By Melissa Lafrance on July 16, 2019
Refresh your summer recipes with tips, tricks and meals that will bring a spark to any table or gathering. Explore sustainable seafood, take a chance on an unknown ingredient or head back to cooking basics. Whatever your interest, we have recipes that are sure to ignite any appetite.
You may have heard that UBC recently announced it will purchase and offer only 100% Ocean Wise-recommended sustainable seafood. Doing so will make the seafood dishes offered on our campuses more diverse. We can all contribute to protecting our oceans by diversifying our seafood choices and supporting sustainable sources.
Ocean Wise defines sustainable seafood as “species that are caught or farmed in a way that ensures the long-term health and stability of that species, as well as the greater marine ecosystem”.1
Want to learn more about sustainable seafood? Explore these recipes and tips:
- Familiarize yourself with Ocean Wise’s guide to sustainable seafood
- Learn about ocean-friendly seafood choices in BC or use Ocean Wise’s seafood search function
- Try one of these Ocean Wise recipes
Be Adventurous with Your Home Cooking
According to BC-based dietitian Nicole Fetterly, some foods seem more difficult to prepare than others. When we’re unfamiliar with certain foods, we’re less likely to purchase or cook them.
Here are some recipes featuring less commonly-used ingredients but that might become a favourite of yours to make once you try them out:
- Fish: Halibut with sun dried tomato and chèvre sauce (Cookspiration)
- Legumes: Lentils with roast vegetables (Pulses Canada)
- Bread: Zucchini nut loaf (Cookspiration)
- Quinoa: Cook quinoa three ways (EatingWell)
- Eggplant: Eight simple ways to cook eggplant (Kitchn)
Minimal-Ingredient Recipes and Cooking Basics
It’s been suggested that creative tasks such as cooking and baking can have a positive effect on our wellbeing by increasing our feelings of enthusiasm and flourishing.2 Cooking can also be a mindful exercise similar to meditation: increased focus while preparing food can invigorate your mind and produce more delicious meals.
The following resources can help boost your cooking abilities and confidence:
- Simple and fun cooking videos with Sarah Carey in Everyday Food
- Quick and easy recipe videos via Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube
- Sheet pan dinner ideas (Food Network)
- 11 vegetarian sheet pan-inspired recipes (Brit + Co)
Try these simple but wholesome and satisfying meals:
- Recipes from the Minimalist Baker require 10 ingredients or less and can be done within 30 minutes or less. Best of all, they are healthy and straightforward. Try this perfect bowl of oats or this comforting one-pot everyday lentil soup.
- Almond butter, banana and chia overnight oats (Berry Nourished)
- 12 no-fuss breakfasts (Melissa Baker, UBC Food Services)
- Veggie and tofu stir-fry (My Recipes)
- Sweet potato and white bean chilli (Jamie Oliver)
By Miranda Massie on May 2, 2019
Nutrition plays an important role in our overall health, so it’s no surprise that what we eat can affect our sexual and reproductive health, including our fertility. Read on for recipes that support your reproductive health.
Week 1: Foods for Reproductive Health
In general, everyone can benefit from a healthy, balanced and varied diet. But certain nutrients and food groups may offer extra benefits in terms of sexual health. Men can benefit from foods rich in carbohydrates, fibre, folate, lycopene and antioxidants as well as lots of fruits and vegetables. And women, particularly those concerned with infertility, could benefit from a diet with a high monounsaturated-to-trans fats ratio, more vegetable protein than animal protein, an increased intake of iron, and a lower glycemic load.1 The glycemic index can help you choose foods to monitor your glycemic load and manage your blood glucose levels.
Some of the key micronutrients for reproductive health include iron, folate, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B122, antioxidants, zinc, and selenium3.
Try the following tips and recipes that aim to support overall reproductive health.
