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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, 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, 14 November 2013, 8:05 AM

A client of mine showed me these a few days ago and asked me what I thought of them. Here goes: Seeing as I love peanut butter either on its own or mixed with just about anything, I gladly tried a package and guess what – I think they taste very good. They taste exactly how you would expect crackers with peanut butter sandwiched between them would. Nutritionally however, I was far less impressed. With only 3g protein per serving and refined flour as the main cracker ingredient, these will do very little in terms of satisfying you for a prolonged period of time. An ideal amount of protein for a snack is at least 10g with the goal being to keep you feeling full for a couple of hours. The use of refined (white) flour offers no nutritionally benefit and as I’ve blogged about before, can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A better option would be to spread some peanut butter on whole grain crackers such as Finn Crisps, Ryvita or Dare Grains First. Doing so would only take a few extra seconds compared to grabbing one of these and is a whole lot healthier. Your best bet with Ritz Crackerfuls is to save them as a once-in-a-while treat. I was unable to find them at my local store but would imagine they cost in $3.00-$5.00 range. There are five sandwiches per box.

Nutritional Information

Per serving (28g or one package)

130 calories

3g protein

14g carbohydrate

2g fibre

170mg sodium


Read More Tags: Tips
Posted on Wednesday, 30 October 2013, 10:00 AM

I’ve been called a part-pooper by some for suggesting that instead of candy why not give out non-food items tomorrow night. I see it two ways: 1) kids will already get enough candy and 2) these items will last longer than the few seconds of joy you’ll get chewing on a bite-sized chocolate bar. This list is also useful for kids who have food allergies.

1)      Temporary tattoos

2)      Pencils, pens, crayons, erasers

3)      Journals/notebooks

4)      Nerf balls, rubber balls, hacky-sacks

5)      Deck of playing cards

6)      Halloween-themed ink stamps

7)      Play Doh

8)      Halloween stickers

9)      Rubber or plastic bugs

10)   Mini flashlights or glow sticks


What are some other non-food treats that could be given out?

Happy Halloween!


Read More Tags: Tips
Posted on Tuesday, 22 October 2013, 8:30 AM

Meal planning is essential to healthy eating. Failing to plan can lead to last-minute (usually unhealthy) choices such as take out or frozen pizza. That’s why I’ve created the following to help you plan healthy, balanced meals. Simply pick an item from each list to create a meal that you can feel good about eating and serving to family and friends.


Choose one of:                        Next add one of:                     Don’t forget veggies!

salmon                                   sweet potato                             spinach

trout                                       quinoa                                     kale

haddock                                  brown rice                                 broccoli

cod                                         whole wheat pasta                     peppers

tilapia                                     whole grain bread                      cauliflower

tofu                                        potato                                      beets

lentils                                      corn                                         asparagus

chicken                                    barley                                      green beans

turkey                                     whole wheat tortilla                     snow peas

pork                                        whole wheat pita                        mushrooms

beef                                        bulgur                                      carrots

For a 300-400 calorie meal, choose 3-4 oz of any protein (left column) and 3-4 oz of any starch (middle column). Then add 4-8 oz of vegetables (right column).

For recipes ideas, I like the following sites:,,


Posted on Thursday, 17 October 2013, 8:20 AM

Here are some ideas for those with kids or who are in our Family Reset Program. Of course, adults can have these snacks, too!


1 oz soynuts and 0.5 oz unsweetened raisins

175g unflavoured Greek yogurt and fruit (can add tsp of honey for sweetness instead of fruit, depending on preference)

1-2 oz soy nut butter (e.g. Wowbutter) and whole-grain English muffin

½ cup cottage cheese and ½ cup pineapple

smoothie: ¾ cup unflavoured or sugar-free yogurt, fruit (e.g. banana, berries), ice or water

1 whole-grain pita and hummus

Ants on a log (celery sticks, peanut butter and raisins)

1 cup Kashi cereal (with or without milk)

1 hard boiled egg, salsa, 1 slice whole grain toast

Snap peas and hummus

Bean dip and whole-grain crackers

Apple and 1-2 oz soy nut butter

Fruit kabob (melon, watermelon, banana, cheese (Babybel works great!)

Home made protein bars (recipe).

Whole grain crackers and 1 oz cheddar cheese

¼ cup roasted sesame seeds and ½ cup berries

Note: You can replace soy nuts, Wowbutter with peanuts, almonds, peanut butter, etc… at locations where they are safe/allowed to be consumed (e.g. at home).