Cook It Up Healthy Print

Cook It Up Healthy!

By Andrea Holwegner, Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc.

Dietitians of Canada has selected “Cook it up Healthy” as this year’s National Nutrition Month® theme. The campaign focuses on helping Canadians to realize the pleasures and benefits of home cooked, healthy meals prepared and eaten with the family.

Make a Plan to Cook it up Healthy!

Canadians site the top barriers to cooking healthy as lack of time, need for convenience, lack of skills, perception that home cooked meals are less tasty (Dietitians of Canada: National Nutrition Month® 2007 Campaign – Backgrounder for Dietitians and Community Leaders).

Here are 8 steps to break down the barriers to “Cook it up Healthy!

1. Write Down a Weekly Meal Plan:

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Take a look at your schedule this week and write down a dinner plan for your family for one week at a time and post it up on the fridge. Be sure to make a realistic plan that will take into accountant any evening commitments.

2. Design a Staple Foods List for Grocery Shopping:

Make a comprehensive list by grocery store aisle/section of the specific foods you need in your home to cook healthy foods. Make this list once and photocopy it for repeated use. Post this on the fridge and request your family member to highlight or circle items as you run out. This list will save you time shopping and ensure you get everything you need.

3. Add One New Idea Per Week:

Many of us have several recipe books and magazines with recipes and meal ideas we would love to try. When life gets busy we forget to try them and fall back on our same old ideas. If you’re looking to incorporate some new ideas – set a “bite sized” goal for ONE new idea per week. When grocery shopping, set a goal to buy one new veggie or fruit per week that you have either not tried or had in a long time. Alternatively, try one new recipe per week. To come up with some new recipes your family will like: ask younger kids to pick out pictures of recipes they would like to try in recipe books or from kids cookbooks from the library. For older kids, have each family member come up with 3 new recipes they would like to try (from magazines, cookbooks, or the internet). Collect them and then try one new idea per week.

4. Go for Big-Batch and Freezer-Friendly ideas:

Check out the new cookbook by Dietitians of Canada “Simply Great Food” at your local bookstore or www.dietitians.ca/eatwell/.

5. Get Them Involved:

Involve your children in planning breakfast, school lunches and evening dinners. Children are more likely to eat healthy foods and snacks that they choose or that they prepare.

6. Eat Together:

At least several times a week, sit down at the table, turn the television off and eat dinner together as a family. Families who eat together may improve the quality of parent-child relationships. Research has shown that perceived connectedness influences food behaviors in children and youth (Taylor, 2004). Research has also shown a positive association between family meal frequency and nutritional intake among children and adolescents and less risk of those children and teenagers developing eating disorders or unhealthy eating patterns, like skipping breakfast (Newmark-Stzainer et al., 2003). Close to 20% of Canadians eat in front of the television every day. These are mostly people living alone, seniors, and couples without children. People who eat in front of the television mention that they have trouble maintaining a healthy diet and have more negative opinion about their health (Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, 1997).

7. Be a Role Model:

Your kids are watching you! If you don’t make an effort to eat healthy, why would they? If you don’t eat breakfast you may find over time your kids stop eating breakfast. If you regularly drink soft drinks or eat potato chips as snacks, or kids will too. If you don’t cook certain veggies what hope do your kids have for acquiring a taste for them. Research has shown that parents have a direct impact on the eating habits of their children (by what they buy and have available at home) and are role models for health and food choices (Taylor, 2004).

8. Prioritize Family Meals:

The time spent to preparing meals has been steadily declining. In 1900, the average time spent per day for meal preparation was over 6 hours. In 2000, that number has dropped to an average of 45 minutes a day. It is estimated that Canadians now spend only about 20 minutes a day to preparing dinner (Ipsos Reid, 2005; Bowers, 2000). You can still prepare a healthy family meal in 20-30 minutes. It all starts with having a PLAN using the above tips.

Key References:

Bowers, D.E. “Cooking Trends Echo Changing Roles of Women.” Food Review. January-April 2000; 23 (1): 23-29.

Canadian Foundation for Dietetic Research, iDietetians of Canada, Kraft Canada. “Speaking of Food and Eating: A Consumer Perspective”. Toronto, Ontario, 1997, 33p.

Dietitians of Canada. “National Nutrition Month® 2007 Campaign – Backgrounder for Dietitians and Community Leaders.” March 2007.www.dietitians.ca

Ipsos Reid. “Canadians on Healthy Eating.” January 2005, www.ipsos-na.com

Newmark-Stzainer, D., Hannan, P.J., Story,M., Croll, J., Perry, C.L. “Family Meal Patterns: Associations with Sociodemographic Characteristics and Improved Dietary Intake Among Adolescents.” Journal of the American Dietetic Assocation. 2003; 103: 317-322.

Taylor, J. P. et al. “Determinants of Healthy Eating in Children and Youth.” Canadian Journal of Public Health. July/August 2005 ; 96 (S3): S20-S24.

About Andrea Holwegner

CEO, Registered Dietitian, Counseling Practice Director & Professional Speaker

Andrea the «Chocoholic Nutritionist» is founder and CEO of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. since 2000. She is an online nutrition course creator, professional speaker and regular guest in the media. Andrea is the recipient of an award by the Dietitians of Canada: The Speaking of Food & Healthy Living Award for Excellence in Consumer Education....Read more

Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
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Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. Andrea and her team really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
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Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
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Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

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Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Andrea is an excellent teacher and motivator. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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