Would you pay your kids to eat vegetables?

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It’s a good question. Would you? From those I’ve asked, it’s a mixed response. I’m more in the camp of get your kids to eat fruits and vegetables early in life, and don’t stop.


Every kid goes through a push back phase where they don’t like something, or maybe they never did. I hear parents say, “Jack used to love *insert veggie*, but he won’t go near it now.” time and time again. But why isn’t he eating it anymore? Because parents get push back, and they cave because it seems easier. In that moment, perhaps, but in the long term, it’s not.

A recent study reported the results of kids from 40 elementary schools who were given incentives to eat more fruits and vegetables. The results were that they did just that. Ate more. They doubled their intake in fact! And they found that the kids continued to eat more even after the study was finished. It was a short-term study, but it did show a positive outcome, even after two months. There was a decline after the incentive period finished, but an improvement nonetheless.

Do you already bribe your kids to finish what’s on their plate? How many times have you said, “Eat your veggies and you can have dessert!” Isn’t that an incentive to eat what you want them to? And for what–something sugary for desert? What’s better, a sweet treat or money? In the case of the study, they gave a token worth 25 cents to use at the school store, school carnival, or book fair. I think it depends on the personality of the kid. Some would be all over a sweet treat and those without a sweet tooth wouldn’t care.

I’m a firm believer that we must teach kids why they need to eat the foods you want them to. Yes, they get served healthy foods every day (or at least I hope they do), but why such a fuss when they would prefer to eat something else? Knowing that broccoli and spinach are good for their growing bones and help them stay strong when they run, jump off the playground at the park or fall off their bike, has an impact. Avoiding broken bones or injury shows that there’s a reason why those foods are offered. It takes the emotion out of eating and gives your persistence a reason. From age 3 onwards, kids have an understanding of reasoning, so make the most of it.

I’ve always put at least two vegetables on my kid’s dinner plates. That’s just how it is and they have to finish it. Even the ones that they don’t like so much, because it’s dinner. I don’t make anything different for different tastes, but at the same time, if there’s something that they really dislike, I won’t serve it regularly. I’ll give less. My kids have gone through phases of disliking all vegetables. So I put them in soups and add them to salads in smaller quantities (like peppers for instance). They are still getting the nutrients, but without the fuss and resistance.

There are kids out there that genuinely can’t eat some foods. I’ve seen it and helped parents work around it in a consultation about their picky eater. There are certain supplements encourage better eating by giving the body the nutrients needed to increase hunger and appetite. Tissue salts, Juice Plus, and Growth-Gen have consistently increased appetite in the pickiest of eaters. I recommend what’s specifically needed once I see a food diary of what’s being eaten. Deficient kids typically don’t eat well. Balancing the vitamins and minerals that are going in has consistently improved appetite and variety eaten. Reach out if you want to know more!

Back to the original question, would you pay your kids to eat vegetables? Have you? Will you?

Finger Foods. What’s safe and not safe for your baby?

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Some start with puree. Some jump right into chunks of food. Others are good with a bit of both. Every baby is that bit different that you need to follow their cues when it comes to food with texture. Concerns of safety are always top of mind, no matter what’s going into the mouth.

A new study calls into question, what exactly is a safe finger food? Some may not be, despite what the packaging says.

Before I get into that more, let’s look at the gag reflex:

Your baby’s gag reflex is there for a reason. To keep that ever important airway open, for, you know, air. If a round piece of food gets lodged in there, you’ll be practicing your first aid. No parent ever wants to put that training to use.

The gag reflex is a primitive reflex that will relax over time and as it’s challenged. Sometimes it’s a finger or toy that can make your baby gag, not just a food. It’s scary no matter when you hear or see it. If your baby is closer to 10 months of age and your baby is still gagging, I recommend making an appointment with an osteopath or pediatric chiropractor to look into it.

Funny baby with a knife and fork eating food

What’s safe?

Safe and nutritious finger foods are, I believe, natural. The kind that you cut up, steam or serve as is. Not from a package. Yes, some cereals are handy to have on hand (we love Nature’s Path Rice Puffs) but most packaged foods contain sugar, wheat, and preservatives. Really, not necessary for a baby. In fact, sugar reduces the effectiveness of the immune system for a period of hours, so do watch for sugar on the label of whatever you are offering.