Tips from Dietitians of Canada:
- General guidelines for female nutrition
- Find out which foods are rich in zinc and rich in selenium
- Discover the power of antioxidants
- Mixed bean and quinoa salad (Pulses)
- Fast fish and veggie packets (Cookspiration)
- Wild rice and pumpkin seed pilaf (Berkeley Wellness)
Week 2: Revving the Engine
For optimal sexual and reproductive function, we need to get enough energy from food and sleep. When it comes to food, maintaining energy is mostly about avoiding drastic fluctuations in blood sugar levels. It is best to fuel our bodies and sustain our energy levels with healthy meals and snacks and to limit caffeine consumption. Caffeine has been reported to have negative effects on female fertility and pregnancy-related complications. Because opinions differ on how much caffeine we should be consuming, it’s best to consult a medical professional for a recommendation. During pregnancy, it’s ideal to consume minimal amounts of caffeine. Learn more with some facts on caffeine.
Let’s look at ways to fuel your body with nutrients that sustain energy:
- Seven eating for energy tips (Workhealthlife*)
- Eating to boost energy (Harvard Health Publishing)
- Four ways to boost your energy with breakfast ideas (Harvard Health Publishing)
- Nuts, dates, raisins and maple syrup balls are a perfect snack for a burst of energy (Cookspiration)
* Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.
Week 3: Celebrating Food and Lightening the Mood
Cooking doesn’t have to feel like another household chore. Try cooking with a partner or friend, and don’t worry too much about creating a perfect meal. Here are some ways you can infuse fun and flavor into your meal-making:
- Five tips for having fun in the kitchen (Huffington Post Life)
- 10 easy ways to make cooking more fun (HelloFresh)
- Recipes to lighten the mood in the kitchen (Thug Kitchen)
Week 4: Cooking and Togetherness
Spending time in the kitchen and cooking with loved ones incorporates fun and togetherness and can be a catalyst to bring us together. Add a little spice in your life with these recipes:
- Impress someone you love with these romantic recipes (Kitchn) and dinner-for-two recipes (EatingWell)
- Get cozy with these vegetarian dinner recipes (Gourmandelle)
- Dessert and chocolate are always a winning pair: try a blueberry and dark chocolate bread pudding (Cookspiration) or avocado chocolate mousse (Cook for your Life)
By Melissa Lafrance on April 2, 2019
Office Ergo Rep Training | April 4 | 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
If your department is looking for more efficient response and support with regards to ergonomic issues for staff, consider taking the three-hour Ergo Rep Training. Learn about basic ergonomic risk factors and assessments, proper computer workstation set-up, and resources to take back to your unit. Find out more and register now.
Debunking the Diet Series with Dr. Thara Vayali
Part 1: The Detox Equation | April 10 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
“Detoxes” can be nebulous and controversial. Find out more about toxins and cleanses and whether or not we really need them. You will also learn how to use this information to improve your own health, as well as three simple dietary and lifestyle changes to support your “detox” equation. Find out more and register now.
Part 2: The Superfood Showdown | April 25 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
In stories about superheroes, villains play a role too. Let’s define what makes a food “super” and uncover misconceptions around “villainous” foods. Learn how to evaluate a superfood and pick up three dietary suggestions to nourish yourself and improve your nutritional health. Find out more and register now.
Part 3: Diet, Hormones & Health | May 1 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
In this final session, let’s put superfoods and myths aside and explore the impact of diets on metabolism and health. We will cover the dos and don’ts of dietary changes and learn how diets impact hormones. You will leave with three tangible steps for balancing food choices, metabolism and overall health. Find out more and register now.
Group 30-Day Online Mindfulness Challenge Starts April 15
This free, innovative, evidence-based training is for all UBC staff and faculty looking to incorporate mindfulness into the workplace and in their everyday lives. Content is delivered online via any device, and focuses on simple yet powerful and achievable learning objectives. Just 10 minutes a day for 30 consecutive days, will help participants to be healthier, more productive and better able to problem-solve and work in a team.
