By Melissa Lafrance on February 5, 2018
This February, we are focusing on nutrition for heart health and cardiovascular disease prevention. A healthy diet is a major preventative measure as it affects blood pressure, cholesterol levels, body weight and blood sugar control. For this month, try taking the following recipes and articles to heart.
Week 1: Mediterranean Diet and Healthy Fats
- Easy ways to protect your heart by Alive@Work
- Avocado, mango, black bean and kale salad by Cookspiration
- Wild rice and lentils with salmon by Cookspiration
- Dietary fats, oils and cholesterol by Heart and Stroke Foundation
Week 2: Fibre
- Increasing your fibre intake by Dietitians of Canada
- Cooking with whole grains and other recipes by Oldways Whole Grains Council
- Apple pie oatmeal by Cookspiration
Week 3: Heart-healthy Treats
- Baking that’s better for your heart by Alive@Work
- Pineapple nice cream by EatingWell
- Peachy buckwheat muffins with hazelnut crunch by Cookspiration
Week 4: Sodium
By Melissa Lafrance on January 11, 2018
This month, we’re focusing on recipes and nutrition tips to fuel your physical activity.
Food provides energy for body function and physical activity. Your energy and food intake needs can change in relation to your activity levels. Balance and variety of protein, carbohydrates, fat and water will provide you with the nutrients required for optimal performance and nutrient replenishment.
Weeks 1 and 2: Hydration
To keep your body hydrated, aim for a daily fluid intake of about 2-3 litres (9-12 cups); your intake will vary depending on your body size and activity level. When you are more active or if the weather is hot, you will need to increase your intake. Water is one of the best fluid choices and you should also use your thirst as a guide to help you determine fluid requirements.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention define sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) as “any liquids that are sweetened with various forms of added sugars”. Some examples include fruit, sports and energy drinks, sweetened waters, and coffee and tea beverages with added sugars. SSBs provide no additional nutritional benefit and contain “hidden” calories . If you choose to have SSBs once in a while, that is okay. But water is a better choice of hydration.
Here are some tips and recipes to help you stay hydrated:
- Check out the Dietitians of Canada’s recommendations on sports hydration, including steps to stay hydrated during and after exercise.
- See Eating Well’s seven refreshing foods to help you stay hydrated.
- If you need to boost your water intake, here are 12 easy ways to drink more water from Self magazine.
- Find out what’s in your drink with this rethink your drink article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Read this news release from the Canadian Paediatric Society and Dietitians of Canada, which advises against kids and adolescents consuming sports and energy drinks.
Week 3: Snacks
Having a small meal or snack about one to two hours before you exercise can help stabilize blood glucose levels and keep you hydrated and energized. It can also help you perform for longer and with more intensity . You’ll likely focus less on a rumbling tummy and more on your activity or workout!
If you are exercising for more than a couple of hours, make sure to fuel up halfway with fluids, a carbohydrate and protein-rich snack or small meal.
Here are some tips and recipes to help you fuel up before exercising:
- The Dietitians of Canada encourage learning how to plan pre-exercise meals and snacks.
- Try these simple snack combinations and adjust the amount based on the length of your activity: whole fruit with nuts or nut butter, vegetables and hummus or other bean/veggie dip, cheese and crackers, or plain yogurt with berries and granola.
- Simple Banana Berry Smoothie from Cookspiration
- Breakfast Burrito from Cookspiration
- Colourful Quinoa Salad from Cookspiration
Week 4: Recovery
Post-exercise healthy eating is important because it replaces the energy, fluids, electrolytes and carbohydrates that were used up during your workout. Protein is essential in building and maintaining muscle and supporting muscle recovery after exercise. It’s best to get these nutrients from foods rather than sports drinks, sports foods, and supplementation (i.e. protein supplements) — unless you are an athlete, in which case it’s best to seek advice from a registered dietitian.
Here are some tips and recipes to help you satisfy your hunger and nutritional needs after exercise:
- The Dietitians of Canada offer steps you can take to recover after exercise.
- Ginger Granola & Pineapple Cottage Cheese from Cookspiration
- Greek-style Chicken Sandwiches from Cookspiration
- Green Lentil Power Smoothie from Cookspiration
- Check out the Dietitians of Canada’s facts on sport supplements.
By Melissa Lafrance on October 25, 2017
In November, we are exploring the link between nutrition and mental health. Food and cooking are being appreciated for more than just satisfying hunger and nutritional needs; its psychological benefits and in some cases, even therapeutic benefits are now being acknowledged. It’s about the whole process of gathering and preparation. Although the determinants of mental health are complex, food and nutrition are influential factors.
