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March is the month of change – spring officially arrives on the 20th, and it’s Nutrition Month, which means Canadians will be taking stock of what’s in their fridge, on their plates, and in the changes to their nutritional health.
This year is particularly special, given the extraordinary circumstances we continue to navigate. The pandemic has forced people to shop differently, as well as re-energize their cooking and baking skills.
Yet, many Canadians struggle to navigate the healthy eating landscape with this one question: Is this recipe good for me?
You’d be surprised to learn it’s the most common questions Canadian dietitians get from their clients. Which makes it the focus of this year’s Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign: Good For You – dietitians help you find your healthy.
“As dietitians, our role has less to do with instructing, and more to do with listening. Rather than telling our clients what they need to do in order to achieve the ‘ideal’ health standard, we help them find their healthy,” says dietitian and spokesperson Julia Liber in a recent release from this professional association whose mandate is to advance health through food, nutrition and advocacy.
As well, COVID-19 has put everyone’s nutritional concerns under the magnifying glass: “As dietitians, we are seeing that people have become more concerned about their nutrition during the pandemic, and want to improve their food shopping and preparation skills,” adds Alberta-based registered dietitian and nutrition educator Susan Klaver, in a recent interview.
“Canadians are buying more food in grocery stores, yet more food is being wasted during the pandemic – often because food has been left in the fridge or freezer too long due to poor food planning skills…this highlights the need for more reliable food and nutrition education sources in Canada.”
Klaver says the pandemic has also “taken a toll on mental health, and sent many struggling to find a new balance in life, work, home-schooling, family schedules, and eating. Many are still scrambling to manage sudden changes.” And then there’s the whole issue of weight gain brought on by pandemic eating as well as less movement from working in a home office.
Of greatest concern, adds Klaver is the alarming surge in numbers of teens and young adults needing help for eating disorders. “Health conditions have become more challenging,” particularly in this area.
“Healthy eating looks different for everyone, shaped by factors like culture, dietary restrictions, religious beliefs, food preferences, cooking skills, nutritional needs, and life stages,” says Klaver. “Dietitians take up on the challenge to help to people ‘find their healthy.'”
Green Split Pea and Cauliflower Soup
A wonderfully lighter version of traditional pea soup that’s quick to make plus full of flavour and vegetables. Recipe courtesy of albertapulse.com .
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) canola oil
2–3 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion
4 cups (1 L) chopped fresh or frozen cauliflower
1/2 cup (125 mL) dry green split peas, drained & rinsed
1 tsp. (5 mL) dried thyme leaves
4 cups (1 L) low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1/3 cup (75 mL) crumbled Old Cheddar cheese
In a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven heat canola oil over medium temperature. Add garlic and onion, saute until caramelized and fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Stir in cauliflower, dried split peas, thyme and broth. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until peas are tender, may require another 5-10 minutes.
Remove from heat and carefully ladle into a blender or use a hand blender in the pot, to whir mixture to a chunky texture. Return to saucepan, if necessary, and heat to a simmer. Season to taste. Serve with crumbled cheese and a drizzle of cold pressed canola oil if desired.
Pear Raspberry Yogurt Muesli
Recipe courtesy of Dairyfarmersofcanada.ca .
1 cup (250 mL) large-flake rolled oats
1/4 cup (60 mL) EACH unsalted sunflower seeds and sliced almonds
1 firm-ripe pear
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) ground flax seed
1/8 tsp. (.5 mL) ground nutmeg or cinnamon
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) plain yogurt
2 Tbsp. (30 mL) maple syrup or liquid honey
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) fresh or frozen raspberries (thawed if frozen) divided
In a large, dry skillet, toast rolled oats, sunflower seeds and almond, stirring constantly, for about 5 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Transfer to a medium heatproof bowl and let cool. Set 1/4 cup (60 mL) aside for topping; cover and store at room temperature.
Shred pear on coarse side of a box grater. Stir pear, flax seeds, nutmeg or cinnamon, yogurt and maple syrup or honey into bowl with oat mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
To serve, stir 1 cup (250 mL) of raspberries into yogurt mixture, mashing berries slightly as you stir. Spoon into bowls, sprinkle with reserved oat mixture and top with remaining raspberries.
Use a mixture of rolled oats, quinoa flakes and/or barley flakes for a change in texture and flavour – just keep total amount at 1 cup (250 mL).
Use a pear that’s ripe and sweet, but still firm enough to shred. Pears ripen from the inside first; to check for ripeness, gently squeeze the neck of the pear closet to the stem and it should give slightly.
Tamil-Style Eggplant Curry
Recipe courtesy of Piraveena Piremathasan P.Dt, CDE, CBE
3 cups (375 mL) eggplant, long, raw, cubed
2/3 cup (160 mL) water
1 onion, sliced
2 green chilis, cut in half
2 garlic cloves
6 curry leaves
1/4 tsp. (1 mL) turmeric powder
1/2 cup (125 mL) coconut milk, canned
In a medium saucepan add eggplant, water, onion, green chilies, garlic cloves, curry leaves and turmeric powder, and cook at high heat for 6 minutes. Stir ingredients and cook for another 4 minutes until curry becomes pale green.
Add coconut milk and decrease heat to low for 2 minutes. Mash curry with a fork.
Serve with salad and rice.
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2021