In a recent study, researchers tested a handful of snacks that are marketed for babies. These products are in the “crawler” category meant for babies who don’t have teeth yet. They tested Cheerios, Gerber Graduates snacks: Fruit and Veggie Melts, Yogurt Melts, Fruit Picks (in diced apples and diced carrots), Lil’ Crunchies, Wagon Wheels, Arrowroot Cookies, and Puffed (stars).

Side note: why on earth is anyone giving their baby Wagon Wheels???

American researchers out of the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New York aren’t sure that all of the above meet their approval as their marketing or packaging recommends them for toothless babies using their gums to break down the food.

Their criteria were as follows:

  • Soft
  • Easy to swallow
  • Bite-sized or cut into small pieces

They had adults test the foods, as it’s not necessarily safe to have babies as test subjects. They tried them right out of the package as well as after being left out for an hour.

After their testing, the researchers found that only two of the nine passed the criteria. The carrot and apple pick ups. Cheerios, yogurt melts and  Lil’ Crunchies didn’t pass the initial test of softness but did soften quickly in the mouth, meaning that they remained on the recommended list.

Thankfully the Wagon Wheels and Arrowroot cookies were too large for one bite, so they are off the recommended list.

Side note. Again: I’m still dumbfounded that anyone is of the opinion that Wagon Wheels are an appropriate snack for a new eater!

Other than letting parents know what packaged foods are safe for babies with no teeth, there was an amendment made to the packaging of Gerber’s products and removed its “crawler” designation on these products.

What I recommend

istock_000008034281smallAnything that comes in a package has been processed in some way. Keeping to finger foods of fruits and vegetables offers a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and fiber. Everything that your growing baby needs. Sure, something like a raw baby carrot isn’t safe for you baby. It can be if it’s steamed until soft and cut in half, lengthwise. Steamed cauliflower, for instance, becomes a very soft serve that can be mashed with the tongue pressed to the roof of the mouth.

In the years that I’ve specialized in nutrition from tummy to toddler and taught thousands and thousands of parents what’s best to feed their baby, insisting on offering real food, has not changed. Even for those parents who aren’t sure where to start or are petrified of feeding their baby finger foods, knowing what’s in the food that you’re putting down on your baby’s high chair tray gives ease to the worry, and quite frankly, just makes sense.

New and Exciting!

This is for you–any parent who is embarking on starting solids with their baby. We at Sprout Right are thrilled to share with you, our launch of our New Eater program. This New Eater’s Club is the place to be for all baby starting and continuing their food adventure up to one year of age. This six-week online program will walk you step by step through starting solids; how, when, what, how much and answer all those burning questions that you have. You’ll also be able to ask more of your questions as you baby progresses with weekly check-in video calls, with Lianne, the founder and author of Sprout Right. Even if you’ve started on solids and your baby is ready for finger foods as above, there are six of 12 classes dedicated to chunky meals and finger foods for every stage of eating.

You can sign up for our upcoming free webinars by clicking on the time that works best for you. Click one of the following, Tuesday, Oct 4th at 8pm EST, Wednesday, Oct 5th at 10am or Wednesday, Oct 5th at 2pm EST (in case you’re trying to work around the nap schedule) about The Top 5 Things You Need to Know When Starting Solids.

What kind of food role model are you to your baby?

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According to a study out of Cornell University, your baby is able to pick up on subtle social cues of the family; parents or siblings, that help formulate their own eating habits. Oh, the pressure. How do you think you are doing with influencing your baby’s habits?

Some think that if you eat your treats and snacks away from your baby, or have your plate full of a sub-healthy meal, that it doesn’t affect her? Think again. The study says that although you are feeding your baby super healthy offerings if junk food is part of the family diet, they add that junk food they see you eating into their understanding of a healthy diet. You may feel good about what you’re feeding your baby, but this study says that you need to walk your talk to raise a truly healthy eater.

Is it all about what’s put in front of them?

Jack or Jill watches what you do all. the. time. Want what you use most–keys, phone, wallet, you know. And when it comes to food, what you have on your plate too.

Apparently, the more than 200 one year old’s that were studied, have the expectation that people will like the same foods unless they are from different social or cultural groups. How on earth did they come up with that? According to the study, they did.

