March is nutrition month – tips from your local Registered Dietitian

(Isabel Williams is the Registered Dietician at Brown’s Your Independent Grocer in Stittsville.)

March is Nutrition Month, the perfect time for Stittsville community members to reflect on the foods we choose to help nourish our bodies. With so much information available it can be overwhelming to know where to start, so going back to the basics is the first step. Whether you’re packing a lunch for day trip to Saunders Farm or preparing dinner for the family, here is my guide to making informed nutrition choices for a healthier life.

Check food labels – By law in Canada, all prepackaged food items must include a label with nutrient content. The labels are there to help you make informed choices and the package provides information on serving size, calories, certain nutrients, and percentage daily values (% DV). Five per cent DV or less is a little, whereas 15 per cent DV is a lot. Try to get more fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium. Aim for less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, and sodium. If you have any questions about your personalized nutrient needs, please reach out to a dietitian for support.

Eat well with Canada’s Food Guide Canada’s Food Guide is an eating plan created by Health Canada to help you make healthy nutrition choices. Overall, the guide emphasizes eating a variety of healthy foods each day. To do this, your ‘healthy plate’ should consist of half vegetables and fruits, a quarter of protein-rich foods including a focus on plant-based proteins in addition to traditional protein sources, and the remaining quarter should be whole grain foods.

Be cautious of food trends – It can be easy to get swept up in the latest food and diet trends, but that doesn’t mean you need to follow them. Focus on eating a variety of whole foods with various nutrients, instead of only eating a handful of foods touted for their superior quality. All bodies are unique, so it’s important that we fuel our bodies with foods that make us feel good. For some that might mean whole grain toast and eggs for breakfast, while for others it might mean a chia seed breakfast bowl with fruit.

If you find yourself needing additional assistance understanding nutrition and developing nutrition goals, I am here to help. As your local Stittsville Registered Dietitian at Brown’s Your Independent Grocer I can work with you one-on-one to develop a unique and easy to follow plan. To book a virtual appointment with me, go to yourindependentgrocer.ca/dietitians.

One-Pan Zucchini Noodle and White Bean Puttanesca

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch hot pepper flakes
  • 1 can white kidney beans 
  • 1/4 cup kalamata olives
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pkg zucchini veggie noodles
  • 1/4 cup torn fresh basil

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Add garlic, salt, black pepper and hot pepper flakes; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add beans; cook, stirring often, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in olives and capers. Transfer to large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add veggie noodles; cook, tossing and stirring often, until tender-crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomato mixture; cook, stirring to coat, until heated through, about 1 minute. Sprinkle with basil.

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