Getting the biggest nutritional bang for your buck
All human bodies require nutrients to function and create health. It’s a complicated array of vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins and carbohydrates — all best delivered to the body in the form of food. Yet, according to registered dietician Haley Ewing, RD, not everyone has an easy time getting all those required elements from nutritious food. In an effort to help food shoppers get the best nutritional bang for their buck, Ewing offered five tips: 1. EMBRACE FROZEN AND CANNED Frozen and canned vegetables, fruits and fish, for example, are full of nutrients. “It is nice to be able to eat the fresh,” explained Ewing during a recent interview, “but, I always say it is better to rely on those convenient foods (frozen and canned) and eat something. “When we feel like the fresh options are so far away … we don’t end up eating any of them. We are missing out on the nutrients altogether because we think that fresh is the gold standard. Frozen is a really good option.” Canned fruits and vegetables also deliver nutrition but “canned goods can also include added sugar and sodium,” Ewing noted. “Try to get the ‘no-salt, no-sugar added’ or ‘low-salt’ varieties.” Embracing frozen and canned vegetables and fruits can also reduce waste, allow control of portion size and it’s a lot less work, Ewing pointed out. Not having to wash, cut and find storage solutions for the produce. 2. THINK PLAN-OVERS “Instead of thinking of extra food as ‘leftovers,’ think of it as ‘plan-overs,’” Ewing encouraged. Consider protein. “It’s rare you can find one chicken breast to buy. So, if you are cooking up the whole package, use the cooked chicken to make three meals. This could look like chicken and vegetables for supper, a chicken sandwich for lunch the next day and then maybe a chicken stir-fry for supper that night.” Some kind of overall eating plan helps people feel more in control of their nutritional intake, according to Ewing, and at the same time eliminates waste and saves money. 3. FREEZE Popping extras into the freezer is always a good idea. Whether in a bag or container, Ewing suggested trying to remove the air to avoid early-onset freezer burn. If food does get freezer burned, Ewing added, the safe course of action is to send it to the green bin. 4. CHOOSE COLOUR When considering which fruits and vegetables to buy, consider colour. Green leafy vegetables deliver iron and calcium. Red or purple foods contain antioxidants — as does the white of cauliflower. Orange packs vitamin A. Purchasing a bell pepper pack comprised of a green, red and orange pepper ensures a variety of tastes and nutrients. There are also double-duty veggies that provide more than one colour. Swiss chard, offered Ewing, has green leaves and red stems. 5. TOP UP THE PANTRY Along with canned fruits and vegetables, add some protein options. For example, top up the pantry with canned tuna, peanut butter and lentils. For fibre, think about cereals, oats and flaxseed. The latter reveals little taste and crushed may be sprinkled on almost anything. SERVICES Ewing works in-person and on-line, out of several Superstores, including the Bridgewater and Liverpool locations. Whether oneon-one or in a small group, Ewing said her clients are often looking to eat better, or manage chronic conditions including heart health, diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Steeped in the belief that the weight of a body does not in itself determine the body’s health status, Ewing said she provides a “weight neutral or weight inclusive” environment for her clients. The focus is on delivering nutrition. Ewing will hold classes at the Bridgewater location through October for adults and for children. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to contact registered dietician Hayley Ewing.