By Melissa Lafrance on September 11, 2018
September is here, and so is back-to-school time. This month, we offer ideas, recipes and tips that are as stress-free as possible.
Food fuels our bodies, including our brains. Nourishing ourselves with good quality foods will help ensure peak cognitive function. It starts with a fortifying breakfast, then a recharging lunch, followed by a delicious supper, with balancing snacks to keep us going throughout the day.
Week 1: Be breakfast ready
Breakfasts that include foods with a low glycemic index 1 will produce a slower rise and lower peak in blood glucose concentration after eating. Your first meal of the day can include carbohydrates such as low-in-sugar breakfast cereals, oatmeal or whole grain toast combined with some protein such as a plain dairy or non-dairy product, eggs and nut butters to keep you satiated for longer. Here are some breakfast options to try:
- No-fuss breakfasts (Melissa Baker, Manager of Nutrition & Wellbeing at UBC SHHS)
- Healthy breakfast ideas for busy mornings (Healthy Families BC)
- 34 healthy breakfasts for busy mornings (Greatist)
- Freezer-friendly breakfast sandwiches (Damn Delicious)
- Freezer-friendly spinach feta breakfast wraps (Kitchn)
- A week’s worth of oatmeal in jars (Kitchn)
Week 2: Transform leftovers into tomorrow’s lunch
With a bit of planning and making extra food when you do have time to cook or prep meals, you can transform leftovers into tomorrow’s lunch. Try doubling up on recipes so you have enough portions for a couple of lunches. It shouldn’t add any cooking/prep time.
Be prepared with these recipes, tips and healthy lunch spots:
- 15 kitchen staples to help you whip up a healthy meal (Melissa Baker)
- 13 hacks for quick lunches (Spud)
- Need to buy lunch? Find out what’s open on the Vancouver campus.
- Mouth-watering healthy lunch ideas for work (EatingWell)
Week 3: Who’s ready for snacks?
Avoid the mid-morning or mid-day run to the vending machine by incorporating healthy snacks that include a minimum of two food groups. That will help reduce the sugar spike and impending crash from eating highly processed, carbohydrate-based, easy-to-grab snacks.
Week 4: Home-Cooked Meals
How often do you get home after work, starving and with no idea what to make for dinner?
- Explore meal planners, including Martha Stewart’s Grocery Bag Weekly Meal Planner. You’ll get recipes for dinner (and possibly leftovers for lunch), grocery lists and the confidence to whip up simple meals.
Here are some time-saving tips:
- Wash, chop and store fresh veggies and fruit once or twice a week to minimize cooking and prep time on other days.
- Make grains galore. Cook extra whole grains or other sides and store portioned leftovers in the fridge for a few days or in the freezer for up to a month. That way, you’ll be ready when you need a healthy meal in a hurry.
- Slow saves time: consider using a slow cooker. Check out BBC good food’s vegetarian slow cooker recipes.
For those extra busy times when you don’t have time to grocery shop, consider online food ordering or meal delivery services. Here are some local options for online ordering:
By Miranda Massie on March 7, 2018
I love breakfast. Besides being one of those people who MUST eat something within an hour of waking up, I also just love breakfast food. Sweet, savoury, hot, cold, liquid, solid – it’s one of the most versatile meals around.
How many of you have heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? Particularly in North America, this common social understanding dates back to childhood, and despite evidence to support it, many people still don’t eat breakfast. 
Now, I’m not here to get all parental and tell you what to do. Instead, in honour of National Nutrition Month, I’d like to share my love of breakfast. Here are my four reasons to feed your brain the most delicious meal of the day!
If you’re someone who needs variety, eating the same breakfast day after day may not sound very appetizing. Below is a go-to recipe that uses seasonally available ingredients and can be customized to your tastes. You can also find more oatmeal-topping ideas here.
Miranda’s Custom Make-ahead Oatmeal:
|5 cups||Quick oats|
|1 cup||Nut of your choice
(almond slices, toasted pecans, walnuts
|1 cup||Seed of your choice
(sunflower, pumpkin, chia, hemp)
|1 cup||Dried fruit of your choice
(cranberries, apricots, pineapple, banana)
|1 cup||Dried shredded coconut|
|Optional||Sliced fresh fruit (apples, banana, berries)|
- Prep ingredients in advance.
- Scoop 1/4 to 1/3 cup of your oatmeal into a bowl or Tupperware container. Add water.
- Microwave for 2 minutes. Enjoy!
Time can be a big barrier, but it doesn’t have to take ages to prepare breakfast. Here is a list of time-tested meal ideas to keep you moving in the morning:
- Miranda’s Custom Make-ahead Oatmeal (see above)
- Total time: 2 minutes, 30 seconds (30 seconds to scoop + 2 minutes to microwave)
- Toasted English muffin with melted cheese
- Total time: 1 minute, 30 seconds (1 minute in toaster + 30 seconds to melt cheese)
- Night-before yogurt parfait
- Total time: 2 minutes night before, no time in the morning (45 seconds to scoop yogurt + 45 seconds to add frozen fruit + 30 seconds to pack granola)
- Nut butter Eggo
- Total time: 1 minute, 30 seconds (1 minute to toast frozen Eggo waffle + 30 seconds to spread nut butter of choice)
- Make-ahead breakfast egg cups 
- Total time: 31 minutes (30 minutes to make head of time + 45 seconds to microwave on the go)
It makes you smarter
Food fuels our bodies. The same way that wood fuels a fire, we can’t function optimally or survive without it. When we sleep, we fast for six to eight hours, which means the longer we put off eating, the longer our bodies have to try and function without fuel. Breakfast can help support our brains to do great things and be productive. It also prevents us from being distracted by rumbling tummies. Read more about the effects of nutrients on brain function. 
