As part of our New Year’s Resolution (I know the New Year seemed so long ago!), Kyle and I made a pact to eat healthier and also to introduce organic foods (without truly understanding the benefits) into our diet. After all, you know what they say? You ARE what you EAT! With little time to do a bunch of research, we decided to flip on Netflix and watched a ton of food documentaries – many of which had us convinced that we were to go 100% organic, immediately! I reached out to my dear friends at Loblaws and asked them for some advice on choosing organic foods at the store.
Lucky for me, Loblaws introduced me to their complementary Dietitian In-Store services which I was totally unaware of.
I jumped right on it and set up a visit with Nema McGlynn, the in-store dietitian at the Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.
Above: Grilled Tofu Quinoa Bowl with cherry tomatoes, corn, avocado and Asian salad mix.
The in-store dietitian visit was an hour long appointment that include a nutrition check-up to assess dietary habits, a Grocery Store Tour to identify healthier options, and suggestions on types of food to prepare and purchase that will met our dietary goals. For Kyle and I, we were looking for more information on organic produce and fun meals to prepare that are high in protein and low in carbs.
Nema gave us some insightful tips on organic vs. non-organic, suggested serving sizes to meet our dietary goals, and left us with plenty of meal ideas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that are both delicious and easy to prepare.
- Eat the color of the rainbow: different natural colours in foods representent various antioxidants. We started to pick up veggies, fruits, and even rice (did you know there is purple and red rice?!) that had a variety of colour. Not only is this variety great for the body, they’re also visually stimulating!
- Organic vs. Not – from a nutrition perspective organic vs. non-organic doesn’t make a huge difference when talking about the nutrient levels. Where the difference will come into play are antioxidants, which for a healthy person, isn’t needed on a daily basis, however, for someone fighting a disease such as cancer, antioxidants become a very important factor.
- Recipe ideas – there are a ton of recipe cards available to take home at the store! If you’re shopping and not feeling too inspired, be sure to pick up a few recipe cards. These are generally placed by the fish and seafood section.
- Guiding Star Program: you can now find guiding stars on shelf labels that denote a healthier option. Guiding Stars scores foods based on a balance of credits and debits. Foods are credited for vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, whole grains, and omega-3s, and debited for saturated fats, trans fats, added sodium, and added sugars. Three stars is the highest possible ratings an item can receive.
- Smoothies: Nema sent us home with a page full of smoothie recipes that are perfect as breakfast options. My new favourite is combining frozen blueberries, kale, and egg whites. Yes, raw egg whites!
If you’re looking to sharpen your pencil when it comes to eating and shopping right, I highly recommend setting up an appointment with your Loblaws in-store dietitian. These services are complementary and you can make follow up visits to check in on progress. These services are typically located by the Health and Pharmacy area, please call your local store to find out the exact location!
Enjoy and cheers to a healthier day!
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