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Andrea D’Ambrosio, RD, Author at Dietetic Directions - Dietitian and Nutritionist in Kitchener/Waterloo - Page 26 of 34
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Author: Andrea D’Ambrosio, RD

Meal Planning Tips & Tricks for Busy Families

Meal planning can be a daunting task considering our hectic work schedules, our children’s sports or extracurricular activities and not to mention the parental task of ensuring homework is complete and the kids are to bed at a decent time!  Nevertheless, if you (and your family) are looking to eat less processed foods, eat more fruits and vegetables in addition to less sugary and/or processed foods then meal planning is your key to success. I believe that meal planning is truly an ‘art form’ which you get better at only with practice.  Once meal planning becomes a habit, it can significantly lower your stress through improved meal-time organization and the enjoyment of delicious, balanced, healthy meals to energize your...

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Oat Bran, Banana & Chocolate Chip Pancakes!

I am pleased to share this simple and delicious pancake recipe that is a higher fibre alternative to your standard pancake recipe. I used oat bran, dry oatmeal and bananas for the batter and added chocolate chips for some extra sweetness. These pancakes turned out amazingly well, very moist and soft inside. This recipe has been adapted from a similar recipe from the wonderful AllRecipes.ca. Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Serves: 4 Ingredients: 1 cup oat bran cereal, uncooked ¼ cup dry oats, uncooked ¼ cup whole wheat flour 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 tablespoon sugar ¼ teaspoon salt ¼ cup chocolate chips 2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed 1 cup 1% milk 1 large egg Cooking spray Toppings: Fresh strawberries,...

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Peanut Butter vs. Nutella, which is Healthier?

It’s time for the fun game of nutritional comparison! Comparing Peanut Butter (PB) to the popular Italian hazelnut spread Nutella. This topic comes suggested to me by a busy couple in Waterloo seeking dietary guidance for their family. To answer this question, let’s take a look at the ingredient lists for both products and then compare their nutrition info. I will provide (as always) my 'bottom line' nutrition recommendations. Which is healthier: Peanut Butter or Nutella? Click To Tweet What’s In Nutella? Ingredients (as listed on the label): SUGAR, modified palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (from milk), soy lecithin: an emulsifier, vanillin: an ARTIFICIAL flavour. Please note,...

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Andrea’s Chocolate Quinoa Brownie Recipe!

I am excited to share this simple and delectable brownie recipe that uses cooked quinoa instead of flour! This soft, decadent recipe is also gluten free. If you don’t mention that the recipe uses quinoa your guests would never even know! ;) Serves: 12 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 30-34 minutes Ingredients: ½ cup rinsed quinoa 1 cup water ¾ cup sugar ½ cup cocoa powder 1 tsp baking powder ¼ cup 1% milk 2 Tbsp canola oil 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla Instructions: 1. Combine ½ cup quinoa and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil and then reduce to simmer. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until water has evaporated. Let stand 5...

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Do we Burn more Calories in the Summer vs. Winter?

Contrary to popular belief, our bodies burn slightly more calories adapting to cold temperatures than we do adapting to warm weather. When our bodies produce heat, we burn extra energy aka extra calories. Therefore, in cold environments, our body adapts quickly by stimulating smooth muscle contractions (i.e., shivering) in order to generate heat. Shivering requires caloric energy to generate heat. Conversely, the summer heat has little effect on your resting calorie burning (aka BMR- Basal Metabolic Rate). If you find yourself sweating, this is not active calorie burning. However, if you are in heated environment for prolonged periods or running a fever this can increase your calorie burning...

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Coconut Mango Rice with Spiced Chicken

It is with great enthusiasm that I introduce Chef Marianne and her delicious recipe -coconut flavoured rice with spiced chicken!  Marianne teaches classes in Sobey's cooking school and this was one of the recipes she taught us how to make.  Note this recipe is also gluten free and a definite crowd pleaser! Be sure to follow her on Facebook for lots of great ideas: https://www.facebook.com/DACHEF11 Serves: 4 Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 25 minutes Ingredients: 4 boneless chicken breasts 1 clove garlic, minced 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced 1 Tbsp soya sauce 1/8 tsp paprika 1/8 tsp curry powder 1/8 tsp cumin 1 ¼ cups dry basmati rice 2 cups water 2/3 cup coconut milk 1 large green or red pepper, sliced ¾ cup carrots, match-sticks or shredded 1 Tbsp...

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The ‘Not So Fancy’ Frittata

By definition, a frittata is an egg-based dish similar to an omelet or crustless quiche.  It has interesting ingredient additions like meats, cheeses, vegetables or pasta/potatoes with herbs.  This is a versatile recipe that I wanted to share as an inspiration for your breakfast protein! Serves: 4 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 15 minutes Ingredients: 4 eggs 2 Tbsp sunflower or other cooking oil ½ clove garlic, minced ¼ cup onion, chopped ½ cup raw cauliflower ½ cup fresh tomato, diced ¼ cup zucchini, chopped ¼ cup mushrooms, chopped 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped 1/2 cup cooked Italian sausage, chopped ¼ cup mozzarella cheese, grated Salt and pepper to taste Instructions: 1.    Chop desired ingredients (spinach would have been a great addition) and set aside. 2.    Heat oil in a fry pan on medium. 3.    Add onions to oil and minced...

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Circadian Rhythm’s Impact on Body Weight

We all have an ‘internal clock’ which regulates our body's functioning by using environmental signals.  If you find yourself naturally more alert at certain times of the day (10am) and more sluggish at other times, you have experienced your own circadian rhythm.  The problem; however, comes when daily tasks throw off this internal clock.  During the summer months, we might be more likely to tamper with our circadian rhythm by staying up late with friends or to study, increase in travel to other countries or time zones or doing shift work. Research has shown that disruption to our circadian rhythm can wreck havoc on our natural sleep-wake cycle which is responsible for releasing hormones that impact our immunity, digestive function, mood and...

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Which Types of Fish are Low in Mercury?

It seems widespread that omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial for heart health; however, clients are often concerned about the amount of mercury in fish leading to birth defects or learning disabilities.  Mercury is a toxic, global contaminate that does not break down in the environment and can build up in living things.  Today’s blog will explore this concern in greater detail and highlight the types of fish that are low mercury. How does Mercury get into Fish?   Mercury can be released naturally into the environment from rocks, soil, forest fires and volcanoes.  Human activity is also responsible for increasing mercury in our atmosphere through industry practices like metal mining and coal-fired power generation.   When mercury is released into...

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