What’s your understanding of healthy?

We are told by advertisers, marketers, media, doctors, friends and family what their perception of healthy food is. Advertisers and marketers are likely supporting their bottom line, rather than always having your best interest at heart (read this article in Time Magazine about How the Sugar Lobby Skewed Health Research). Everyone shares what they believe is best. Each Friday, just after 11:00am I join Jerry Agar on NewsTalk1010 Radio. We talk about new research, articles or newsworthy ideas that seem have all the answers for good health. Quite often, I contradict a study from previous weeks with a new research study, making both Jerry and listeners heads spin with confusion. Almost any topic that we speak about, my advice boils down to the same thing. Eat loads of vegetables and fruit, some carbs and balance with protein and fats. It’s not rocket science, complicated or difficult. Whole foods aren’t manufactured or found in the centre aisles of most supermarkets. I know you know. And I get that there are reasons why you don’t follow what’s really best.

A time of influence.

It’s not just that you have this new, clean and perfect baby that you want to do your very best by. So you buy organic food, read up on how to best feed them and keep them safe from choking hazards and then sit down with your plate of wings and fries. It would seem that it’s time to realize that you’re not doing anyone any good with a meal like that (and yes I get the whole moderation thing). You lead by example in every aspect of your baby’s life, and food is no different.

It’s time to up your game, walk your talk and follow through.

Welcome to the fun times of parenting and the ultimate game of monkey see-monkey do.

10 minutes to this Crumble

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I head to the local market every Wednesday to get as much local fruit and veggies as I can. Last week I bought some peaches and left them out to ripen a bit more. Sadly the fruit flies quadrupled in those 24 hours so I put them in the fridge to protect them and my sanity. After being away for the long weekend, I pulled them out this morning only to see that the majority had gone moldy.

It was either into the blender for a smoothie or whip up a crumble. I asked my girls what they’d prefer and they answered in unison “crumble please!”

It took me 10 minutes to prepare this peach crumble. Really. I cut up the peaches while they were making their lunch and then left it while I did the school run.


When I came back I quickly mixed up the oats, grass fed butter, switched out the walnuts for chia seeds and measured out the maple syrup.


Quick mash of the butter and stir and piled the crumble mixture on top of the peaches as I turned on the oven to pre-heat.


Thirty-five minutes later, it’s done. This may have been my breakfast. And lunch. Not much left for the girls after school.

Off to the market for more peaches… It’s your turn to create the below. Maybe make two!



Summer Fruit Crumble


3 cups      sliced fruit: apples, rhubarb, peaches, pears or a combination      750 mL

1 cup        blueberries or other berries (or more fruit above)                           250 mL

¼ cup       100% fruit juice                                                                                 50 mL

1 tsp         cinnamon                                                                                            5 mL

Crumble Topping:

1½ cups    rolled oats                                                                                       375 mL

¼ cup        maple syrup                                                                                     50 mL

¼ cup        sunflower seeds                                                                               50 mL

¼ cup        walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds or pecans                                   50 mL

¼ cup        unsalted butter                                                                                 50 mL

1 tsp          cinnamon                                                                                            5 mL


  1. In a bowl, toss the sliced fruit, blueberries, fruit juice, and cinnamon.
  2. In another bowl, mix the oats, syrup, sunflower seeds, walnuts, butter, and cinnamon. Rub between your fingers to create a soft, coarse crumble.Spoon the fruit mixture and its liquid into a pie plate.
  3. Top with the crumble mixture and bake in a 350ºF (180ºC) oven for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the fruit is fork tender and the filling is bubbling and thickened (can also be frozen before cooked). The top should be golden brown. Cool slightly on a wire rack before serving warm or at room temperature. Makes 6 to 8 servings.


Nutritional Information
Rich in vitamin C, fibre, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, trace minerals, and complex carbohydrates.

Are you inside or outside the lunch box?

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It’s that time of year again. When alarm clocks are set, clothes laid out for the morning, and lunch bags filled. I know, I know you don’t want to do it. Hiding under the duvet dreaming of long summer nights is much more fun, but it’s time.

I’m going to keep this short and sweet and share my top 5 tips and advice for making this back to school lunch thing a breeze. And then share some of the great ideas that you’ll find in the Smart Kids Breakfast and Lunch Meal Plan.