Mindfulness has many positive effects for individuals and can also help your team by easing conflict and enhancing collaboration, performance, communication and creativity. It also allows teams to focus on tasks and priorities and fosters emotional intelligence. Learn more and register for the challenge now.
Mental Health First Aid Training for UBC Faculty & Instructors | April 29 – 30 | 9:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
UBC faculty and instructors who interact regularly with students and peers may find this two-day training session helpful for building awareness and skills related to mental health challenges. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a Canadian, evidence-based program that aims to improve mental health literacy and provide the skills and knowledge to help people better manage potential or developing mental health problems in themselves, a family member, a friend or a colleague. Find out more and register now.
Photo credit: UBC Communications & Marketing
By Melissa Lafrance on April 2, 2019
Food accounts for a significant portion of our incomes and budgets, which is why it can be challenging to find a healthy balance between finances and optimal nutrition. This month, let’s look at ways we can stretch our food dollars, reduce food waste and still have the nourishing food that is essential for good health.
Week 1: Meal Planning & Batch Cooking
Generally, the more preparation or processing that goes into making a food product, the more expensive it is. If you reach for canned/packaged goods or produce that’s out of season, you’ll also pay more. To save money at the grocery store, avoid pre-made foods, dips, dressings and sauces.
Here are other tricks and recipes to try:
- Consider your weekly schedule and plan your meals and leftovers accordingly. Try a free meal planning app like Yummly.
- Batch cooking is a great way to avoid relying on more expensive restaurant meals or pre-made foods. You’ll have leftovers for lunch or even healthy weekday breakfasts and snacks. Check out Nutrition Stripped’s Batch Cooking 101 or the Food Network’s 50 Batch Cooking Recipes.
Week 2: Eat Well on a Budget
It’s helpful to have a solid food budget, but so is looking at other aspects of your spending. If you feel you can’t stretch your food dollar, but end up buying lunch or spending $5/day on a latte, you may need to evaluate your budget.
- Eating on a budget by Workhealthlife*
- 12 ways to save on groceries and shop on a budget by myMoneyCoach
- How much should you spend on groceries? by Global News
* Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.
Week 3: Waste Not to Save a Lot
Wasting food is like dumping your money in the trash, yet many of us are guilty of doing this. Here are a few waste-reducing tips and recipes:
- How to become a financially wise food shopper by Workhealthlife*
- SuperCook instantly finds matching recipes for ingredients you have and want to use up
- Expiration date vs. best-before date by Spud
* Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization.
Week 4: Be Friends with Your Freezer
Freezing baked goods, snacks, fruits, vegetables and even full meals not only prolongs food freshness, but also makes it easy to eat home-cooked food when you need a quick fix.
Here are some freezer-friendly recipes and tips from Jamie Oliver:
By Miranda Massie on March 4, 2019
Nourishment goes beyond nutrition, beyond food labels, calories and superfoods. Nourishment is a mental, physical and even spiritual state where we feel fulfilled, satiated and whole. Our modern lives often have us running to and from commitments, engaging with fast-paced technology and navigating personal and professional demands. This leaves little time to think of food as anything but the fuel to help get us there. In the spirit of Nutrition Month, I’m providing a little ‘food for thought’ (pun-intended), some simple steps to support feeling nourished.
1. Practice gratitude
At the start of a meal, take a quick moment to consider where your food came from. Picture who had to work in order for the food to land on your plate. In that moment, pause and say thank you.
Why: Gratitude supports mental health and wellbeing, and slowing down supports healthy digestion.
2. Don’t forget your liquids
The body needs food to function, but it needs hydration to survive. To ensure that you are hydrated throughout the day, try water tracking and reminder apps, incorporating beverages into your daily routine (before breakfast, before bed, with all meals), and using a favourite water bottle.
Why: 60% of our bodies are made up of water, which needs to be replenished in order to support many important health functions.
