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March is National Nutrition Month: Simply Cook and Enjoy! Print

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Listen to my monthly radio program with Angela Kokott, host of Calgary Today for our segment, “March is National Nutrition Month: Simply Cook and Enjoy!” to get the goods on healthy eating.

 

The goal of the 2014 National Nutrition Month campaign is that during March (and beyond), dietitians will inspire Canadians to get back to the kitchen to simply cook and enjoy healthy meals with their families. The slogan for this years campaign is “Simply Cook and Enjoy!”

Why is the theme “Simply Cook and Enjoy!” relevant?

There is a growing concern regarding a potential lack of home cooking and loss of cooking skills among Canadians of all ages. Shifting values, time constraints and availability of prepared meals are just a few of the factors that translate into diminishing food preparation skills.

What are cooking skills and why are they important?

There are various definitions of cooking or food skills and they go beyond just knowing how to wield a chef’s knife. Food skills, according to this definition by Region of Waterloo Public Health, is a complex set of skills defined by:

  • Knowledge (i.e. about food, nutrition, label reading, food safety, ingredient substitution)

  • Planning (i.e. organizing meals, food preparation on a budget, teaching food skills to children)

  • Conceptualizing food (i.e. creative use of leftovers, adjusting recipes)

  • Mechanical techniques (i.e. preparing meals, chopping/mixing, cooking, following recipes)

  • Food perception (i.e. using your senses – texture, taste, when foods are cooked)

Aside from being able to create delicious meals, we need cooking skills to be able to create healthy delicious meals. The loss of skills in the kitchen could impact eating habits and diet quality of Canadians.

  • Cooking skills equip us with the ability to make homemade meals, which can improve dietary quality. Cooking meals from scratch is associated with increased intake of vegetables, fruit and whole grains.

  • Lack of cooking skills and spending less time preparing meals is associated with decreased vegetable intake and increased fast food consumption. Eating fast food more often is associated with increased energy intake, poor dietary quality, and increased availability of snack food and pop in the home.

  • Significant health consequences can arise from relying on a diet of highly processed, pre-made meals and restaurant food.

  • mother and daughter cooking togetherFor children, learning to cook helps them to make better food choices and cook for themselves as they grow up. Helping out in the kitchen also involves skills in other areas such as literacy, math and science.

  • Greater involvement of children and teens in food preparation is associated with higher frequency of eating family meals together. In turn, children and teens who regularly eat meals with their families experience benefits such as improved food choices; better nutrient intakes; healthier weights; reduced risk for eating disorders; better social adjustment; and improved school performance.

  • Teens who are involved in meal preparation have a better intake of vegetables and fruit and lower intakes of fat, pop and fried food. There is some evidence that individuals who help with meal preparation as children carry those habits through to young adulthood.

What are some convenient foods that make healthier short cuts?

10 convenience foods that make great healthier shortcuts include:

  • Hand-prepared farmers market soups and healthy entrees

  • Pre-cut butternut squash, yams or mixed raw veggies

  • Canned legumes such as chick peas or lentils

  • Canned diced tomatoes

  • Shredded cheese

  • Eggs

  • Plain frozen fish fillets or light canned tuna or canned salmon

  • Frozen vegetables and fruit

  • Fresh or frozen whole wheat tortellini or pasta

  • Whole grain pizza crusts

What are some fast healthy supper meals?

Sandwiches made with whole grain bread, tortillas or flatbread and filled with delicious, good-for-you ingredients make for a perfect casual supper.

1. Try these tasty sandwiches, served with a side of crisp raw veggies:

  • Fresh roasted turkey breast, avocado, tomato and lettuce

  • Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced pear and spicy red pepper jelly

  • Fresh roast beef, roasted red pepper and red onion

  • Hummus, thinly sliced cucumber, shredded carrot and lettuce

2. Quesadillas filled with black beans, diced sweet pepper, salsa and Monterey Jack cheese

3. Shrimp or tofu sauteed with broccoli, garlic, ginger and a pinch of hot pepper flakes, served over whole wheat couscous

4. Whole grain pita pizzas topped with mushrooms, spinach, leftover grilled chicken and mozzarella

Where can I get more resources on healthy cooking?

March is Nutrition Month logoVisit the Health Stand Nutrition website and subscribe to our bi-monthly newsletter for tips, recipes, articles, podcasts and videos.

Visit www.dietitians.ca to watch videos of Registered Dietitians sharing Simply Cook and Enjoy! cooking tips.

Download eaTipster free from www.eatipster.com and be inspired by a new cooking tip each day in March – and healthy tips for the rest of the year!

Download the Cookspiration free iPhone and iPad app or visit www.cookspiration.com and get recipe ideas based on what you feel like eating.

Reference: Dietitians of Canada 2014 Nutrition Month Resource Manual

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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
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
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. They 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
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
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

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
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. Excellent teaching and motivation. 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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