  1. Plan ahead. That doesn’t only mean to meal plan, which is a must, but also write down all the lunches that have been made for the first month of back to school. You’ll thank me when next February rolls around (or before!) and you’re fresh out of ideas. You can look back at when you had your best ideas and revitalize that lunch box.
  2. Get your kids involved. They’re the ones eating it, so they have a say in what’s going into that lunchbox. But there have to be boundaries. Must have a protein, some carbs, a veggie or two and fruit.
  3. Think outside the sandwich. Try wraps, mini pita and thin ‘burger’ buns to surround the amazing filling. Rice paper wraps are also a firm favourite. You can check out this video of my daughter making her own rice paper wraps.
  4. Go for leftovers. Never make just one meal. Double or triple recipes so that you have leftovers that can be repurposed for lunch. Pasta can go into a thermos. Chicken or fish can be added into a salad, quesadilla or frittata. Veggies can top a pizza or be eaten cold.
  5. Get good gear. For some lunch is fun and others it’s about eating and getting back out to play. A bento box or container with compartments makes the big reveal a lot of fun for some kids. Litterless or boomerang lunches are expected at most schools, so you’ve got a double win as you’ll see what’s not eaten and can discuss why and if the lack of eating it’s had an effect. A groovy lunch bag (I got my kids’ gear from ca) can make all the difference to some and of course, a water bottle that’s easy to open, keeps their drink cool and has a Mabel’s Label on it!

Here are some ideas to get your lunch juices flowing…

Wrap it up:

  • Tuna or salmon salad: mayonnaise and chopped cucumber or dill pickle
  • Grated cheese and grapes
  • Falafel, hummus and romaine lettuce

Skewer it:

  • Mozzarella, cherry tomato and a basil leaf
  • Watermelon, feta and a grape
  • Cheddar cheese, apple and red pepper

On the side:

  • Edamame
  • Seaweed krinkles
  • Celery stick filled with tahini and topped with raisins

Some kids like to make as they eat. Here’s one of my daughter’s favourites, lunchtime sushi. Send along the package of nori seaweed and pack veggie sticks with sticky brown rice and some protein like smoked salmon, tofu, egg or leftover chicken.

Make at school sushi 1

Rather than send the yogurt pots, make up a plain yogurt pot with some granola, fruit and maple syrup or honey.

Lunch with yogurt

What kid can’t pack a box like this? Hardboiled egg – protein, veggies, a pita or wrap if they want to make something at school and away they go.

Lunch with eggs

Whatever you do decide to pack, do involve your kid(s). This is a teaching moment and if we don’t talk about it, teach them and discuss what’s in their lunch, they won’t learn why there’s such a fuss.

Share your #BTSLunch with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!

This Nutritionist Needs Help

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People assume nutritionists are super healthy, that don’t suffer from any health issues and that they sail through the day eating healthy foods to fuel their boundless energy. Well… not in my case, at the moment.

Life happens to all of us, and over the past year or so I haven’t been looking after myself as well as usual. Working through the death of my mother earlier this year after a long fight with cancer, amongst other things, has certainly thrown off my nutrition game.

I still eat loads of veggies and fruit but sometimes they don’t sit right with me. I went through a time of eating smashed avocado and hard boiled egg on kamut toast, with sea salt and black pepper. I was addicted. However, it brought on an interesting symptom that I hadn’t seen before. My poo would float after each time I ate avocado. I started to notice the same thing when I ate other foods that contained fats too, even good fats.

My self- diagnosing-self went through a bit of a checklist. I regularly take probiotics, so I knew that it likely wasn’t to do with gut bacteria. I decided to book a treatment with my osteopath and see if there was anything she could do to find balance.

I found out that my poor gall bladder isn’t happy. At all. She touched it during the treatment and I almost ended up on the ceiling in pain. The gall bladder stores bile made by the liver, which helps digest fat. I wondered if my belly and poo issues could have something to do with both with my gall bladder and liver, and that I wasn’t digesting fat (reason for stools to float).

Orange Naturals Orange Naturals Productsapproached me to try out some of their products, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to have a thorough digestive protocol and see if my symptoms of feeling bloated at times, gassiness and stools floating would ease. I spoke with their in-house naturopath who helped with the products below to try out (I always test out products before I recommend them to clients).


