March is Nutrition Month: Canada’s Top Dietitians Unlock the Potential of Food
Food Fuels Energy, Kids Learning and Preventative Health
On the surface, food can look simply as just a source of nutrition. In reality for all Canadian Dietitians food is about nourishment. Food nourishes growth in children, health and physical activity performance. It also nourishes workplace productivity, social fun and family connection. As a Calgary Dietitian I am fascinated by food. The Registered Dietitian and Online Nutritionist team I work with in our practice love the role it can play to help nourish ourselves, our families and our workplace.
This year the 2019 Nutrition Month campaign theme builds on the 2018 campaign theme to inspire Canadians to Unlock the Potential of Food. Repeating a campaign theme has the benefit of adding more longevity to some of the simple yet very important key messages Canadians need to know. Read on for some of the key topics that explore the potential of food.
Potential to fuel:
Plan nutritious meals and snacks to energize your day
Close to half of all Canadians find it at least somewhat challenging to eat a balanced diet when they are busy. That means they often skip meals and eat a lot of snacks to stay fuelled throughout a busy day. Of course as a dietitian, I promote the fact that snacking can be healthy, as long as people choose primarily nutritious snacks in manageable portions.
Nutrition Month commit to sharing your favorite ideas with your friends and coworkers. Here are 10 simple snack ideas to get you
- Whole grain crackers, cucumber sticks and hummus
- Banana, frozen mango, yogurt and milk smoothie
- Kiwi fruit and handful of nuts/seeds
- Apple slices with nut butter
- Cottage cheese with unsweetened canned pineapple
- Carrots, snap peas and celery sticks and dip
- Dried apricots, pumpkin seeds and low sugar breakfast cereal mix
- Plain latte or tea latte
- Hard cooked egg and grape tomatoes
- Yogurt, fresh or frozen berries and granola
- Start a healthy recipe share on email by asking your family and friends to share with you one to three favorite healthy recipes.
- Start a recipe share on Facebook and ask your family and friends for their favorite ways to make vegetables taste delicious (since so many people fall short in adequate vegetables).
- Post a recipe of the month at your workplace and encourage people to snap a photo of the recipe poster on the wall to take home with them on their smartphone.
Potential to discover:
Teach kids to shop and cook to foster lifelong healthy eating habits
While 68% of Canadians say they often prepare food for a meal or snack, most don’t get their children involved in the process. What’s troubling is that 16% say they never let their child help in the kitchen, making it difficult for kids to learn how to cook.
Teaching kids about food fosters lifelong health habits and can help with picky eating. Cooking ties in to many things children learn in school, and can help with math, science, social studies, reading, media literacy and health.
Toddlers, children and teenagers learn what they live. It is not just parents that influence kids eating patterns. Grandparents, caregivers, teachers and coaches also play a role.
- At home invite young children to wash vegetables, peel carrots, mix up scrambled eggs, stir pancakes together, assemble quesadillas or make homemade breaded chicken fingers.
- Watch videos online on how to cut up specific items like a chef. Buy kids their own knife and teach them how to use it safely.
- Parents and grandparents can help create a family favorite recipe binder. Write out the recipes with kids (especially if they are in your head) so they can begin to learn how to make these. This recipe book will be invaluable when they move away from home.
- Instead of serving a prepared healthy snack on playdates or aftercare,
insteadhave kids prepare or assemble the snack as an activity. Have kids thread strawberries, grapes andmelon on skewers to make fruit kabobs. Let them dip fruit in what I call “yo-nut” dip (yogurt mixed with nut butter).
Potential to prevent:
Understand how food can help prevent disease like heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, dementia and some types of cancer.
It is no surprise that a basic healthy diet for disease prevention includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains, healthy fats, and healthy protein sources such as legumes, nuts, seeds, meat, poultry, fish and dairy products.
The new simple visual guide of Canada’s Food Guide makes this easier. A balanced plate more effectively showcases these foods than the old guide that listed portions sizes, recommended serving sizes and food groups.
A diet based on whole foods and less processed foods also helps prevent type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, dementia and some types of cancer. This diet can have many different names, but the foods are mostly the same. Examples:
Mediterranean dietary pattern can help reduce the risk of heart disease, lower
blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and improve blood glucose control
for people with type 2 diabetes. It may also improve some of the symptoms of
rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s, dementia and glaucoma.
- The DASH Diet can lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of developing hypertension.
- The MIND Diet may help reduce cognitive decline and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Consumption of vegetables, fruits and whole grains is protective against some types of cancer.
If you need a hand with taking the general knowledge you have about nutrition and healthy eating but actually putting this into practice our specialized Calgary Nutritionists and Online Dietitians can help. We find many of our clients have a general idea of what they should be eating but struggle more with how to put that knowledge into action.
Contact us to book a free 15 minute phone or video consultation to find out more about how we may be able to help you with your goals or health concerns. Our Dietitian Calgary team and Online Nutritionists specialize in weight concerns, meal planning, eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder), heart health (high cholesterol, high blood pressure), diabetes, digestive issues (nutrition for IBS, celiac disease, constipation, diarrhea), pediatric nutrition (picky eating, food allergies, weight issues, ADHD), sports nutrition and more.
Unlocking the potential of dietitians
Dietitians unlock the potential of food by translating the science of nutrition into easy to understand messages everyone can understand. While many people are aware that as regulated health professionals dietitians undergo rigorous, ongoing training and are held to the highest standards of education and ethics, many people have no idea of the difference between a dietitian and other so-called “nutrition experts.” For more information on the differences please check out our article: How to Hire the Best Nutrition Coach for Your Needs.
As Registered Dietitians that specialize in meal planning, weight concerns, emotional eating, eating disorders, digestive health, heart health, diabetes, pediatric nutrition and sports nutrition we can see you in our local Calgary nutritionist office or as an Online Dietitian by phone or video conferencing for virtual nutrition counseling. Find out more about our Dietitian Nutrition Counseling Programs here.