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.
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.
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.
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.
• 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.
• 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).
• 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.
• 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.