Here’s some of what I found as I tried to sort myself out:

Food Intolerances

I first took the probiotic. The way I tell my clients NOT to. I took one capsule in the middle of the day and within a few hours felt like my belly was ready to explode. Although common when starting probiotics, it didn’t feel good. I thought I’d put the Food Intolerances homeopathic remedy to the test. It says it eases everything I was feeling. And it did. Fast. Note: I took three doses within half an hour.

Next, I tried out the Plant Digestive Enzymes. I often recommend enzymes when digestion is off, because it takes key vitamins and minerals to produce all the enzymes we need to digest protein, fats and carbs. Without them, we don’t break down the vital nutrients from our food and this creates a viscous circle of poor health. I took them with a few meals and had to think about how I was feeling because I wasn’t feeling anything. No belly pain, bloatedness and so on.

I then tried the probiotics again, but took it in the evening with dinner as I tell my clients to. Better this time.

I incorporated the other remedies including Gall Bladder and Digestion and have seen an improvement all around. Even an ease in symptoms has been a relief, and I know I need to deal with more of what’s going on with the help of my naturopath and continue to focus on myself to get back to a more healthy me.

MagPopAlthough I was asked to try the Mag Pop for my kids, I wanted to try the capsules of Magnesium Glycinate for myself. My kids LOVED the Mag Pop (magnesium with extra vit C and extra fizz when it’s mixed with water) worked well for my 12 year old who suffers with growing pains at night time. I took my magnesium capsules before bed, which I’ve done before but often ended up with loose stools in the morning. The glycinate form is more absorbable and doesn’t have the same effect as others. It certainly helped me sleep more soundly, and eased my post-exercise soreness as I eased back into running and doing an exercise DVD.

I feel like I’m getting back on track. It takes a while to not only find what the underlying cause of health issues are, but to also give myself the attention I need and the commitment to myself to eat well, sleep well and exercise regularly. Sounds easy but I know that you can relate when I say how easy it is to focus on everything and everyone else instead!

Onwards to a healthier me…


Full disclosure: I’ve been compensated by Orange Naturals monetarily and with product, however all experiences, findings and words are my own.



The Perfect Summer Burger

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The Perfect Summer Burger on Sprout Right

Are You a Burger Lover?

Anyone who knows me, has watched me on Sun News when it was still on air, or has heard me on the radio with Jerry Agar, knows I don’t eat burgers. The stereotypical unhealthy burger does nothing for me. The texture and rubberiness of it just doesn’t interest me. One of the last times I was on Sun News with Jerry Agar, I turned down a burger that the team brought to me, live on air. For some reason, many of the stories that I went on to speak with him about, involved McDonalds, Wendy’s, Burger King or other fast food joints. Not surprising, come to think of it, as they are known for constantly trying to improve the ‘healthiness’ of their menu items.

Well, fast forward a couple of years, many life changes and an introduction to the importance of vitamin K2 and grass fed beef. It peaked my interest in beef. This movement started years ago, with most hard and fast beef eaters saying that grass fed tastes strong and has a grassy flavour. I can’t speak from personal experience, but one might think that it should taste of grass because that’s what cows eat. Or should eat. These days most cows are fed a mixture of grain and corn. This is not their natural diet, so it has changed much of the health and nutrition of beef today.

The Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef

Grass-fed beef contains more vitamin K2 than conventionally raised beef. Vitamin K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin that is most important for the role it plays in blood clotting. It also helps build strong bones, and can help prevent heart attacks. Another important reason to eat grass-fed beef: it is almost 3x higher in Omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed cattle. Research suggests Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body and protect against chronic diseases like cancer, arthritis and heart disease. They also appear to be important for proper brain function. Learn more about the benefits of grass-fed beef.

My first try of grass fed beef was a steak from St James Town Steak and Chops. An incredibly tasty marinated piece of beef that I was told was beyond delicious. Being the foodie that I am, I tried it. I was shocked at just how tasty it was and was instantly hooked. I now eat a steak about once a month.
I decided to check out this butcher for myself, to learn the quality of their meat and what else they have on offer. Then I was introduced to their burgers: meat, seasoning, a finer grind and thickness to their burger … people from cottage country drive down to the city to get these for parties and gatherings. I get it now.