3. Prioritize sleep
Set up a sleep routine and do your best to keep it consistent. Try setting a reminder to go to bed at the same time each day, invest in comfortable sheets, limit caffeine consumption and avoid technology before bed.
Why: Sleep and nutrition go hand in hand. Our diet can positively or negatively impact our quality of sleep, and our sleep patterns can result in irregular or overindulgent eating habits.
4. Identify what brings you comfort
For me, comfort food includes cheesy pasta, salt and vinegar potato chips and wine. We all deserve to indulge once in a while: it’s important. However, we should also be aware that we define these foods as ‘comfort’. We often use these foods as a way to avoid dealing with challenging people, situations or emotions. By identifying the foods that you crave the most, it brings awareness to the emotions driving the eating.
Why: Being more mindful of why and when we reach for certain foods can interrupt habits and enable portion control and increased self-awareness.
5. Listen to your body
Pay attention to subtle signs your body might be telling you about your diet. Consider writing them down or tracking them over time. Have a headache? Your body might need more water or perhaps you’ve been drinking sugary beverages. Experiencing a gastro-intestinal issue? This could indicate an allergy or a need for more fibre-rich foods. Skin inflammation? This might indicate a food intolerance.
Why: Getting to know your body’s rhythms can help catch an issue, challenge or allergy early, leading to increased physical comfort and piece of mind.
This month, I encourage you to look beyond nutrition and reflect on what helps you feel nourished. This may mean eating meals with friends, establishing a new bedtime routine or even indulging in your favourite comfort foods (just to make sure they’re still as delicious as you remember).
You can also read more about strategies to help you feel nourished.
All my best,
Posted in Editorial, Miranda Massie, Nutrition | Tagged comfort, editorial, gratitude, mental health, nourishment, Nutrition, nutrition month, physical health, sleep, tips, tricks, UBC, water | 2 Responses
By Melissa Lafrance on March 4, 2019
Guest contribution by Dr. Thara Vayali
Did you know that humans have three brains? There is the central nervous system (CNS) that originates in your cranial cavity (the “brain”) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS) that is based out of your brain, spine and pelvis. The PNS has multiple functions, two of which are the “fight and flight” response and the “rest and digest” response. The third, less-commonly-discussed one is the enteric nervous system (ENS) that originates in your intestinal tract — also referred to as the “gut brain”.
As far as we know, these brains are linked by only one vital nerve, the vagus nerve, by which they send their messages of joy and warning, back and forth. What’s astounding is that even if that vagus nerve is severed, the ENS keeps functioning without direction from the CNS brain headquarters. It is a “brain” on its own.
Mindfulness impacts the vagus nerve and thus the ENS directly. The ENS is a major factor in digestion and mental state. A mindfulness practice crosses both mental and physical aspects of health.
Let’s first learn about where the nerve hubs are:
- Origin of thoughts and reactions
- Over 85 billion neurons and 100 neurotransmitters
- 5% of serotonin, 50% of dopamine
- Origin of fight, flight, freeze and fall – the responses to situations of danger, fear and pain
- Slows digestive processes to direct attention toward managing threats
Brain, Pelvis and Vagus Nerve (PNS)
- Origin of rest, repair and digestion
- Directs digestion and bowels
Gut Tissue (ENS)
- Origin of “gut feelings”
- 100 million neurons and 40 neurotransmitters
- 95% of serotonin, 50% of dopamine
While the CNS certainly has the most influence on daily life, the vagus nerve is a two-way information highway connecting the gut to the brain. It delivers messages about the state of affairs between the brain and the gut. When the mind is at ease, the body can follow suit. Likewise, when the gut is at ease, the mind receives messages of calm. The gut brain is the group huddle for the body’s health and wellbeing.