Each week in November, we will be sharing tips, recipes and information on how food and nutrition is related to mental health and wellbeing. Become a UBC Health Contact to receive weekly reminders, tips and tricks.
Week 1: Cooking and Positive Mental Health
It’s been suggested that completing small creative tasks such as cooking and baking increases wellbeing, particularly enthusiasm and feelings of flourishing . Focusing on small tasks in a manner similar to meditation can help boost mood. Cooking or meal prepping can be similar to meditation; the outcome is good food if executed properly. Culinary therapy is being implemented as a viable part of treatment plans for mental health clinics for a wide range of mental and behavioural health conditions .
Check out the following to help boost your abilities and confidence:
- Simple and fun cooking videos with Sarah Carey in Everyday Food
- Quick and easy recipe videos via Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube
Week 2: Link Between Proper Nutrition and Mental Wellbeing
A clear link between cooking and mental health is nutrition and the ability to have better control of the quality of your diet if you prepare food yourself. Nutrition plays a huge factor in keeping our brains healthy and for mental wellbeing. Brains operate at a very high metabolic rate, and therefore use a lot of the body’s total energy and nutrient intake. Some nutrients that are key to brain health and functioning include carbohydrates, fat, protein and in particular omega-3 fatty acids, B vitamins, vitamins C and E, iron, zinc and magnesium , .
Here are some healthy recipes to try out:
- Cookspiration’s Scottish oat and leek pilaf with salmon
- Oh She Glows’ maple cinnamon apple and pear baked oatmeal. Have it with walnuts and soy milk for extra brain health benefits.
- Feasting at Home’s lentil with swiss chard, roasted beets and goat cheese
Week 3: Hacks to Reduce Stress
Cooking and preparing food is a sensory experience involving aromas, tastes, touch, visuals and sounds. It can even be a way to relieve stress because it serves as a creative outlet that can also improve daily happiness . Why not add a dash of mindfulness? Cooking can be an activity that is grounding and keeps you in the moment while focusing on the task at hand.
- Check out Huffington Post’s five tips for mindful cooking
- Check out Melissa Baker’s blog post on meals to help you Thrive. Melissa is a registered dietitian and Manager of Nutrition and Wellbeing in UBC Food Services.
Week 4: Celebrating Food and Being Together
How about a heaping spoonful of joy? It’s easy to dismiss cooking as just another chore, however cooking can be fun and a lot more interesting than folding laundry. Here’s how you can enjoy the cooking process more and not worry too much about the end product being perfect. As long as it tastes good, right?
Try these tips and tricks to have more fun in the kitchen:
- Huffington Post’s five tips for having fun in the kitchen
- Check out Thug Kitchen recipes to lighten up the mood in the kitchen
Melissa Lafrance’s Tip of the Month
Try a friendship salad or meal where each colleague brings a prepared ingredient. When friends and flavours come together collectively, you’re left with a delicious dish for everyone to enjoy. Check out Greatist’s healthy and easy fall salads.
By Melissa Lafrance on August 3, 2017
August is already here! This month, we offer ideas, recipes and tips that are environmentally sustainable. Read on to learn more about meatless Monday and discover plant-based recipes.
Wondering what the deal is with meatless Mondays, and why people are making an effort to reduce or avoid eating meat? There are many personal reasons that influence the choices we make when it comes to our diet.
Check out Melissa Baker’s Meatless Mondays: Plants are the New Protein article, which presents fact-based information supporting the idea of meatless Mondays or replacing meat with alternatives. Decide if you want to join the movement. Melissa is a Registered Dietitian and Manager of Nutrition and Wellbeing in UBC Food Services.
Plant-based foods are highly beneficial to have in your diet. Did you know that in March, one of the ways UBC celebrated Nutrition Month was by launching a vegetarian recipe contest? Students, staff and faculty were invited to participate and many fantastic recipes were submitted. The winner of the contest was Dietetics student, Holly Heximer, with her lentil sloppy joes! Learn more and check out Holly’s lentil sloppy joe recipe.
Try these other plant-based recipes and tricks:
- Healthy vegan recipes from Cookspiration
- Learn to cook lentils(short video)
- Make Chef Michael Smith’s vegan lentil burgers (recipe demo video and lentil burger recipe)
From purchasing to eating and even discarding, the food choices we make have a great impact on our surroundings. We can all take steps to increase our awareness and to do our part to support a sustainable and friendly environment for all species inhabiting this Earth.
Ready to eat more sustainably and save money in the process? Here are five tips to reduce your food waste.