Another barrier to breakfast is cost. We often assume that it’s easier to make a quick stop at a coffee shop, but this routine can end up being more expensive over time. For example, a yogurt parfait and a banana loaf from Starbucks costs $6.63 including tax, but you can get the equivalent items — all homemade by UBC nutrition students – at the Agora Café for $4. It also pays (pun intended) to be prepared. Prepping your meals in advance (as per the time saving tips above) is another way to cut costs.
This month, I invite you to rise and shine with breakfast, and if that’s not for you, find a way to incorporate an early morning snack into your routine a few days a week. Turning meals into social events (a potluck brunch perhaps?) is a great way to start.
All my best,
Photo credit: UBC Communications & Marketing
By Melissa Lafrance on February 2, 2017
We’re focusing on recipes and nutrition tips to support heart health and emotional wellbeing.
Since February is heart month and cardiovascular health is vital for overall health, let’s look at ways we can be kinder to our hearts.
Here are heart-healthy tips and recipes:
Feb. 14 is Valentine ’s day and it seems fitting to share recipes involving chocolate (in moderation).
Here are healthy chocolate recipes and meal ideas:
- Blueberry and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding
- Avocado Chocolate Mousse
- Romantic Dinners
- Romantic Dinners – vegetarian
Hangry (hungry & angry): emotional reaction caused by hunger. It can manifest itself as being reactive, irritable, induce eating-anything-in-sight behaviours. It’s a real thing!
Here are tips and recipes to help you beet (ha!) the hangry-ness:
- Eat breakfast, your colleagues will thank you! 34 Healthy Breakfasts for Busy Mornings
- Roasted Beet, Walnut & Arugula Salad
- 27 easy high-protein snacks
- Interested in Nutritional Psychiatry? Read more on how food affects your mood.
Many emotions and feelings can manifest when we are eating. If we are paying attention by being mindful and noticing changes within ourselves, we can sometimes notice pleasure or displeasure when we eat, gratitude for the foods we have, and judgment towards our cooking abilities.
Here are easy recipes you can try to build your confidence:
Each week in February, we will be sharing tips, tricks, and information for heart health and emotional wellbeing! Become a UBC Health Contact to receive weekly reminders, tips and tricks.
By Miranda Massie on September 13, 2016
Eating your Way to a Productive September
Food fuels our bodies including our brains. Nourishing ourselves with good quality foods will help ensure peak cognitive function. It starts with a bright breakfast, then a recharging lunch, followed by delicious supper and balancing snacks to keep us going throughout the day!
Each week in September, we will be sharing tips, tricks, and information to help you have a productive September! Become a UBC Health Contact to receive weekly reminders, tips and tricks.
Remember to eat breakfast! Trust me, it’s worth it to get up a few minutes earlier than to have your stomach growling mid-morning during an important meeting. Breakfasts including foods with a low glycemic index will produce a slower rise and lower peak in blood glucose concentration after eating. It should also include carbohydrates such as low-in-sugar breakfast cereals, oatmeal, whole grain toast and add in some protein such as plain dairy or non-dairy product, eggs and nut butters to keep you satiated for longer.
Try out these easy and innovative breakfast ideas:
- Think outside the breakfast cereal box with 34 Healthy Breakfasts for Busy Mornings
- Explore a variety of breakfast and brunch recipes
- Easy overnight oats recipe
- Maple-Cinnamon Apple & Pear Baked Oatmeal (one of my favourite recipes from Oh She Glows)
- Additional low glycemic index recipes
This week, learn all about lunches to replace the old boring deli meet sandwich! You can always make extra portions at dinnertime to have an easy lunch the next day.
With a bit of planning and key ingredients on hand, it is possible to make complete dinners during the week!
Who’s ready for snacks? Try bringing a magic bullet to work and your cup filled with your smoothie ingredients for a refreshing pick me up. Bring your snacks for the week to have them on hand and be less tempted to run to the corner store.
Posted in Nutrition, Physical Health | Tagged Back to school, breakfast, dinner, eating, family, food, healthy, healthy eating tips, healthy recipes, leftovers, meals, planning, Recipes, september | Leave a response
By Colin Hearne on August 5, 2015
For more of Stephanie’s tasty treats visit our Healthy UBC Recipe Series web page – Bon Appétit!
- Sautéed Cinnamon Apples and Bananas– click here to view
- Tofu Bento Bowl – click here to view
- Healthy Breakfast Parfait – click here to view
- Brussel Sprout Apple and Turkey Bacon Hash – click here to view
Stephanie Dang is a fourth-year dietetics student at the University of British Columbia. When she is not busy studying, Stephanie volunteers at the eating disorder clinic at Children’s Hospital, works at a local bar, and plays soccer. Stephanie believes that living “healthy” means enjoying everything in moderation, and maintaining a balanced lifestyle. Staying physically active and satisfying your body’s nutritional needs shouldn’t be considered a burden, and if it is, seeing a dietitian is a great way to get advice on how to enjoy healthy living!