Blog / Recipes

What’s the Latest Update on the Canada’s Food Guide?

canada's food guide better resolution

I was happy to attend the annual Dietitians of Canada conference in beautiful Vancouver last week and listened to a presentation by Ann Ellis – Manager of Dietary Guidance Manager at Health Canada – who shared the latest update on the revisions to Canada’s Food Guide.

Originally, the new Food Guide was supposed to be out by now, but Health Canada is waiting for additional data about Canadian’s eating habits, so the timelines have shifted.

Later this fall, Health Canada plans to launch a “Suite of Resources:

Canada’s Dietary Guidelines for Health Professionals and Policy Makers – A report providing Health Canada’s policy on healthy eating. This report will form the foundation for Canada’s Food Guide tools and resources.
Canada’s Food Guide Healthy Eating Principles – Communicating Canada’s Dietary Guidelines in plain language.
Canada’s Food Guide Graphic – Expressing the Healthy Eating Principles through visuals and words.
Canada’s Food Guide Interactive Tool – An interactive online tool providing custom information for different life stages, in different settings.
Canada’s Food Guide Web Resources – Mobile-responsive healthy eating information (factsheets, videos, recipes) to help Canadians apply Canada’s Dietary Guidelines.

In Spring 2019, Health Canada plans to release:
Canada’s Healthy Eating Pattern for Health Professionals and Policy Makers – A report providing guidance on amounts and types of foods as well as life stage guidance.
Enhancements to Canada’s Food Guide – Interactive Tool and Canada’s Food Guide – Web Resources – Enhancements and additional content to Canada’s web application on an ongoing basis.

Some other insights that I learned:
– Health Canada is hoping to get back to an overall pattern of eating and highlight nutrients of public health concern. The new Canada’s Food Guide will also have a heavy focus on food skills and determinants to health.
– There is no intent to advise consumers to avoid meat in the new Food Guide.
– The new Food Guide will focus more on the proportionality and frequency of meals, rather than numbers of servings to consume. In other word, information about number of servings may be more “behind the scenes” info for health professionals rather than front-facing info for consumers
Sign for my free nutrition e-newsletter if you haven’t done so already. And stay tuned – once the new Canada’s Food Guide it out, I’ll let you know all about it!

Should You Be Worried About Lectins?

Beans_

I love eating different grains and beans. In fact, one of my favourite meals is lentils and rice. But there’s a growing buzz about lectins in these foods. Are lectins the new gluten? Here are 5 things you need to know.

1. Lectins are a family of proteins that bind to carbohydrates. Lectins are found in all foods, but are most concentrated in legumes and grains. Uncooked, raw legumes such as red and white kidney beans are one of the biggest sources of lectins. Lectins help protect plants from attacks by pests and insects.

2. Lectins aren’t easily digested, so they pass through the stomach and into the gut where they may “stick” to the gut wall. Eating high amounts of lectins may damage the lining of the gut, potentially causing digestive issues. For example, eating RAW or undercooked or improperly cooked kidney beans can lead to vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.

3. Some people, such as those with Crohn’s disease or inflammatory bowel syndrome, may be more sensitive to lectins. If you have these conditions, speak to a Registered Dietitian to determine the amount of lectins that will minimize any symptoms or flare-ups.

4. Cooking eliminates almost all of the lectins in foods. Boiling legumes and grains in water for example is an easy way to get rid of lectins. Soaking beans, sprouting seeds and grains, and fermenting foods are other ways to lower the lectin content of foods. Canned beans have very low lectin levels due to the canning process.

5. Remember that many lectin-containing foods also provide important nutrients. Grains offer B vitamins, iron and fibre. Legumes offer protein, fibre, iron and zinc. So don’t worry about lectins. Instead, cook your grains and legumes, and enjoy!

Lentil Watermelon Summer Salad

Lentil Watermelon Salad

Watermelon is one of my go-to fruits for the summer! Team it up with some lentils, feta cheese and mint – and you’ve got a beautiful, refreshing, protein-packed salad!

Here’s the Lentil Watermelon Salad that I featured on my TV interview with CHCH Morning Live.

Ingredients
6 cups 1-inch cubed watermelon
1 1/2 cups cooked black lentils (puy or Beluga)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
10 fresh mint leaves, finely sliced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoon white wine or champagne vinegar
salt and pepper

Instructions
1. In a large salad bowl, combine the watermelon, lentils, half of the feta and half of the mint.
2. In a small container, whisk together the olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
3. Pour olive oil mixture over the watermelon mixture. Toss gently to combine.
4. Top with remaining feta and mint before serving.

Makes 8 servings.
Recipe source: www.pulses.org

Men’s Nutrition

Sue Ben 3

June is National Men’s Health Month! Do men need a sports or protein drink? Is it true that beer causes a beer belly? Did you know men need more fibre than women? And what foods are best to prevent prostate cancer and gout?

