Friday, November 22, 2013

Green is the colour...

Whether you've just jumped on the band wagon, have been a fan all year, or just enjoy tuning in for the grey cup - there is sure to be some sitting and snacking this Sunday.  Don't let it be an excuse; turn it into an opportunity.  Think of the example you're setting for young sports fans and the health goal(s) you're working on.  It's a unique situation because we watch these great athletes fight to be the champion, but often as an armchair coach.  With kick off around supper time, be sure to fit in a quality breakfast, lunch, and some exercise before you settle in for the evening.

True to form, I think of holidays or special occasions and what the food theme can be. Rather than chips and dip, pizza, chicken wings, nachos, etc. why not challenge yourself to a green theme? Depending on the spirit in your workplace you might have had a Rider pride day this week already and perhaps you've already been thinking about healthy green foods (good for you!).

Put on that thinking cap and get green:

  • guacamole with veggies or whole wheat pitas (you can crisp them up in the oven)
  • veggies (celery, broccoli, green peppers, snap peas, cucumber) and a greek yogurt dip or cottage cheese
  • fruit (honey dew melon, kiwi, green grapes, granny smith apples) and part skim mozzarella cheese
  • roasted or steamed edamame
  • green smoothies
  • spinach salad
  • feta and spinach frittata
  • kale chips
  • lentil potato spinach soup
What are you serving on grey cup Sunday?

Go Riders!
Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Two for Tea {Recipe ReDux}

November 21st - which means Recipe ReDux reveal...I struggled a lot with this month's theme - it wasn't that I couldn't think of any ideas, but I couldn't decide on just one! So, far I've challenged myself to create new recipes rather than go with my tried and true, so I wanted to do the same this month.  I thought about popcorn kernels and spices, granola, trail mix, chickpeas and spices, and even biscotti (which I've never made), but I landed on mulling spices.

Why was it such a tough decision? I love food and I love giving gifts, so with the theme Adding Merriment to Mixes I was very excited.  The guidance we received was to "share the recipe for how you package up a little shelf-stable love from your kitchen!" With cold temperatures here in Saskatchewan (silly wind chill!) and my love of mindfulness and creating healthy habits, I figured a nice hot cup of holiday cheer was the way to go.  There are so many high calorie, high sugar, and high fat beverages to tempt you this time of year, so here is a way to enjoy festive flavours at home while saving calories for that special appetizer or dessert.  Plus it's a great way to warm up after being active outside.

Merry Mulling Spices

Makes 4 pouches for individual servings

6 cardamom pods
6 peppercorns
1 anise star
4 whole cloves
2-3" cinnamon stick
1 dehydrated orange slice (optional)
4 loose leaf tea bags (I used David's Tea ones)

Combine ingredients in a mortar and smash with the pestel to release the aromas and flavours.  Divide into 4 loose tea leaf bags or use cheese cloth and tie to secure.

Place the mulling spice bag and your favourite black tea in a mug, add boiled water, and steep for 3-5 minutes (or longer for more flavour).  Serve with a splash of milk and/or dash of sugar as desired. 

*You can use a variety of spices to give this a personal touch.  I started to dehydrate the oranges at room temperature and then put them on a baking sheet on parchment paper and into the oven for about 1 hour at 200F to finish the drying process.  You could also use dried orange zest instead.
Depending on how much festive flavour you want to add, you can double up and make tea for two (instead of 4).  This makes a great gift with a box of black tea bags, a holiday mug, and some may even want to gift it with a bottle of wine.  I have not tried these exact spices with wine for a mulled wine, but you would at least double the recipe for 1 bottle and simmer 15-20 minutes to infuse the spices into the beverage.  The mulling spice bag can also be placed in water on the stove to simmer and provide a great fragrance to your home or combined with hot apple cider.

Enjoy hosting or spoiling your host(s)!
Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sip and Snack Swaps

With holiday season soon upon us, the time for hot beverages, sweet/salty/crunchy snacks and cuddling up with a warm blanket in front of the TV has begun. The cold weather brings holiday drinks such as eggnog, hot chocolate, lattes and mochas and the parties bring sweet, salty and crunchy treats. It is important to be aware of these treats and drinks as they can pack a bunch of calories into a day. Many people are not aware of the amount of liquid calories consumed at the holiday time, but when a 16 oz. eggnog latte from Starbucks has 470 calories, it is something we need to start paying attention to. There is a place for beverages such as these in your diet. However, they should be consumed in smaller serving sizes and only occasionally. As well some of the traditional treats can be consumed but there are great alternatives out there to subdue the cravings for these snacks.

Try some of these alternative drinks this season when planning a party.

1. Fruity tea soda instead of a soft drink or flavored soda 
  • To make this steep two tea bags of your favourite herbal tea in 3 cups of boiling water (we used Tetley's Mint Mojito - pictured above). Chill. Add 1 cup sparkling mineral or soda water. You will have an instant fizzy drink with close to no sugar
2. Citrus water instead of fruit juice 
  • Mix a teaspoon of lemon or lime juice with 8 oz. of water to have a refreshing drink without the sugar and calories from fruit juice. Try using a water bowl instead of a punch bowl at the next party you host. 
3. Herbal tea instead of eggnog, hot chocolate, lattes and mochas.
  • Consider picking up the holiday flavors of teas to have instead of having the sugar sweetened, high fat beverages. If you do go for the other beverages try a skinny version or get the drink with half the sweetness.

