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Dietetic Directions Blog - Dietetic Directions - Dietitian and Nutritionist in Kitchener/Waterloo
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Dietetic Directions Blog

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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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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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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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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Increase Magnesium in your Diet!

In my last post I explored the ‘Forgotten Mineral Magnesium’ and the numerous health benefits.  Now that you understand the importance of magnesium for your health, let’s explore some of the best dietary sources! Note:  Percent Daily Value = (% DV) is the percentage of the recommended amount of a vitamin or mineral in your diet. How to increase magnesium in your diet! Click To Tweet 1.    Nuts and Seeds! Filled with heart healthy fats, nuts and seeds are a healthy addition to your diet and a super source of magnesium: Pumpkin seeds (1/4 cup) = 187mg (58%) Brazil nuts (1/4 cup) = 133mg (38% DV) Almonds, roasted (1/4 cup) = 110mg (31% DV)      2.    Eat your Greens!   Looking for a reason to add fresh spinach salads, sautéed...

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Magnesium, A Forgotten Mineral

What if I told you that there is a mighty mineral that protects against heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke?  I am referring to a particular mineral that most Canadians are not getting enough of in their diets.  This magnificent mineral is magnesium! What are the benefits of magnesium? Click To Tweet Today’s blog post is focused on the health benefits associated with magnesium.  Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and is involved in over 300 biological or enzymatic processes.  Functions of magnesium include: healthy muscle and nerve functioning, regulating blood sugar and regulating blood pressure.  Similar to vitamin D, magnesium aids in the absorption of calcium for building strong bones and teeth.   Research studies are discovering that magnesium plays a very critical role in heart health.  A recent study published...

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Garlic, It’s Good for You!

Garlic breath got you down?  What if you learned that fresh garlic has powerful antioxidants making it a healthy addition to your diet?  Garlic for medicinal or cooking purposes dates back over 7,000 years to central Asia.  Today, garlic is commonly used in kitchens to add flavour and aroma to our homemade dishes! Fresh garlic does more than give you bad breath! Click To Tweet Research is supporting the role of raw, fresh garlic for generating hydrogen sulfide, the same compound responsible for that distinctive rotten eggs smell!  When garlic is consumed, this chemical (known as Allicin) causes the blood vessels to relax, allowing more blood to flow to the heart.  Additionally, the sulfide compounds in garlic also appear beneficial for suppressing the formation...

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Omega 3 Eggs, Worth the $$$?

Do you find yourself strolling down the grocery aisle, leisurely perusing the ‘Omega 3 Eggs’ food label wondering if this type of ‘functional food’ is worth the extra money?  It seems to be widespread knowledge that omega 3 fatty acids are good for us; however, are they truly beneficial in the form of eggs, or is this a mere marketing strategy? What are omega 3's and their impact on health? Click To Tweet What are Omega 3 Fatty Acids? Omega 3 is a type of ‘essential fatty acid’ since our bodies require them for healthy functioning but we need to consume them in our diet in order to reap the health benefits.  There are three types of omega 3 fatty acids: EPA, DHA and ALA.  All three...

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