Monday, April 22, 2013


Body image is described as the not only the mental picture you have of your body, but your feelings about it too. This image is often different from actual appearance or how others see you. This idea is clearly depicted in the video below. I think it’s a creative way to illustrate and highlight the vast differences between actual versus perceived appearance. You must check it out!! I truly believe it deserves all of the hits and hype it’s received thus far.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Grilled Cheese

I love grilled cheese! I’m not sure if you heard, but last Friday was National Grilled Cheese Day. The great thing about grilled cheese is that the options are endless! You can get as creative as you please. Whether it's a classic dipped/drowning in ketchup or there's an added twist, there's nothing I enjoy more on a Saturday afternoon. In honour of the occasion, I picked Brie, Granny Smith apples, and fig jam... Deelish! :)

I may have also indulged in some Easter 'leftovers' that I'll share with you too. For these cupcakes I dropped in some green food coloring to add in a pop of spring and crushed up some leftover Mini Eggs instead of using other sprinkles or toppings.

PS. Sorry for the hiatus!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Berry Cobbler

To contrast the gloom outside, I’ve decided it’s time for some pictures! I stocked up on berries a few weeks ago when I found a good sale, so I just pulled them out of the freezer for this recipe. Not only is this recipe super easy, but using frozen berries incorporates Nutrition Month tips too. J

Servings: 6

2 pints strawberries
1 pint blueberries
1 cup sucralose/Splenda
1 Tbsp cornstarch
¾ cup flour
1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt
1 egg
¼ cup skim milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp margarine, melted

1. Preheat oven to 375°. In a bowl, combine all berries, 1/3 cup + 2 tsp sucralose/Splenda, and cornstarch. Let sit for 10 minutes.

2. In another bowl, mix flour, ½ cup sucralose/Splenda, baking powder, and salt. In a third bowl, stir egg, milk, vanilla, and butter. Add dry ingredients. Stir well.

3. Evenly place berries in a 9x9” baking dish. Top
with batter. Bake 25-30 minutes until tops are golden brown.

To change it up, try picking a variety of fruits. If you’re hosting or trying to portion size, divide the berries and batter into small ramekins. 


Adapted from Sue Zemanick’s Cobbler.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Budget-Friendly Grocery Shopping

Here are some ideas to help keep your grocery bill close to nil. ;)

1. Shop the sales- 
Check flyers and coupons. You can even find these online these days! 

2. Stock up when there’s a great deal
Buy extra staple items that have long shelf lives, such as whole grains, dried legumes, and canned fruits and veggies. Fresh meat, poultry and fish can be frozen. 

3. Don’t forget the clearance section

4. Compare prices- 
Check for differences between various brands. Store or “no name” brands are usually cheaper. 

5. Avoid shopping on an empty stomach- 
You’re more likely to pick up extra items when you’re hungry! 

Adapted from: Dietitians of Canada (

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Happy Nutrition Month!

Can you believe it’s March already?! The focus of this year’s Nutrition Month campaign is Best Food Forward: Plan Shop Cook Enjoy, which focuses on navigating the grocery store (a place where we’re all faced with an abundance of choices!).

Here are some tips on shopping for just one or two people.

1. Plan wisely- Plan ahead so you know what you’ll be eating and can make a grocery list before you head to the grocery store.

2. Cook from scratch- This way you can prepare the exact number of servings you need.

3. Shop in bulk- But remember to only buy items that you need.

4. Shop as a team- Grocery shop with a friend so you can split bulk items and take advantage of volume discounts (think ‘buy one get one free’) while avoiding waste.

5. Buy only what you need- Try splitting a bunch of bananas (they always seem to go brown so fast!), buying smaller packages of eggs, and asking the butcher to split packages of meat.

6. Be wary of coupons- This tip aligns with #3 & 5… it’s only a deal if you actually need what you’re buying!

Adapted from: Dietitians of Canada. (2013)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Take it with a Grain of Salt... Or Not

Another element of heart healthy eating is reducing sodium intake, which may help control blood pressure (and can keep your bones strong and may lower your risk of getting kidney stones too). Here are some quick tips to lower sodium (a major component of salt) intake:

  • Take the salt shaker off the table
  • Try herbs and spices for flavouring
  • Replace garlic salts, onion salts or celery salts with the fresh product
  • If Kosher meats are used, soak them in water first
  • Foods that have been pickled, processed, cured, smoked or salted 
  • Canned vegetables, sauces, gravies, dressing, marinades 
  • Sea salt, salt substitutes, visible salt

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Let’s Talk About Fat, Baby

I cannot believe it’s almost the end of February and we haven’t talked about heart healthy eating! February is heart month, after all.  I’ll do my best to squeeze in a few more posts in honour of the great organ before the end of the month.    

