Friday, December 23, 2011

Finding Holiday Balance

Maybe you're about to start indulging or plan on continuing over the Christmas weekend.  If you've been reading the Nutrishus blog, you have ideas to help you make wise choices and enjoy your favourite treats without guilt.  If you missed the posts - you can get caught up by following these links:

Fend off Holiday Weight Gain
Healthy Holiday Habits

A healthy balance involves the energy/Calories you put in (eat) and those that you burn.  I know we'll be getting lots of walks in this holiday season as our 4 year old greyhound enjoys his first Saskatchewan Christmas.

What will you do to keep your body moving and help balance out the occasional treat (dessert, alcohol, gravy, chips, etc.)?  EatRightOntario has some ideas to get you active indoors and outdoors.  Get moving to keep your spirits up, stay healthy, and take a break from the house full of food!

Merry Christmas!

Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fend Off Holiday Weight Gain

The Winter months are often associated with staying indoors, celebrating, and holiday feasts.  Changes in food intake, activity levels, food choices (higher fat), body composition (higher fat), and body weight have been shown to result.  Interestingly, the amount of weight gained is lower than you might expect.

In 2000, Yanovski’s team investigated the belief that people gain an average of 5 lbs (2.3 kg) over the holidays.  They found that the average gain is only about 0.5 kg.  The real issue is that it isn’t reversed in the Spring and Summer.  

In another study, Ma’s team looked at seasonal variations for 593 participants.  They found an average increase of 86 Calories per day in the Fall versus Spring.  This coincided with an increase in Calories from fat and lower activity levels resulting in peak body weight in the Winter.  

Weight doesn’t tell us about the composition of the body; the scale doesn’t tell all.  Hull and colleagues examined body weight and composition changes in 82 college students over the winter holiday season (Thanksgiving to New Years Day).  While body weight did not change significantly, there was an increase in body fat percentage and fat mass.  Twelve of the study participants gained more than 2.0 kg, while 17 remained stable with their weight, but had an increase in fat mass.  

Overtime, these slight changes contribute to weight gain and increased fat mass in adulthood.  Take preventative steps to eat less and move more for long term health.  Keeping your weight and body fat within a healthy range will reduce your risk of certain diseases.  Some tips to get you through the holidays and fend off weight gain:

  • Find an activity you enjoy doing or just find more ways to move (take the stairs, park further away from your destination).    
  • Spread your food throughout the day so you’re not over-hungry and ready to overindulge. 
  • Practice portion control so you can include your favourite holiday foods within reason and not feel deprived. 
  • Be careful of liquid calories – alcohol and sweetened beverages (including the syrup and whipped cream in your specialty coffee or tea) can add up quickly, especially if you’re enjoying them regularly.
-         Seek out a health professional for more personalized advice.

Stephanie Wheler, RD
Something Nutrishus Counselling & Coaching

Yanovski JA, Yanovski SZ, Sovik KN, Nguyen TT, O’Neil PM, & Sebring NG (2000). A prospective study of holiday weight gain. The New England Journal of Medicine, 342 (12), 861-7.
Ma Y; Olendzki BC; Li W; Hafner AR; Chiriboga D; Hebert JR; Campbell M; Sarnie M; Ockene IS (2006). Seasonal variation in food intake, physical activity, and body weight in a predominantly overweight population. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 60(4):519-28.
Hull HR, Hester CN, Fields DA (2006). The effect of the holiday season on body weight and composition in college students. Nutrition & Metabolism, 3:44.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Winter Network News Article

Healthy Holiday Habits
By Stephanie Wheler, Something Nutrishus Counselling & Coaching
From the Saskatoon Women's Network Newsletter, December - January 2012

For many people the holiday season means lots of family, friends, fun, and FOOD!  We can probably all easily identify a favourite or traditional holiday food that we enjoy and look forward to.  This holiday season, don’t deprive yourself of your favourites, enjoy them with my three favourite words – VARIETY, MODERATION, and BALANCE.