Try some of these healthy snacks to curb the salty, crunchy or sweet cravings that come along with the holiday season:
  • Cheesy Kale Chips - Tear kale leaves into large pieces and arrange on a baking sheet. Spritz with olive oil and bake in a 350°F oven until crisp. While still warm, sprinkle with a little grated Parmesan cheese (check out our past post and Today I Ate a Rainbow's video).
  • Five-spice pumpkin seeds - Toss salted pumpkin seeds with sesame oil and Chinese five-spice powder; bake at 350°F until crisp.
  • Buffalo popcorn - Toss air-popped popcorn with olive oil, chili powder, and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese (how to make your own microwave popcorn)
  • Chickpea poppers - Drain and rinse canned chickpeas, then dry them with a paper towel. Spritz with extra-virgin olive oil, season with dried oregano and garlic powder, and roast at 400°F until crisp (read more).
  • Banana cream pie - Spread graham crackers with vanilla fat-free Greek yogurt, then top with a handful of banana slices and a sprinkle of ground flaxseed. (Read the label to make sure you stick to one serving of graham crackers.)
  • Grapefruit Brule - Transform a simple grapefruit into something decadent: Halve it; drizzle each half with a little dark honey (use concentrated sweets sparingly), and broil until bubbly.
...more examples of sweet, salty, crunchy treats
Remember, there will be temptations at every holiday party you go to. If you focus on good choices most of the year, treats at the holiday season can fit in to a balanced diet. Just spend more time choosing the better option and don’t over indulge when you do have some treats. Enjoy the holiday season and stay warm this winter!

Kaitlyn Kwasney, Dietetic Intern
for Stephanie Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Warm & Cozy

Winter and snow seem to be here to stay.  For many people that means looking for a warm meal and for me that means a hearty soup with vegetables and meat alternatives such as beans, lentils, or chickpeas.  You can also add barley, rice, quinoa, and noodles for more grain products.  

Soups, stews, and chilis are also great to prepare ahead on the weekend or leave in the crockpot for a quick supper or lunch leftovers.  My husband often likes pureed textures, which can help you 'hide' some vegetables from your picky eaters if needed.  I also just realized this is a green and white soup, so it can be eaten while watching the Roughriders too!

Lentil Potato Spinach Soup
Source: Pulse Canada
Makes 2.25 L (~ 5 servings)

250 ml (1 cup) dry green lentils
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable/canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
1.5 L (6 cups) reduced sodium vegetable or chicken broth
125 ml (1/4 cup) chopped fresh parsley
1 L (4 cups) chopped fresh spinach
2 medium potatoes, cubed 
salt and pepper to taste
50 ml (1/4 cup) fresh lemon juice


  1. Cover lentils with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes. Set aside. Drain liquids. 
  2. Sauté garlic and onions with oil in a large saucepan until browned. Add vegetable (or chicken) broth, lentils and remaining ingredients except lemon juice. 
  3. Cook mixture for about 1 hour until lentils and potatoes are tender.  Add lemon juice just before serving.
* option to puree soup and return to saucepan. 

What do you eat to be warm and cozy?

Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Acquired Tastes

With Hallowe'en and some recent work with young athletes, I started thinking about foods from my childhood.  I didn't know then what I know now about nutrition and health, but our lives were also different (and it wasn't that long ago!).  Here are a few things I reflected on:
  • Eating out was a special (and rare) occasion, not a weekly or daily event
  • Pop/soda might have been around for holidays and camping trips (again, not a daily or weekly item; not something constantly on the grocery list)
  • Sweet cereal was only purchased when we had cousins coming to stay with us (not a daily or weekly item)
  • We did have Campbell's soup on chicken and pork chops; but boneless, skinless chicken wasn't the 'norm'
  • I had never heard of (or eaten) an avocado, sushi, or various other ethnic cuisines
  • We sometimes had pancakes for supper (I do love breakfast foods)
  • We typically had apples, orange, and bananas available; grapes on occasion
  • You couldn't get as much fresh produce variety during the winter as you can get now
  • I remember stating my favourite food was hamburger helper in grade 3
  • We were sometimes treated to slurpees after a softball tournament or game
  • I loved water and not so much milk (which is still true for me)
  • I loved helping unpack the groceries (I could now spend a day in the grocery store no problem)
  • There weren't Tim Horton's locations on every corner, or restaurants in every neighbourhood
  • People used cookbooks and recipe cards rather than Pinterest to plan their meals
  • etc.
Some things are still the same and some things change (for me and society).  Children (and adults) can be picky and new flavours can be scary, but now I love to experiment in the kitchen.  Convenience food doesn't really happen in my household and vegetables/fruit are always on my mind when I'm planning a meal.  A common theme, from above, was the frequency of these so called 'treats' - items that have become staples in some routines.  For many people, childhood foods include sidekicks, ramen noodles, and kd - and if you haven't heard already, kraft dinner is removing artificial dyes from 3 of their kid-friendly varieties (fun shapes).

I talk with young athletes about developing healthy habits now and early on, so that it's one less thing to think about when they make the playoffs or have a big game - it just becomes part of the routine.  I think it's so important to start early and I am very passionate about preventative health, especially because I know and see how hard it is for adults to change their habits.  I also talk with parents about the foods they purchase or have stocked for their hungry youngsters and teenagers.

Food and memories are closely connected, what do you think of when you reflect back on the foods of your past?

Here's to a healthy future,
Steph Langdon, RD
something nutrishus counselling & coaching