I met up with Ben Mulroney on CTV Your Morning to chat about these questions!

Watch the interview video and get the answers!

Sue Ben 1rev

YOU can Help Shape Canada’s Nutrition Policies!

Child apple vs hamburger

Are you concerned about marketing to kids? Do you want Canada’s Food Guide to be the best tool to help you and your families eat well? Are you interested in access to safe and healthy food as well as the relationship between agriculture, the environment and the economy?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, then please take some time to complete Health Canada’s free online consultations on these three issues. Don’t miss your chance to have your voice heard!

1. Restricting unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children

Health Canada wants to reduce how much advertising children see or hear about unhealthy food and beverages. This online consultation is the first step to more consultations coming in 2018. Your ideas and opinions will help Health Canada decide how to go about restricting advertising for unhealthy food and beverages to children.
Here is the online consultation survey. Survey closes on July 25, 2017.


2. Canada’s Food Guide

This is phase 2 of the consultations. After this consultation, Health Canada will create recommendations and develop them into consumer messages, tools, and resources. A new suite of Canada’s Food Guide resources will be rolled out beginning in early 2018.
Here is the online consultation survey. Survey closes on July 25, 2017.


3. A Food Policy for Canada

A food policy is a way to address issues related to the production, processing, distribution and consumption of food. The decisions we make as individuals and as a country about food have a direct impact on our health, environment, economy, and communities.
Here is the online survey. Survey closes on July 27, 2017.

New Nutrition Labels are Coming!

nutrition-labels-old-vs-new-bigger

It’s official! After two years of public consultations, Health Canada has finalized the changes to the Nutrition Facts table and ingredients list on packaged foods. On December 14th, 2016, the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health announced that these changes are all part of the strategy to help make healthy food choices the easy choice 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.


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

nutrition-labels-old-vs-new-bigger


Colours will now be identified by their name rather than collectively grouped as “colours”:

ingreds-list-new

Different sugars will still be identified individually by name, and will now be grouped together as “Sugars”:

ingreds-list-sugars

The food industry has until 5 years – until 2021 – to make these changes, but you may start seeing new labels as early as next year.

Celebrate Mindful Eating Day!

c_salad

The Centre for Mindful Eating has declared January 28, 2106 as the first international Mindful Eating Day!

According to the Centre, mindful eating is:
– Allowing yourself to become aware of the positive and nurturing opportunities that are available through food selection and preparation by respecting your own inner wisdom
– Using all your senses in choosing to eat food that is both satisfying to you and nourishing to your body
– Acknowledging responses to food (likes, dislikes or neutral) without judgment
– Becoming aware of physical hunger and satiety cues to guide your decisions to begin and end eating

Here are my tips for eating mindfully today and every day!
1. Listen to your hunger cues. We’ve all turned to food when we were feeling stressed, bored, lonely or upset. Mindful eating encourages us to ask ourselves if we are truly hungry before we automatically reach for a snack or meal.
2. Listen to your fullness cues. My general rule of thumb is to eat until you’re about 80% full. What does 80% feel like? Well, you’re not stuffed and you don’t have to loosen your belt. But at the same time, you’re not hungry anymore.
3. Eat with all of your senses. Can you taste the natural sweetness of those roasted carrots, or the hint of ginger in the butternut squash soup? Savour the flavours, colours, sounds and textures of every meal.
4. Plate it. Put your food on a plate or in a bowl, even if it’s two cookies or a handful of grapes. That way, you’ll have a good sense of your portions which is tricky to do if you’re eating straight out of the cookie bag.
5. Take your time and enjoy! Eating is one of life’s greatest joys, so don’t rush it. Sit down, relax and enjoy each bite!

Pulse Pledge Week 2 – Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

[Thrilled to meet Chef Michael Smith!]

If you haven’t yet signed up for the Pulse Pledge, I encourage you to do it now and join this amazing global food movement! The challenge is to eat pulses once a week for 10 weeks – and you can do that!

Pulses are dried peas, lentils, beans and chickpeas. They’re super nutritious, delicious, versatile, economical and a sustainable food!

For Week 1 of my Pulse Pledge, I whipped up a delicious gluten-free Chickpea Chocolate Cake and shared with my friends and family.

This week, I made Lentil Shepherd’s Pie – it’s my all time favourite lentil recipe and tastes fantastic! I hope you’ll give it a try! I think Chef Michael would approve!

Lentil Shepherd’s Pie
Makes 6 servings
Serve with a side salad or other vegetable.