Not that I eat them often, but when I do, it’s got to be good, so this one fits the bill. I’ve taken them to friends, been to birthdays where they are served and the resounding feedback is, “these burgers are incredible. Where are they from?”

Other Burger Ideas

I’ve also had also had raving compliments about homemade burgers like this one, because they are packed with veggies and herbs which instantly amps up the flavour. I’ve only ever made burgers with ground turkey or chicken.

Of course for the vegetarians, the Bean Burger recipe in my book is a staple. I still eat them in rotation with beef. It is always good to change up the proteins.

What’s your take on grass fed? Have you joined in or still stuck on typical store bought frozen patties?

The Surprising Amount of Sugar in Summer Drinks

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It’s been hot and steamy all week long. While you may go for a cold glass of water to cool you down, most head in to their favourite coffee shop and choose a frozen version of the usual cuppa joe.

It’s a minefield out there when it comes to drinks. Most think smoothies are healthy, and some are (mostly those made at home in your own blender with you adding the ingredients). If you head to your local mall and order something like a Booster Juice, Orange Julius or similar, you’ll rack up your sugar in take in just the first few sips.

Health Canada suggests that women consume no more than 6 teaspoons or 25g of sugar in one day (total!), men about 10 tsp or 37.5g and children around 3-4 tsp or 20 grams. No more. That doesn’t include natural sugars from fruit, so you’re good there. With what we uncovered below, you can see just how easy it is to consume up to triple that with one order of your favourite icy drink.

Check out the numbers below so next time you have a hankering for something cold, you’ll make an informed decision. All drinks are large size or comparable millilitres to each other.

The Surprising Amount of Sugar in Summer Drinks

Tim Hortons

Iced Capp – 62 g of sugar or 15 1/2 teaspoons of sugar.

If you think you’ll opt for the large strawberry banana fruit smoothie with greek yogurt – you’ll consume a mere 13 teaspoons of sugar or 52g of sugar.


Frappuccino – 69 g of sugar or just over 17 teaspoons.
Caramel Frapp (without whipped cream) – 77g of sugar or just over 19 teaspoons.
Ice Brewed Coffee – 36g of sugar or 9 teaspoons.
Vanilla Bean Iced Creme (without whipped cream) – 71g of sugar or almost 18 teaspoons.

And again, if you think the strawberry banana smoothie will save the day, it has your days worth of sugar with 40g or 10 teaspoons of sugar.

Second Cup

Frozen White Hot Chocolate – 97g of sugar or just over 24 teaspoons.
Iced Moccaccino – 50g of sugar or 12 1/2 teaspoons.
Iced White Mocha – 49g or sugar or 12 teaspoons.

Well, choosing the Mango REAL fruit smoothie will have your poor pancreas in hyperdrive for hours. A whopping 136g of sugar or 34 teaspoons. Although second cup doesn’t have the ingredients online for me to comment, there is added Astro yogurt. And if you thought that was high, the Strawberry Real Fruit Smoothie has 154g or 38 1/2 teaspoons.

So now you know. How about some ideas of how to make homemade cool treats instead.

1. Always have ice cubes on hand. Fill up your trays, pop out ice cubes and store in a bag and keep refilling and storing.
2. Have frozen fruit in the freezer for quick smoothies with water or milk of choice and frozen fruit.
3. Find popsicle moulds and make up a bunch of different popsicles or check out the Zoku popsicles. Ideas and recipes here
4. Make homemade ice cream, frozen yogurt or just blend (or put in food processor) about four frozen bananas and a bit of milk for an instantly incredible frozen treat.
5. Make sun ice tea with your favourite fruity or chai tea bags. Fill a pitcher with water and add two to four teabags and let sit out in the sun for a few hours. Add ice cubes, honey or maple syrup to taste and enjoy.

What’s going to keep you cool?

How to Cope with the Rising Cost of Fresh Produce

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More than just the heat is on the rise for families in Canada and it may be affecting the way your family is eating. Have you noticed that your grocery bill is going up? And is it changing what you buy?

A study from the University of Guelph recently found that fresh produce prices went up almost 12% since last year. Weather in key growing communities is to blame. And unfortunately many families are coping with rising costs by buying less produce. This means fewer Canadians are getting 10 servings of fruit and vegetable a day as recommended by the Canadian Food Guide.