Also, try these vegan recipes:
- Flavour-packed vegan chickpea salad sandwich from Oh She Glows
- Garden veggie Buddha bowl with lentils and tahini dressing from Cookspiration
- Pho with spinach and tofu (free login required)
Ready for more delicious, sustainable recipes? This is the week to try the following:
- Lunch box chili from Cookspiration
- Hearty black bean soup
- Almond portobello steaks
- Roasted beet, walnut and arugula salad from Cookspiration
- Sweet chili tofu stir-fry from Cookspiration
Remember, if you need to purchase your lunch, there are many local and sustainable food options to purchase across the Point Grey campus. If you are in the Okanagan, learn more about environmental sustainability initiatives.
Become a UBC Health Contact
Each week in August, we will be sharing tips, tricks and information to support environmental health.. To receive weekly reminders or for more information on how you can promote health and wellbeing at UBC, sign up to be a UBC Health Contact.
By Melissa Lafrance on July 1, 2017
Summer is here! What better way to enjoy the nice weather and nature than eating outside. To kick-off summer this July, we are exploring picnic ideas and tricks as well as delicious recipes for a nourishing and fun outdoor meal. Read on to learn more.
Let’s start with packaging and transport:
- Mason jars or repurposed glass jars are perfect for carrying liquids or anything that could potentially leak. If you are making a salad, try making one of these dressings in a jar recipes, or check out these 26 portioned meals in a jar.
- Opt for a reusable bag or basket instead of plastic bags. Check out this picnic packing list for ideas on what to bring.
Think finger foods and simple recipes:
It’s best to bring some water in a reusable water bottle, however if you are looking for a cool summer beverage idea, try:
- Making your own no-sugar-added iced tea
- Jazzing up your water using fruits, vegetables and herbs with these flavoured water recipes
Let’s look at picnic spots, food safety, and public spaces for outdoor BBQs:
- Visit the City of Vancouver’s picnics in Vancouver’s parks page for details on reserving designated picnic spots for large groups, potential fees, permits and guidelines.
- Be sure to read up on food safety guidelines and tips during the summer.
- If you need recipe ideas for your next summer BBQ cookout or picnic, check out this collection of summer BBQ picnic foods made healthier.
- Remember to leave the picnic area as clean as – or even cleaner than – when you arrived. Be sure to clean up and dispose of your food scraps and garbage appropriately. If there are no disposal bins, take the garbage with you and dispose of it properly.
Other Picnic Ideas
Become a UBC Health Contact
Each week in July, we will be sharing tips, tricks and information for the summer picnic season. To receive weekly reminders or for more information on how you can promote health and wellbeing at UBC, sign up to be a UBC Health Contact.
By Melissa Lafrance on April 5, 2017
In April, we are exploring ways we can be financially well. Given that food accounts for a significant portion of our incomes and budgets, let’s look at recipes and tips that can stretch our food dollars, reduce food waste and still allow us to have the nourishing food that is essential for good health.
Try these creative and cost-effective ideas to make use of food scraps you might otherwise throw out:
- Stockpile your scraps. Before you reach for the compost bin, save any bones, leftover carrots and their leafy tops, broccoli stems or limp celery and make a broth or stock! All ingredients can be kept frozen until ready to use. And don’t forget to save those glass jars to store your broth.
- Make a puréed soup. When you find your vegetables going soft faster than you can eat them, make a soup using your homemade broth. You can use cauliflower and celery leaves, kale stems, the dark green part of leeks, sweet potato with the skins, etc.
Wasting food is like dumping your money in the trash. Yet so many of us are guilty of this.
Here are a few waste-reducing tips and recipes:
- SuperCook: This website instantly finds matching recipes for ingredients you have and want to use up!
- Expiration Date vs. Best-Before Date: What is still okay to eat?
- How to become a financially wise food shopper
Batch cooking is a great way to produce meals and avoid having to buy more expensive restaurant or pre-made meals. It also allows you to have leftovers for lunches and to create healthy weekday breakfasts and snacks.
Here are some batch cooking recipes & tips:
It is one of the simplest ways of saving and prolonging food freshness. Freezing baked goods, snacks, fruits, vegetables and even full meals makes it easy to eat home-cooked food when you need a quick fix.
Here are some freezer-friendly recipes and tips:
Each week in April, we will be sharing tips, tricks and information to extend your food dollar and waste less. Become a UBC Health Contact to receive weekly reminders.
By Melissa Lafrance on December 7, 2016
In December, we’re focusing on healthy holiday eating and boosting your immunity during the cold and flu season!
Every year, we are faced with cold and flu season. The best defense is a year-round offense, which can help us stay healthy at this time of year. Make sure to eat a healthy diet, stay active, get restful sleep, focus on stress management, and take steps to protect yourself from germs.