To start, let’s talk about fat.  Choosing appropriate fats is a huge component of heart healthy eating.  Generally (if you’re thinking about bloodwork), what you’re aiming for is:
o  Decreasing triglycerides
o  Decreasing LDL (‘lousy’ cholesterol)
o   ­ Increasing HDL (‘healthy’ cholesterol)

To help do so, try following the dietary recommendations below:

My friend and colleague Marci always makes fun of me for using charts, but I really do think they’re a great way to organize information.  Hopefully you find it helpful :)   

PS.  Yes, that title is a cheesy reference to the 1991 song.  

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fruit That's Iced is Just as Nice

Remember those 3 for $5 berry days in the summer? They seem so far away, especially with today's blizzard-like weather! The good news is that you don't have to look far to enjoy summer's favourite fruits; just make your way to the freezer.

Frozen fruit is just as tasty and nutritious as fresh fruit and doesn't require the preparation (washing, peeling, chopping).  You can find choices like plain strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, mixed berries, mango and peaches that typically have little to no additives. What they do have is water and fibre that can help with weight control by making us feel full.

An alternative to buying frozen fruit is making your own. You can save money and support local farmers by buying fresh fruit in-season and then freezing for later use.  Frozen fruit can be kept for up to one year.

To freeze fruit:
1.      Rinse fruit and remove any bruised or spoiled parts and cores.
2.      Place fruit pieces/slices in a single layer on a baking sheet (this will prevent sticking later on)
3.      Freeze until solid, then transfer to freezer bags.
4.      Squeeze air out of the bags and seal.
5.      Label bags with the date so you know when they'll expire.

4 Ways to Eat Frozen Fruit
1.      Icy fruit pops
2.      Muesli
3.      Refreshing smoothies
4.      Topping for pancakes, waffles, French toast or angel food/sponge cake
·        Thaw and warm up frozen fruit in a pot over the stove or in the microwave. Try adding orange or lemon zest or almond extract.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Get Me to the Greek

Most weekdays I start my day off sitting next to my friend (and amazing Occupational Therapist) Leslie in rounds. She is absolutely lovely, but has a knack for making me hungry immediately after I've eaten.  The cause: incredible breakfasts! After smelling and observing (and drooling) for months, I finally asked her for some details yesterday and she shared the secret: Greek yogurt. 

Greek yogurt is something I've been exposed to since childhood (my aunt's been sending it over with fresh honey for years), but it seems to be a fad that's recently transformed into a staple item. Brands such as Danone Oikos, Astro, President's Choice and Skotidakis all offer 0%/fat free plain versions- the nutritional claim to fame. Danone's option provides 100 calories and 18g protein in a 175g serving. That's pretty impressive, seeing as typically only meat, fish and poultry will provide that much protein for so few calories. But that's not all- this serving size of Greek yogurt can also provide about 20% of daily recommended calcium intake and it's creamy too! The only thing to caution against is sweetened or fruit flavored options, because the added sugar actually replaces some calcium and protein.

Your best bet: Breakfast a la Leslie
o   175g of 0%/fat free plain Greek yogurt
o   ½ cup of berries (you can add a serving of any fruit you like, fresh or frozen)
o   1-2 Tbsp of almonds (any nuts will do, try walnuts to include omega 3 fatty acids)
o   Sprinkle some cinnamon to top it off
o   Optional: Also try 1 tsp-Tbsp of maple syrup or honey for some extra flavor.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Health Crisis

I remember hearing on the radio a few weeks ago that obesity has grown to become a bigger health crisis than hunger. This initially seemed like a shock (especially given the fact that I was in the midst of organizing a food drive to help fight hunger over the holidays), but when I took a minute to ponder, it really wasn’t such a surprise.  In fact, when I investigated further, I found that some countries have seen as much as a 100% increase in obesity rates over the past 20 years, and that the global increase in this time period has been 82%! 

This made me think about various strategies to promote healthy lifestyle and healthy eating.  At an event Friday night I was reminded of a September post (“Calorie Counts”) where I discussed the new McDonald’s menus in the U.S., which highlight the caloric content of items.  A friend mentioned that on a road trip, she felt extreme guilt while ordering when the calories in her potential meal were staring her right in the face.  Now this single recollection might not be reflective of the mass effect of this effort, but I couldn’t help but think that regardless of how big or small or local or global, strategies to fight this obesity crisis should be welcomed.  Experts had projected that the McDonald's campaign wouldn’t be effective, but even affecting one person is an accomplishment in my eyes. 

Here’s an article on the obesity health crisis if you’re interested:

Monday, January 21, 2013

But aren't nuts healthy?!

Healthy snacking is a part of a healthy diet, but it’s important to be conscious of choices and portion size, especially when it comes to nuts! Nuts are nutrient-dense and can even be a source of omega 3 fatty acids (walnuts), but part of this nutrient density includes caloric density.  Try to keep your portion size to 2 Tbsp of nuts, such as unsalted peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts.  After all, it is possible to have too much of a good thing!