Knowing this, let’s not only consider what we are eating, but also how we feel while we eat. A mindfulness practice is a tool that allows messages of restoration and digestion to flood the gut. An enhanced capacity for digestion can send messages of calm back to the mind
Take 10 to tame your breath and tame your gut
Before each meal, take 10 deep inhales and long exhales. This process changes your chemistry enough to signal to your vagus nerve that you are willing to go into a digestion phase of the day. Ten deep breaths is a short amount of time in relation to a day’s work – about one minute – but it can certainly feel long or inappropriate in your current rhythm.
Until it feels natural, perhaps do this by yourself, looking out a window or on a slow walk down the hall. Oftentimes, once we sit down to eat, our minds have already moved on to either hunger, conversations or time pressures.
Allow yourself the space and preparation to welcome your meals and let the nourishment begin.
Dr. Thara Vayali is a Vancouver-based naturopathic doctor and yoga teacher, UBC alum and popular guest contributor to our Healthy UBC newsletter who specializes in intestinal and immune health, hormones, and pain-free bodies. For more information about Thara, visit www.tharavayali.ca
By Miranda Massie on March 4, 2019
This month’s Thriving Campus feature is Isabeau Iqbal, an educational developer in the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. Isabeau is also the mother of a teenager with an eating disorder. The following interview and information are being shared with permission from Isabeau and her daughter.
Thank you for taking the time to share your story with us. Can you please tell us how you became aware of your daughter’s eating disorder?
I first became aware of the eating disorder in the summer of 2018. It took being off work and spending holiday time with my daughter to realize how bad it was. At first, it just looked like healthy eating and living (exercise, being cautious about eating foods we typically label as healthy – i.e. lots of fruit and vegetables). Then, I started to notice unusual behaviour around food, especially excessive planning and control. Once I realized how far along and how bad it was, I started looking for resources.
That process of finding resources was surprisingly difficult given the prevalence of eating disorders — trying to figure out who could offer what, and the fastest route [to treatment] was challenging. Early on, I realized I couldn’t just rely on the “free to me” resources in the external community: because the demand is so high, places like the Eating Disorder Clinic only see people who are advanced in their disorder. By coincidence, one of my colleagues from Alberta had presented at a conference I attended, where he shared his experience with his own daughter having an eating disorder. He was the first person I reached out to and he was able to connect me with the Looking Glass Foundation.
How has this impacted your work life?
For a number of months, I was like a deer in headlights, trying to figure out what was going on. Unless you’ve been through the experience, it’s hard to know [what it’s like]. I had never had any experience with mental illness before, so it was a really foreign experience for me. At first, I didn’t tell people what was going on because I was hanging on and trying to understand. I was so lost and trying to figure out what resources might be available to us – all this takes time.
I was receiving multiple calls a day from a highly distressed teenager. I cancelled a conference presentation and a few other significant commitments in order to be more available to my daughter. Thankfully, I work part-time and have a lot of autonomy and flexibility in my work. Eventually, I started telling a few close colleagues and my manager. I had understanding colleagues and collaborators which was really great.
Did you access any UBC specific resources during this time?
The mindfulness challenge. I had done it before, but maybe because of the situation, I felt it was more helpful this time around and I was more into it. That was probably the most helpful resource that I was able to access and make use of.
How are you and your daughter doing at this time?
She’s doing much, much better. She still experiences anxiety, which I think is the normal course of affairs, but she’s transformed. I see her smile, she has energy. I look into her face and it’s a different person. Our relationship is back to what it was.
The amount of crying and the amount of distress I felt in the fall was unlike anything I’ve experienced before, so the fact that she’s better, I’m better. I feel so lucky to have found a great therapist and nutritionist who have been able to support us. And I’m grateful for the support that we have at UBC in terms of benefits. In terms of flexibility and financial supports, it’s big.
Recognizing that eating disorders can have life-long implications, what are you doing to stay resilient and support your continued health and wellbeing?