Here are tips and recipes to help you stay healthy and build your immunity:
- Warm and comforting corn, sweet potato and salmon chowder
- Vegan-friendly garden veggie Buddha bowl with lentils & tahini dressing
- Learn if you should take a supplement
So you’ve caught a bug -now what? It’s important to hydrate and get proper nutrition, even with a reduced appetite. Skipping food isn’t a recommended treatment for any illness. When you’re fighting infection, whether it be a cold or flu virus, you needs extra calories to support a higher metabolic rate.
Here are tips and recipes to help you combat the bug:
- Hydrate! Learn the best (and worst) drinks when you have a cold.
- Chicken noodle soup for one
- Vegan-friendly pho with spinach and tofu
Week 3 & 4:
The winter holiday season is here! You may be feeling festive and excited to cook up a storm for yourself and guests.
Try these recipes and tips:
- Healthy holiday recipes
- Vegetarian-friendly side dishes
- Meals for one recipes
- For nutritional support and advice, maximize your nutritional services coverage as a UBC employee
Each week in December, we will be sharing tips, tricks, and information to have a happy and healthy holiday season! Become a UBC Health Contact to receive weekly reminders, tips and tricks.
By Melissa Lafrance on October 5, 2016
Food is one of the most basic needs for our survival and health, but it is also involves sharing, celebrating, demonstrating our care for others, and supporting our rituals and traditions. Food and social interactions often go hand and hand.
Each week in October, we will be sharing tips, tricks, and information to stay well while being social! Become a UBC Health Contact to receive weekly reminders, tips and tricks.
Studies show a strong relationship between workplaces’ physical and social environments and employee health behaviours. A lot of our waking hours are spent at work, which can involve meetings and social gatherings.
Try these tips and recipes to consider while at work:
Bringing your own lunch to work, try these recipes:
What should you bring? Try these re-imagined classic dishes you can serve at a potluck or social event.
- Layered Mexican Dip
- Lightened up Guacamole and Chips
- Zucchini Lentil Fritters with Dill Sour Cream
- Oven-Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Curry Mayo
Take advantage of social opportunities that involve food in our communities:
- Farm Market at UBC
- Events Calendar – Centre for Sustainable Food Systems at UBC Farm
- Vancouver Farmers Markets
Social groups can highly influence our behaviours, including food choices. While social gatherings often promote indulgence, they can also involve consuming healthier options. Remember, the choice is yours to make.
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 Melissa Lafrance on June 8, 2016
Meals feed our bodies, but mealtimes feed our relationships.
Research shows that eating socially has many beneficial impacts, supporting both our nutritional health and mental wellbeing. The social aspect of eating together with family, friends and colleagues is very important to overall health and wellbeing.
Potlucks help foster a sense of community and are more than just sharing food. Check out the following nourishing potluck recipes and tips during the month of June! Become a UBC Health Contact to receive weekly reminders, tips and tricks.
If you’ve been tasked with organizing a potluck at work, or you offered to plan a get together, you may be wondering where to start. For great tips, check out How to Organize a Potluck Dinner.
This flavourful and colourful Crowd-pleasing Chickpea & Carrot Salad can be enjoyed any time of year, and it is perfect for a summer potluck!
For an easy and healthy dessert option, try making Fruit Kebas with Maple Cinnamon Yogurt Dip! You can easily substitute with whichever fruit you have on hand and adjust the recipe to have about one kebab per person.
Spinach Dip is always my go-to potluck dish. Try it out with pumpernickel bread and a variety of veggies!
For more potluck recipe ideas:
By Melissa Lafrance on May 3, 2016
This month’s healthy recipes & tips include nutritious snacks to nourish yourself and maintain energy throughout your work day!
Check out the following resources during the month of May!
Seven Eating for Energy Tips – article
It’s no surprise that we get our energy from food. Maintaining energy is all about avoiding drastic fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Use these seven tips to help you beat the three o’clock slump.
Healthy Snacks for Adults – article with snack ideas
Pick up some satisfying snack ideas to keep your blood sugar levels stable and your energy up throughout the day.
Energy Balls – recipe
This recipe contains nuts, dried fruits, cinnamon, and a hint of Canadian sweetness. They are called energy balls after all, so they are a perfect mid-morning or afternoon snack.
Easy Overnight Oats – recipe
Eating a nourishing breakfast is an important way to start your day. Plan your breakfasts and even prepare them ahead of time! Try this delicious and easy overnight oats recipe.
To keep informed of all new recipes and additional weekly health and wellbeing offerings, become a UBC Health Contact.
Here are more recipes & tips…
For more of tasty treats, visit our Healthy UBC Recipe Series page. Bon appétit!