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Posted on Wednesday, 15 October 2014, 12:00 PM

I did my weekly menu planning, prepared my grocery list, hit the gym after work and am now heading into the grocery store. I haven’t eaten since my last snack at work and guess what? I’m starving!

No big deal. I can still stick to my list, right?

Wrong….I end up wandering down the snack aisle and grabbing 4 different items that weren’t on the list. Not only were these foods not on my list but they were also “choose less often” foods that I previously decided I wouldn’t keep in the house.  Jeeze, don’t I have enough will power to resist these foods?!

 If this has happened to you, you’re not alone – and it is NOT about willpower. Research out of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab has shown that people who grocery shop when they’re hungry have a much higher likelihood to overspend, stray from their list and choose high calorie foods than people who had a snack or meal pre-grocery outing. It is a natural reaction for you to gravitate towards high calorie food when you’re hungry because your body kicks into survival mode and wants quick energy.

Sure, you think, but what about the days when you didn’t plan to be without food for a lengthy period of time and life got in the way of your daily food planning? The answer lies in having a car survival kit for days when you are on the go and didn’t have time to plan your snacks. I would recommend keeping this kit in the trunk so it is not within arm’s reach every time you get into your car.

What kind of foods should you include in your kit?

  • Nuts (any kind will do – unsalted are best)
  • Protein bars
  • Whole grain crackers
  • Water – to wash it down!

Sometimes it’s the small changes that can produce great results!

Emily Spencer, RD

Posted on Wednesday, 24 September 2014, 3:10 PM

A decent choice when you are stuck in a bind without a lunch.  In fact, most of the power menu options at Panera are suprisingly good. 


Panera Bread Power Chicken Hummus Bowl

Calories 300

Sodium 600mg

Protein 25g

Carbs 18g

FIbre 4g

Posted on Wednesday, 17 September 2014, 12:25 PM

This is definitely not blatant health deception, as I believe we all know that flavored seasonal lattes are not healthy.  However, the deception may be in the surprise of just how many calories and added sugar these products contain.  As well, not treating the drink as you would a slice of pie, but they’re essentially identical.  


Here is a sample from lowest calories/sugar to highest in a Pumpkin Spice Latte :


Short non-fat without whip cream

~130 Calories

~24 grams Sugar (~12g of it added or 3 tsp)*


Grande 2% milk with whip cream

~380 Calories

~49 grams sugar (~24g of it added or 6tsp)*


Venti whole milk with whip cream

~510 calories

~62 grams sugar (~29g of it added or 7.5tsp)*


*the rest of the sugar coming naturally from the lactose in milk.


One average slice of pumpkin pie with whip cream (for reference)

~340 calories

~24 grams of sugar (difficult to estimate added sugar, most likely ~16-18 grams)

~2 grams of fibre

Certainly not a healthy daily ritual

Posted on Thursday, 11 September 2014, 9:40 AM

Recipe by RD Emily Spencer

Ingredients (4 servings)

Spice blend

3 tbsp paprika

1 tbsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp black pepper

2 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp dried oregano

1 tsp dried thyme

4 tilapia filets (~400g)

1 lemon, cut into wedges

1 tbsp olive oil



  1. In a bowl, mix together paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, and thyme.
  2. Coat the tilapia filets with the spice mixture.
  3. Heat a skillet over high heat – add oil. Place the filets in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, or until fish becomes opaque and can be easily flaked with a fork.
  4. Remove from the pan and serve with a lemon wedge and your choice of vegetables and grain.

Per serving of tilapia

Calories ~ 175

Protein ~20g

Fat ~8g

Carbs ~7g

Fibre ~0g  *If served with veggies and whole grains, fibre will be significantly increased

Sodium ~40mg

Posted on Thursday, 4 September 2014, 3:30 PM

If looking for healthy options available at Tim Hortons here is their best for a breakfast on the run.  Unfortunately It does still contain a hefty whack of sodium, as most fast food/restaurant meals will, so best not to make this a regular choice.


Tim Hortons Multigrain Flatbread, Egg White Omelette w/ Cheese

Calories 240

Sodium 820mg

Protein 17g

Carbs 27g

FIbre 4g

Posted on Wednesday, 27 August 2014, 4:30 PM

It is unfortunate that the smoothie is often adulterated to the point where it no longer is a healthy option.  Here is a perfect example of a smoothie gone wrong.  It is promoted as having REAL FRUIT (puree) and juices as well as greek yogurt; thus promoted as healthy.  A quick glance at a medium serving of the smoothie details 0 grams of fibre and 42 grams of sugar! That 0 grams of fibre tells me that there is little to no whole fruit in this smoothie, just roughly 10 tsp of sugars/juices/concentrates/purees extracted from fruit.  In short, they are marketing the smoothie as healthy when in fact the most healthful property, fibre, is completely absent.


One Medium Mango Pineapple Fruit Smoothie with Greek Yogurt Smoothie

Calories 220

Protein 5 grams

Fibre 0 grams

Sugar 42 grams