Getting Nutritional Advice From A Dietitian is Easier Than You Think

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Have you ever wanted to book an appointment with a registered dietitian and figured it would be too costly? Well what would you say if I told you there is a place that offers the service where you already go for your groceries? Yes, it’s true.

The dietitian program I am speaking of is offered at many of the Loblaws stores across Canada. In fact, the Loblaws we shop at weekly has the service and I had no idea it existed or that many of the services were free to the public until recently. Now that it has been pointed out, it’s like, I see that sign all the time.

I was given the opportunity to have a consultation with an in-store dietitian at Loblaws and I wanted to share my experience with you. I did learn a few things I was not expecting.

As a bonus, I also got some great tips on how to make Thanksgiving leftovers a little healthier. Don’t worry, I know Thanksgiving for us Canadians is long gone, but I will include some easy ways to take some classic comfort food dishes and make them healthier.

I met with Susan Camargo and had a 1- hour sessions that reviewed my eating habits and a basic introduction to what a dietitian does. I had a pretty good sense of that already, but still, eye-opening.

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As a sidenote, did you know about the little blue stars that are on all the item tags in your grocery store? I never noticed them before. It’s pretty simple. It goes as high as 3 stars for health. Take a look next time. Learn more about Guiding Stars.

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Okay back to my session.

Susan took 3 days of my eating habits and looks for areas that could use healthier choices and tips on how to ease my hunger build up.
For me I am highly routine, so it was no surprise that all 3 days were basically the same. I was given some healthier options for each part of the day.

One area that I was lacking was having light snacks during the day, which meant I would be very hungry for dinner and eat more than I should.

The challenge we set up for me to do was try to eat more snacks mid-morning and mid-afternoon at least 3 days per week. The other days, not to worry about it.

I also pointed out I wanted to stop drinking pop, but as it’s free and accessible at work, it’s hard.

Susan suggested again, taking 3 days as a challenge to drink water instead.

That’s how the session mostly was. It was her providing information for me to make healthy choices. It’s not a diet. It’s not, you have to do this and that. It’s all suggestive.

I was also introduced to what your plate should look like and how much meat, greens and starch should be on your plate.
I certainly eat more meat than the size of my fist.

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Overall, I found the session to be more of an expert telling me what was already in the back of my head. I do want to eat better, but with a busy life, it’s easy to get lazy.

Susan was not drilling things into me and scaring me with stats. Instead it was information that I could use to improve on what I am currently doing and eating.

Like I said, the sessions are free and she even said, if I go back for another, I can bring the kids.

Now, here are easy swaps for 5 fall Comfort foods

Mac and Cheese
• Try whole grain pasta or high protein pasta instead of white. Reason: To boost fibre/protein.
• Try to use sweet potato/squash in the cheese sauce instead of all cheese. Reason: Cuts down on some saturated fats/calories/sodium.

Mashed Potatoes
• Boost your dish by swapping ¼ of the potatoes with cannellini beans. Reason: Beans will add protein/fibre/iron and B vitamins.
• Keep skin on the potatoes. Reason: Boost of fibre.

Pumpkin Pie
• Skip the crust by baking your pie filling in ramekins, top with Greek or Skyr yogurt instead of whipping cream and finish with toasted pumpkin seeds and walnuts. Reason: Increase the nutritional value (calcium, protein) by substituting the whipping cream and seeds (zinc, fibre).

Chili
• Boost your chili by swapping ¼ of your meat with quinoa. Reason: Will boost fibre and make you feel very satisfied.
• Add bell peppers and mushrooms for a hearty chili full of vitamins and minerals.

Grilled Cheese
• Swap the white bread for whole grain (2g fibre per slice) Reason: Boost of fibre.
• Toast in a dry non-stick pan with no butter or oil. Reason: reduce fats/calories.
• Use flavourful, high quality cheese. Reason: You will get more flavour and use less cheese.

So, what will you be making first? I can’t wait to substitute some of these with the kids and see what they think.

Again, I want to thank Susan and Loblaws for the session and how it has opened my eyes to how easy it is to eat a little bit healthier, while not shaking up our daily lives.

This post is sponsored by Loblaw. The views and opinions in this post are my own.

Michael Cusden
Michael is the creator of Like A Dad and uses his daily experiences of being a parent and a marketing dude as his content. Always looking to connect with other parents and bloggers.