I love Christmas baking, our traditional Christmas morning cinnamon buns, and a turkey dinner to top it all off.  These foods can fit into your holiday festivities; it just takes some planning and preparation.  You can think about having a calorie budget for the day, so make sure you spend your calories wisely.  Many people feel that they need to deprive themselves of their favourites, but this often leads to an over-indulgence of that item later on or of other foods as we try to mask our craving.  How can you make your favourite treats fit? 

Stick to your routine
Eat regular meals and snacks to keep your blood sugar and cravings under control.  If you’re skipping meals you may end up losing control when you see a table full of food.  You can also try eating a light, healthy meal before going to a holiday event to help you have control over your choices. 

Be selective
Certain foods might only come out certain times of the year for you, so this is a good time to enjoy those treats.  Skip the familiar foods in order to keep your calorie intake in check and have room for the special foods.  Once you have what you want, make sure you remove yourself from temptation; don’t set up camp at the dessert table.

Find other ways to socialize
Start a new tradition that involves an activity such as walking, skating, skiing or a hockey game to help you burn off some of those calories, but also to get away from the house full of food.

Make the occasional swap
Choose raw veggies and dip or shrimp and cocktail sauce instead of fried appetizers.  Try club soda with lime rather that your normal soda. 

Control your portions
Often just a taste can satisfy curiosity.  If something comes in a larger portion, feel free to share it with someone, but also remember that you aren’t part of the ‘clean plate club’ and it’s okay to not finish what you took.

Be realistic with yourself and your goals.  The holiday season is only a small part of the year.  It’s important to think about the food choices you’re making between New Year’s and Christmas, not just to worry and feel guilty about the choices between Christmas and New Year’s!

Happy Eating!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Appetizer Q's Day

Again, inspired by ingredients in the house and feeling like quiche, I ended up creating broccoli, onion, and cheese crustless quiche.  I'm not a huge pastry person and by making them crustless they become a healthier option.  They were quite flavourful and a nice appetizer size for sharing with friends.  The recipe below is for ham and Swiss, but you can change up the filling based on your favourite flavours or what you have in the house.

My Q's Day question to you today is:
What is your favourite appetizer to eat or make?

Crustless Ham and Swiss Mini Quiches

Enjoy the flavor of ham and Swiss quiche, without the crust calories, in these mini quiches
Hands On:10 | Total: 30 | Makes: 4 servings (3 mini quiches each)


  • PAM® Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
  • 1 carton (16 oz each) Egg Beaters® Original
  • 1 cup finely chopped fully cooked lean ham
  • 3/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced green onions


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously spray 12 regular muffin cups with cooking spray. Pour Egg Beaters evenly into muffin cups (about 1/3rd full). Combine remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Spoon evenly over Egg Beaters.
  2. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until puffed and set. Let stand in pan 2 minutes. Run table knife around edges of quiches to loosen.

Remember to share recipes, ideas, questions, comments, and answers every Tuesday on the Nutrishus Blog for Q's Day.

Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Monday, December 19, 2011

Upcoming Portion Talk

Portion Distortion - Size Matters

Just in time for New Year's resolutions - your dietitian will be speaking at the Saskatoon Women's Network (SWN) lunch on January 10, 2012 at the Hilton Garden Inn.

It’s not always what you’re eating, but also how much.  Struggling to balance work and life means that meals may be eaten on the run, at restaurants, in the car, or if we’re lucky maybe at our dinner table.

Whether we are serving ourselves, or being served, many of our portions grow (and so do we).  Portions have increased significantly in the last few decades so that we’re not even sure what counts any more.

Enjoy a portion refresher to help you get the nutrients you need to keep you going strong.  Steph Wheler, Registered Dietitian and owner of something nutrishus counselling & coaching will provide visual cues and tips to help you identify portions on your plate and from packages to help on your journey to healthy eating.

Members and non-members welcome.  Visit the SWN website to register:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Belated Cocoa Day

I missed it - Dec. 13 was Cocoa Day.  However, today you can learn about cocoa and perhaps curl up with a mug of homemade hot cocoa.