The ability for me to be present for my daughter has been very important. I’ve been dabbling in mindfulness for a while, and I would say this [experience] really required me to be present. Because when she needed me, I had to let everything else go and be with her. Now, when my head starts to worry that this could come back, what if it happens when she’s not under my care and things like that, I try and bring myself to the now and let go of the worry. It’s too easy to slip into the what-if’s. I subscribe to the Headspace app which helps me keep up my mindfulness practice.
What does being a member of the UBC community mean to you in light of your recent challenges?
I have a supportive manager, as well as fabulous colleagues: they are good friends and people that I trust to be myself around. To be able to speak with colleagues and to let them know this is what’s going on for me has been important.
If you could offer advice to managers or supervisors on campus who don’t have experience in supporting their staff members in a time like this, what would you tell them?
Try and learn a little bit more about the experience that the person [staff member] is going through. I was able to tell my manager that my daughter has an eating disorder and that it is stressful, and it might have been helpful for me to say what that meant for me day-to-day. Ask the person, “What is important for me to know about [what you’re going through]?”
Do you have any suggestions or advice to offer to those who may be experiencing a similar challenge?
Do not suffer alone and do not wait. Access [available] help and resources as soon as possible. The change that we started to see as soon as my daughter started eating was encouragement enough to keep going. I started to see glimmers of recovery. Eating disorders are under the big umbrella of ‘mental health’, but it really is a specific area that needs specialized support. The most important thing is to find the support you need to get your child eating, and for us that was an amazing nutritionist. We are lucky, in this big city, that there are some fabulous and specialized therapists as well as other resources. Consider joining an online support network for people caring for someone with an eating disorder (FEAST-ED).
Why did you want to share this story with us and our Healthy UBC readers?
If this story can help one person, I will be happy. This is the hardest experience I’ve ever lived through. I felt so lost and so alone and so sad. My daughter and I want to share our experience to help others who may be going through something similar. During the fall, when my daughter was struggling through her recovery, I thought, many times, of how much easier it would be to be gone from this earth. I want people to know that getting help for an eating disorder is not easy, but there are ways forward.
To learn more or to support a person struggling with an eating disorder, please access the following resources:
- Employee and Family Assistance Program: Naturopath, dietitian, health coaching and family counselling services; confidential and available 24/7
- Extended Health Benefits: Coverage for naturopath and /or dietitian services
In the community
- Kelty Eating Disorders – BC support and resources
- Dietitians of Canada – Find a Dietitian Service
- Canadian Benefits for Caregivers
Photo credit: Isabeau Iqbal
By Melissa Lafrance on March 4, 2019
There’s no better time to think about food and nutrition: March is National Nutrition Month. At UBC, food and nutrition are important priorities of UBC Wellbeing, and your UBC benefits offer many services and programs that can support you (and your eligible dependents) in the shift to healthier eating and living. Read on to learn more about the services available to support a healthy lifestyle.
Whitney’s Challenge: Eating for life
Whitney was recently diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia and prescribed medication to manage her cholesterol levels. She’s hopeful that the medication will help, but wants to learn more about her condition and the proven diet and lifestyle changes that she can make to support her health.
How EFAP can be a health coach and a nutrition support service:
Through Morneau Shepell, UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) provider, Whitney can obtain health advice from expert professionals who can recommend effective ways to manage cholesterol levels. Registered dietitians, naturopaths and health coaches are available to assess eating habits, identify dietary concerns and provide risk-reduction action plans. When she calls the Care Access Centre at 1-800-387-4765, Whitney can book the type of consultation she needs.
Morneau Shepell also offers an online hub of resources with articles to improve and maintain nutritional health, including Keeping your cholesterol in check and Heart Smarts: quick tips to stay heart healthy. (Note: Please enter “University of British Columbia” as your organization to access these articles.)
