofu – made with soba noodles, maple syrup, sesame oil, cucumbers, tofu and edamame, served with sweet and sour bok choy – 7 g sugars

Snack

Assorted berries and cherries with a fruit / kale Greek yogurt smoothie – 29 g sugars

Dinner

Coconut Chicken Curry – made with chicken, coconut milk, ginger, curry paste, tomatoes and peas, served with steamed broccoli – 7 g sugars

Dessert

Plum-Almond Galette – made with fresh, local plums – 30 g sugars

The bottom line

You can definitely enjoy a variety of healthy meals with a small dessert AND stay within 100 grams of sugars for the day! Enjoy!


Photos by Flora Wang. Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the Registered Dietitians at the Canadian Sugar Institute, and I have received monetary compensation. As always, my own professional opinions and views are expressed.

5 Ways to Celebrate Food Revolution Day

Food Rev Day May 20 2016

Jamie Oliver Food Revolution Day 2016

Globally, 41 million kids under the age of five are overweight, and another 159 million kids are malnourished. Something has to change. For over 15 years, culinary hero and food activist Chef Jamie Oliver has been campaigning for better food and health with a goal to improve global child health.

May 20th marks the third annual Food Revolution Day. The Food Revolution is an ongoing global campaign to improve child health by inspiring positive, meaningful change in the way our kids access, consume and understand food. And it all starts with good, fresh, real food.

Here are five simple things you can do today to build a healthy and happy generation for tomorrow:

1. Cook together! Chef and TV personality Guy Fieri says it best, “Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment and creativity.” Cooking is a life skill.

2. Explore with food. Talk to the farmers at the local farmers’ market. Take the kids grocery shopping to see the variety of produce available all year long. Grow your own veggies. Plan a family outing at a pick-your-own berry or apple farm. Spend a day at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Watch cooking shows together (MasterChef Junior, anyone?)!

3. Make a family cookbook. Go online, look at recipe apps, dust off your cookbooks and magazines. Try new foods and flavours. Put your favourites into a family cookbook – what a perfect holiday gift for friends and family!

4. Sign the Ontario Home Economics Association petition which urges the government of Ontario to make at least one food and nutrition course compulsory in high school. In Japan, cooking classes are mandatory in grades 5 to 12 – and could it be a coincidence that the Japanese have one of the lowest rates of obesity?

5. Sign up for Jamie’s Food Revolution.
Starting at 10 am BST (UK time) or 5 am EST on Friday, May 20, watch live videos on Jamie’s Facebook page where you’ll see him dishing up advice and starring in cooking videos.

Everyday Super Food – by Jamie Oliver


ICYMI, Jamie Oliver was in Toronto on October 28th to launch his new TV show on Food Network Canada and his new cookbook Everyday Super Food. I was there at the TV show prescreening and had a chance to listen to Chef Jamie’s thoughts on his latest cookbook.

The uber chef and foodie, noted that his 40th birthday was the impetus behind this cookbook in which he has a section dedicate to nutrition healthy eating. With so many inspiring words of wisdom from Jamie, we just aren’t sure which one of these is our favourite!

• “On cold, wet, rainy days, food can be a hug.”
• “Access to freshly grown food is linked to longevity.”
• “If you just pick up your shopping and get cooking, you’ll be in a beautiful place.”
• “Food is there to be enjoyed, shared, and celebrated, and healthy, nourishing food should be colourful, delicious, and fun.”

Book Review: The Ultimate Hockey Cookbook for Hockey Families – by Erin Phillips and Korey Kealey

Any hockey mom or dad knows the challenges of feeding their athletes for games, practices and tournaments. In this new cookbook by Erin Phillips and Korey Kealey, you’ll find nutrition tips and winning recipes for your hockey star.

Phillips is a nutritionist, mom to three active kids, wife to Ottawa Senators’ defenceman Chris Phillips, and herself plays hockey. Kealey is a well-known recipe developer and mom to three competitive hockey players. Together the dynamic duo asked parents and wives of professional hockey pros to share their favourite recipes. The end product, which took two years in the making, is a beautifully illustrated cookbook with easy-to-make recipes from hockey greats including Daniel Alfredsson’s Power Play Meat Sauce, Jason Spezza’s Shoot-Out Sea Bass, and Nick Folgino’s Five-Hole Salad.

A few of the recipes call for veggie and phytoberry powders (a sponsor of the cookbook). While I’m not full convinced of the need for these supplements, Phillips’ nutrition advice is otherwise solid, highlighting the importance of pre-game fuel, hydration, post-game recovery and sleep. The food photography is mouthwatering and the recipes sport fun, hockey-themed names like Penalty-Kill Parfaits and Off-the-Post Purple Smoothie.

As a dietitian and hockey mom myself, I give thumbs up to The Ultimate Cookbook for Hockey Families. If purchased at Canadian Tire, 100% of the proceeds from book sales will be donated to JumpStart, a charity that offers financial assitance to help kids across Canada play sports.

Book Review: MINDfull – by Carol Greenwood, PhD

In the growing trend of healthy aging, MINDfull is an easy-to-read cookbook that will appeal to anyone who wants to optimize their brain health. Greenwood, who is a senior scientist at Baycrest Centre Foundation, has been studying the link between diet and dementia for years.

As Greenwood describes it, the brain “has a wonderful capacity to refresh, to renew and to repair itself and to create new brain cells and new connections throughout a person’s life.” The goal of the book is to inspire healthy lifestyle and eating habits to promote successful aging and prevent the degeneration of one’s cognitive function.

To eat your way towards a healthy brain, Greenwood recommends choosing a balanced, high quality diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables (for polyphenols), whole grains and cereals (for fibre), nuts (for monounsaturated fats), spices (such as turmeric and black pepper for anti-inflammatory antioxidants) and fish (for omega-3 fats). Vitamin E, folate and vitamin B12 are important too. These foods and nutrients support the body and brain in many ways:
• strengthens our blood vessels, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to reach every cell in our body;
• nourishes the parts of our brain that are actively involved in speech, learning and reasoning;
• protects our body and brain against inflammation; and
• promotes the growth of new brain cells and neural connections.

Each chapter of the book features practical nutrition information, tips and science-based references. With over 100 brain-boosting recipes like Sweet Potato Waffles, Indian-Spiced Chickpeas, and Malaysian Fish Cakes, you’re sure to find a few new favourites. It’s a welcome addition to my cookbook collection.

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