If you've heard that chocolate can be good for your health, then you've heard about the benefits of cocoa.  The cocoa bean contains flavonoids which have antioxidant properties.  As you are likely aware there are different types of chocolate.  More processing means less flavonoids so less health benefits.  In these terms white chocolate has no flavonoids, milk has some, but dark has more, and cocoa powder has the most.

If you're buying chocolate, look at the ingredient list for cocoa solids or cocoa mass to be listed before sugar.  or choose a bar with a high percentage of cocoa, such as 70% or more.

Again, MODERATION is key because you need to save Calories for all the nutrients you need in your day.

Health Castle has a great article about cocoa and the different types available.  I didn't know there were different types of cocoa as I grew up with Fry's Cocoa in the house.  There is however natural cocoa (Hershey's, Nestle...) and Dutch-processed (Fry's, Lindt...).  They undergo different processes, are different colours, different tastes, and different antioxidant levels.  Natural unsweetened cocoa has the highest concentration of flavonoids.   

Chocolate Recipe Substitution from When a recipe calls for chocolate, use dark chocolate (usually less sugar) or even better cocoa powder. To substitute 1 oz of unsweetened chocolate, use 3 Tbsp of dry cocoa + 2 Tbsp of sugar + 1 Tbsp of vegetable oil.

Ready for that warm mug of homemade hot cocoa?  I am (once I find some natural cocoa to try!).  Again, please enjoy in MODERATION :)

Hershey's Hot Cocoa


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
  • Dash salt
  • 1/3 cup hot water
  • 4 cups (1 qt.) milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Miniature marshmallows or sweetened whipped cream (optional)


  1. Stir together sugar, cocoa and salt in medium saucepan; stir in water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Add milk; stirring constantly, heat to serving temperature. Do Not Boil.
  2. Remove from heat; add vanilla. Beat with rotary beater or whisk until foamy. Serve topped with marshmallows or whipped cream, if desired. Five 8-oz. servings.

    VARIATIONS: Add one of the following with the vanilla extract:

    SPICED COCOA: 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg. Serve with cinnamon stick, if desired.

    MINT COCOA: 1/2 teaspoon mint extract OR 3 tablespoons crushed hard peppermint candy OR 2 to 3 tablespoons white creme de menthe. Serve with peppermint candy stick, if desired.

    CITRUS COCOA: 1/2 teaspoon orange extract OR 2 to 3 tablespoons orange liqueur.

    SWISS MOCHA: 2 to 2-1/2 teaspoons powdered instant coffee.

    COCOA AU LAIT: Omit marshmallows or whipped cream. Spoon 2 tablespoons softened vanilla ice cream on top of each cup of cocoa at serving time.

    SLIM-TRIM COCOA: Omit sugar. Combine cocoa, salt and water; substitute nonfat milk. Proceed as above. With vanilla, stir in sugar substitute with sweetening equivalence of 1/2 cup sugar.

    CANADIAN COCOA: 1/2 teaspoon maple extract.

    MICROWAVE SINGLE SERVING: Combine 1 heaping teaspoon HERSHEY'S Cocoa, 2 heaping teaspoons sugar and dash salt in microwave-safe cup or mug. Add 2 teaspoons cold milk; stir until smooth. Fill cup with milk. Microwave at HIGH (100%) 1 to 1-1/2 minutes or until hot. Stir to blend; serve.

    Nutritional Information per serving (1/5 of recipe):
    Calories: 180, Total Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2.5g, Cholesterol: 15 mg, Sodium: 100mg,
    Total Carbohydrate: 32g, Dietary Fiber: 2g, Sugars: 29g, Protein: 7g, Vitamin A: 8%DV*,
    Vitamin C: 0%DV*, Calcium: 25%DV*, Iron: 0%DV*
Happy Thursday,
Steph Wheler, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Last Minute Gift - Nutrishus Gift Certificate(s)

Are you still struggling to find the perfect gift?  Give the gift of nutrition this year!

Receive a FREE cookbook
when you give the gift of nutrition
When you buy a minimum $100 gift certificate
you’ll receive a free copy of

Dietitians of Canada Cook!
(a $29.95 value)

Offer valid for November and December 2011, or while supplies last.