March 23rd, 2018

From Our Table: Unlock food’s potential

By Medicine Hat News on March 13, 2018.

March is Nutrition Month and each year a theme is carefully chosen to promote healthy eating for Canadians. It’s also a time to highlight Dietitians as the most qualified nutrition professionals with a minimum of five years of University education. Dietitian is a legally protected title just like doctor or pharmacist. Nutritionist is now also a protected title in Quebec, Nova Scotia and proudly here in Alberta.

This year’s theme is Unlock the Potential of Food. Food has the potential to do a wide variety of valuable functions. First of all it has the Potential to Fuel.

Food provides important nutrients to keep our bodies alive and well. Healthy snacks are also an important part of a well balanced diet.

Almost half of Canadians say eating a balanced diet is challenging for them because they are so busy. They often skip meals and close to 30 per cent say they snack to stay fuelled in a busy day. This makes choosing healthy nutrient packed snacks very important.

Snacks are like mini meals you have throughout the day and should provide nutrients and a positive energy boost. Here are five super snacking tips:

1. Plan ahead. Keep a wide variety of healthy ready to eat snacks on hand like washed and cut up veggies, fruit, nuts and granola bars. Being prepared will help avoid grabbing less healthy choices on the go where healthy choices are not always available.

2. Be aware of portion sizes. Instead of snacking out of large boxes or bags put a controlled portion in a bowl so you are aware of exactly how much you are eating.

3. Listen to your hunger cues. Ask yourself if you are eating because you are truly hungry or are your simply bored or tired or stressed.

4. Avoid distracted snacking. Try not to snack absentmindedly while driving, working or in front of the computer or tv. You tend to eat more and miss your feeling of fullness if you do this.

5. Snack on veggies. About half of all Canadians are not eating enough vegetables or fruit. Snacking on veggies especially will help get valuable vitamins and minerals throughout the day added to your healthy diet.

Here are a few examples of healthy snack ideas:

– Carrots, celery and peppers with hummus

– Almond butter on banana slices

– Cheese and apple slices (one of my personal favourites)

– Greek yogurt with fresh berries

– Whole grain toast and peanut butter

– Trail mix with nuts, seeds and raisins

– Tuna on crackers or in small romaine or butter lettuce leaves (another one of my favourite snacks)

“Dietitians are passionate about the potential of food to enhance lives and improve health. They work with people to embrace food, understand it and enjoy it while considering your overall objectives, needs and challenges. Dietitians look beyond fads and gimmicks to deliver reliable life changing advice.” -Nutrition Month 2018

This is one of the reasons the theme “Unlock the Potential of Food” was chosen for Nutrition Month 2018.

Here is another snack idea recipe to enjoy from Dietitians of Canada “Cookspiration.”

Joanne Smith is a registered dietitian.

Sweet and Salty Salsa with Feta

1 cup Canadian feta, finely diced

1 cup watermelon, finely diced

1 cup cantaloupe, finely diced

1 cup red pepper, finely diced

1 cup pineapple, finely diced

1/4 cup red onion, chopped

1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped

Freshly ground pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together in a serving bowl. Serve with whole grain crackers or tortilla chips. Also good with fish or Mexican dishes.

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