Ingredients
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) stewed tomatoes
1 can (19 oz/540 mL) green lentils (drained and rinsed)
pepper
3 cups mashed potatoes (about 3 large)
1 cup low fat cottage cheese
4 green onions
salt

Directions
1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook onion, carrots and garlic, stirring occasionally, for 3-5 minutes or until softened.
2. Add tomatoes and break them up (if needed) with a potato masher or back of a wooden spoon. Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until thickened.
3. Stir in lentils, season with pepper to taste. Transfer to a deep 8 cup (2 L) baking dish.
4. Combine potatoes with cottage cheese and green onions. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over lentil mixture to cover completely.
5. Bake, uncovered, in 400 F (200 C) oven for 35 minutes or until heated through.

Recipe Source: The Canadian Living Light and Healthy Cookbook, 1991

Comments/Review: You could also use dried green lentils instead of canned. Just simmer 1 cup (250 mL) of rinsed lentils with about 5 cups (1.25 L) of water for 25 minutes or until tender, then drain well and add to recipe.

“Eat Less, Eat Better”…is it that simple? Rethinking our message about healthy eating and obesity

Will we solve the obesity crisis by simply telling people to “eat less and eat better”? A one-day health professional forum was held in Toronto to rethink our messages about food and obesity. The event featured key leaders in obesity research/treatment and health communications: Dr. Ayra Sharma, Ted Kyle and me! Here’s what the experts were saying.


Dr. Ayra Sharma – Chair for Obesity Research and Management, University of Alberta
• Obesity is a complex chronic disease.
• Simplistic messages about obesity are misleading, can promote unhealthy weight obsession and promote bias and discrimination.
• Prevention and intervention strategies should focus on improving health behaviours rather than on just changing body weight.


Ted Kyle – Founder, ConscienHealth
• Use respectful, people-first language that is free of bias and stigma – e.g. “unhealthy weight” or “high BMI” instead of “fat” or “morbidly obese”.
• “Obese” is a harmful label. “Obesity” is a disease.
• Shift the conversation from “being obese” towards health.


Sue Mah – President, Nutrition Solutions
• “Eating better” means cooking, eating together and enjoying food.
• Consumers are bombarded with food/nutrition messages that simply don’t “have the scientific muster to present as fact” (quoting Dr. Oz here!)
• Health and nutrition communications needs to be creative to capture consumers’ attention.
• From celebrities and chefs to dietitians and politicians, everyone has a role in being a champion for change.

How does a dietitian eat from 9 to 5?


Almost half of Canadians find it challenging to eat healthy meals and snacks at the workplace. From rushed mornings to back-to-back meetings to never ending deadlines, it’s easy to fall victim to brain drain and the mid-day slump!

That’s why the Dietitians of Canada have dedicated this year’s National Nutrition Month theme as Eating 9 to 5, with a focus on strategies to help you get through the day feeling alert and productive. Here’s how this busy dietitian eats from 9 to 5!


9:00 AM – Breakfast is a Yogurt Berry Parfait that I’ve made last night. Simply layer whole grain oats, Greek yogurt and berries in a glass. I’ve sprinkled some bran and hemp hearts in between for an extra boost of fibre and protein. The oats soften overnight and require absolutely no cooking. Using Greek yogurt helps me reach the target 25-30 grams of protein.

Your strategy for rushed mornings: Make breakfast ahead of time. Design a yogurt parfait with your favourite fruit, whip up a fruit/veggie smoothie or wrap a peanut butter sandwich to go.

10:00 AM – I’m on a conference call for an hour. Thanks to my solid breakfast, I’m not hungry. My water bottle is always nearby. Plus I’m standing for most of the meeting.

Your strategy for workplace meetings: Listen to your hunger cues. It can be tempting to nibble mindlessly during meetings. Have a small snack only if you’re feeling hungry.

12:00 PM – I’ve been working on a story deadline and have been sitting for a while now. Time to get moving! Thanks to a complimentary pass to the Yoga Tree studio, I make my way to a lunchtime yoga class. With their line-up of classes throughout the day, it’s easy to find a class that fits into my schedule.

1:15 PM – Lunch is a Quinoa and Shrimp Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts. It’s actually leftovers from last night’s dinner and tastes great cold! A cup of milk and an apple round out my meal. I’m feeling energized, fuelled and ready to take on the afternoon!

Your strategy for lunchtime: Love those leftovers! Don’t be one of the 36% of Canadians who skip lunch! Pack your lunch more often instead of heading to the food court – you’ll have better control of portion sizes plus think of all the money you’ll save!

4:00 PM – I’ve been working non-stop except to take a stretch break at 3 pm. To keep me going until quitting time, I’m snacking on baby carrots and snap peas with hummus. I love pairing P+P (produce plus protein). A big bottle of water with refreshing cucumber slices keeps me quenched.

Your strategy to beat the mid-day slump: Pack your own snacks rather than taking a trip to the vending machine. Include some protein to give you staying power for the homestretch. Swap the coffee for a decaf coffee, tea or water.

For more workplace eating tips, visit Dietitians of Canada.

Love to learn? Love to eat?

Sign up for my free nutrition news, tips, trends, recipes and fascinating food facts!