Other than reducing your intake of produce overall, like 26% of Canadians are, there are other strategies for increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables, but not breaking the bank with the high cost of groceries.

How to Cope with the Rising Cost of Produce

How to Cope with the Rising Cost of Produce

Buy frozen instead – You may have heard conflicting information about the nutritional value of frozen fruits and vegetables. It is in fact a great choice for getting the nutrients you need at a more affordable price. Frozen fruit and vegetable is picked close to ripeness and flash frozen. This process means the nutrients are preserved. To thaw, leave fruits and vegetables out on the counter or cook them from frozen. Avoid canned fruits and vegetables as cans can contain BPA.

Buy direct – Go straight to the source and find fresh in-season produce at your local farmer’s market, or through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Buying from the farmer means you cut out the middleman. This can reduce yoru cost, and give you access to fresher produce. You are also supporting work in your community, and by getting to know your local farmers you understand where your food comes from.

Buy bulk when fruits and vegetables are in-season – When a particular fruit or vegetable is in season it is often out in abundance and cheapest. Buy in bulk during this time and freeze, or preserve your excess. This will help you always have access to fruit and vegetables throughout the year. You can also visit a local farm for a u-pick program. By picking your own berries, for example, you can get large quantities of the fruit while saving due to your own labour.

Keep these tips in mind when you head to the grocery store. You’ll need them: prices are expected to go up by 4% this year. You can also shred excess costs by re-considering the treats you really don’t need – like juices, pops and potato chips. Just sayin’.

With information from this news segment.


Healthy Or Is It? – When “Healthy” Food Causes Weight Gain

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We all remember snack suggestions for low-fat foods that supposedly support weight loss – like rice cakes. There are even more foods that sound healthy, and that we might mistake for a good choice – think granola, trail mix, fruit juice and even brown bread. Even low-calorie foods are not necessarily the healthiest choice.

Weight loss experts have highlighted a few foods that seem to confuse those trying to lose weight and eat well. Did you know that brown bread isn’t healthier than white bread? Try whole grain bread instead.

Granola contains a lot of fat. Trail Mix can give you too much sugar (from dried fruit) and calories when consumed in large quantities, and fruit juice including orange juice offers too much sugar without the beneficial fibre. Really you are best to restrict your consumption of fruit juice (water it down if you do want to have some). Try mixed nuts and seeds rather than trail mix, and limit your intake to a small palmful.

So what foods can you eat in abundance? And how are you best to eat for weight loss?

Healthy, or is it? Sprout Right looks at healthy foods that might be causing weight gain

– Think about filling your plate with vegetables – raw or steamed. Try to reach for 10 servings of fruit and vegetables each day. Not sure how? Try our 10 A Day Healthy Eating Challenge.

– As a general rule, steer clear of processed food. Canned foods can expose you to BPA and often contain too much salt. Cookies, crackers and pre-mixed meals and side dishes contain too much sugar, salt and preservatives (and more). Foods in their healthiest state are those “closest to the earth.”

– Reach for whole grain and wheat-alternatives when choosing bread, pasta or side dishes. There are some delicious alternative grains: buckwheat (not actually wheat!), quinoa, and amaranth to name a few. Try bread made with spelt flour, or a mix of whole grains.

– Don’t shy away from fat. It helps transport nutrients to your bloodstream and cells, keeps you full for longer and provides vital energy. Coconut oil is especially effective for energy.

– Try to eat protein at each meal and snack. Protein will fill you up so you are less likely to reach for food soon after eating. It’s great fuel, and necessary for your body’s functioning, including muscle repair after a hard workout.

– Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is a great way to not only ensure continued health, but avoid thirst that may be mistaken for cravings.

– Avoid the temptations that come when you don’t know what to eat! Always plan your meals (and even snacks) ahead of time and bring healthy foods to snack on when you hit the road. Preparation is the key. Try one of our meal plans for inspiration. Our Family Meals ebook is a top-seller, and contains suppers you can make in 30 minutes or less.

Be wary of “diet” foods and product lines that promise you results. Try our strategies for eating well instead, and making lasting lifestyle changes that don’t rely on fads or gimmicks.