How to access paramedical coverage through Extended Health benefits:
The UBC Extended Health plan supports employees like Whitney in their continuing health and wellbeing with coverage for a wide range of services from paramedical practitioners (e.g. registered dietitians, naturopaths, etc.) Learn about your coverage for paramedical services.
For more information
Through our Workplace Wellbeing & Benefits website and nutritional health page, you’ll find a variety of health and wellbeing information, resources and healthy recipes to help motivate you to cook more.
You can also visit our online Virtual Health Fair, where you’ll find over 20 screenings, tools and resources to help assess your current wellbeing status and make improvements towards a healthier self.
By Melissa Lafrance on March 4, 2019
March is Nutrition Month in Canada, a public awareness campaign on the importance of healthy eating. This month, we delve into the newly-released Canada Food Guide and highlight healthy recipes, tips and practices to support overall health and wellbeing.
Week 1: Welcome to Canada’s new and improved food guide
It’s a simple idea: that eating should be a simple pleasure. The new Canada Food Guide embraces more of a holistic approach to food and nutrition. It focuses on the context of eating, including what, when and how we eat, and less on food groups and servings. The guide has also evolved to emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grain foods and protein.
In our Recipes & Tips column, we’ve long been promoting information that is evidence-based and aligned with the new food guide. We, along with the Government of Canada, encourage you to:
- Explore the new features of Canada’s food guide
- Learn how to adopt and maintain a healthy eating pattern
- Make it a habit to eat a variety of healthy foods each day
- Discover three ways to practice healthy snacking and why healthy snacks are good for you
Week 2: Sharpen your food skills
Because food preparation skills don’t come naturally, it can be challenging to prepare healthy foods. But like any other skill, it just takes practice and guidance. Developing your food prep skills can be the key to creating meals from fresh ingredients.
If you’re fairly new to cooking, start small and simple to boost your abilities and confidence. Even seasoned home cooks may learn a thing or two from the following resources:
- How-to kitchen technique videos (safefoodTV)
- Simple and fun cooking videos (Everyday Food with Sarah Carey)
- Quick and easy recipe videos (Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube)
- Minimalist Baker recipes require 10 ingredients or less and can be done within 30 minutes or less. Best of all, they are healthy and straightforward. Try their perfect bowl of oats to kick-start your day or their comforting one-pot everyday lentil soup.
- Veggie and tofu stir fry (My Recipes)
Week 3: Feed your food knowledge
Purchasing minimally processed foods and prepping your own meals and snacks are the best ways to keep your nutritional health in check. Here are some Nutrition Month recipes and resources to help you in the kitchen:
- How to cook more often (Government of Canada)
- Learn how to limit highly processed foods (Government of Canada)
- Nutrition Month’s feature recipes (Dietitians of Canada)
- Unlock the potential of food (5 Nutrition Month Factsheets)
Week 4: Eat more plant proteins, drink more water
The new food guide also incorporates a greater variety of protein sources and emphasizes mindful eating, drinking water and awareness of food marketing and food labels. It’s not about portion but about proportion. Here are some healthy tips:
- Water is the drink of choice to quench thirst. UBC recommends tap water.
- Discover protein foods (Government of Canada)
- Be mindful of your eating habits (Government of Canada)
Tell us what recipes you’ll try during Nutrition Month. Will you be making some changes based on the new Canada Food Guide?
By Melissa Lafrance on February 5, 2019
This month, we’re focusing on recipes and tips that support your physical wellbeing. Let’s look at hydration, as well as healthy recipes that will fuel your body and are simple to make, leaving you time to be active.
Week 1: Hydration
To keep your body hydrated, adult women should aim for a daily fluid intake of about nine cups and adult men about 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. Foods that contain water contribute to this daily intake, but when drinking extra fluids, focus on tap water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs). 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 US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define SSBs as “any liquids that are sweetened with various forms of added sugars”. Examples include fruit, sports and energy drinks, sweetened waters, and coffee and tea beverages with added sugars. SSBs are the single-largest contributor of added sugar in the diet and provide no additional nutritional benefit.1 SSBs are okay once in a while, but water is a better choice.
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.
- Try these 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 CDC.
Week 2: One Pan/Pot Meals
Need some guidance on preparing a home-cooked meal so you have time to be active? One pot/pan meals are handy because they are straightforward to prepare and dirty less dishes. Remember, you can double recipes to have leftovers for lunch. Consider trying these recipes:
- One-pan roasted veggies four ways (Tasty)
- One-pot chickpea curry (Tasty)
- One-pot lentil bolognese (Tasty)
- Tomato and zucchini frittata (Love & Lemons)
- 12 plant-based one-pot meals and desserts (Minimalist Baker)
Week 3: Meal-prep
It’s worth investing some time and energy on a day off to make eating healthy meals a breeze every day! To build your weekly collection of recipes, check out these guides:
- A week of easy vegetarian meals (Kitchn)
- Chicken breast recipes made for meal prep (Greatist)
- 7-day meal plan (BuzzFeed)
- Weekday meal-prep pesto chicken and veggies (Tasty)
Week 4: To-go Snacks and Lunches
Have snacks on hand and prepare easy lunches to fuel your mid-day workouts! Check out these ideas:
- Lunch in a jar? Try a crunchy Thai salad or southwestern salad. (Tasty)
- 27 healthy and portable snacks (Greatist)
- Creamy garlic hummus for your veggies, sweet potato chips for your crunchy cravings, and sweet-n-spicy nuts. (Delish)
By Melissa Lafrance on January 8, 2019
In January, let’s think about simple diet-refresh ideas for the new year. Identifying an area where there’s an opportunity for positive change and setting attainable goals can help you achieve better eating habits. Follow along below and discover new ways for nourishment and enjoyable eating.
Week 1: Making New Year’s resolutions stick
As you welcome 2019, perhaps you want to make and maintain changes that will benefit your health and wellbeing. Focus on can, not can’t. Make resolutions stick (American Psychological Association) and learn five solutions to common struggles (The Conversation) when setting goals.
Week 2: Rethink your drink
To keep your body hydrated, adult women should aim for a daily fluid intake of about nine cups and adult men about 12 cups; your intake will vary depending on your body size and activity level. Foods that contain water contribute to this daily intake, but when drinking extra fluids, focus on tap water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. To help you rethink your drink, here are some low-sugar beverage options and ideas:
- Find out why tap water is best to quench your thirst (UBC Food Services)
- Jazz up your water with fruits, vegetables and herbs thanks to these flavoured water recipes (Food Network)
- Try no-sugar-added iced tea (Eating Well)
- If you are hosting a meeting, consider using a water jug and providing reusable cups
Week 3: Let plants be the star of the dish
Wondering what the deal is with Meatless Mondays, and why people are making an effort to reduce or avoid eating meat? Many personal reasons can influence our diet choices. In general, compared to meat-based diets, plant-based diets are more sustainable because they use substantially less natural resources and are less taxing on the environment.
Learn more about the health and environmental reasons for shifting from meat to plants:
- How avoiding meat and dairy reduces your impact on earth (The Guardian)
- How does meat in the diet take an environmental toll? (Scientific American)
- Environmental impact of omnivorous, ovo-lacto-vegetarian, and vegan diet (Nature)
Try these plant-centric ideas and recipes to jazz up your plate:
- Plant-based (meat-minimal) recipes (Bon Appétit)
- Find the right plant-based diet for you (Harvard Health)
- 20 best plant-based dinner recipes (Minimalist Baker)
Week 4: Pack your snacks with protein
Snacking during the day can help to stabilize blood glucose and energy levels. If you snack right, it can increase the variety of foods you consume and keep you satiated throughout the day so you don’t overeat later. Read about the benefits of high-protein snacking (Today’s Dietitian) and check out these healthy and easy snack ideas: