5 Types of Foods Runners Are Not Getting Enough Of

Being a Registered Dietitian and a runner with an addictive and competitive personality, it’s no surprise that I’ve spent hours looking into how a female runner can achieve optimal nutrition. Now I’m here to share my knowledge with you!

A Plant-Based Holiday: How To Make Your Favourite Holiday Dishes More Plant-Based

This blog post is in partnership with Becel Centre for Heart Health, although all opinions are my own.

The holidays are all about spending time with family and friends, along with indulging in good food and drink.

However, holidays can be stressful for those with different eating patterns or dietary restrictions. I know this feeling firsthand. It can also be difficult to create a selection that is enjoyed by both traditional omnivores, along with those who eat vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free.

Over the years I have developed some strategies that have helped reduce this stress for myself, along with others around me. Below, I will share my tips for how to create more plant-based holiday dishes, that can be enjoyed by both vegetarians and carnivores alike!



Tips To Make Your Favourite Holiday Dishes More Plant-Based


1) Re-create Traditions With Plant-Based Proteins

Use plant-based proteins, such as lentils or tofu to replace animal products of a similar texture. The ‘comfort factor’ of a number of traditional dishes can be maintained with a plant-based protein swap. Some of my favourite swaps include using lentils instead of ground beef in a Shepherd’s pie, tofu instead of eggs in a quiche and various beans in a ‘meatloaf’. I’ve witnessed first-hand a number of these dishes being enjoyed by family members who didn’t regularly eat plant-based!

2) Using Alternatives to Butter

Often holiday dishes are made with a lot of butter – especially those mashed potatoes that we all love! A great plant-based swap for butter is a non-hydrogenated margarine such as Becel Salt-Free products, which feature a blend of plant-based oils. A few of my family members need to watch their salt intake, and Becel Salt-Free is a great choice for reducing the sodium in their diets. I used Becel Salt-Free in the sweet potato mash in the plant-based shepherd’s pie featured below.

3) Feature A Variety of Vegetables Prepared Different Ways

Preparing a number of vegetables different ways, is a sure-fire way to ensure your guests will be eating a number of plants-based options. Along with salads, serve your favourite vegetables roasted, plan-seared and grilled. How about some grilled stuffed mushrooms, cauliflower steaks and baked root veggies? I will take one of each!


Featured Recipe: Vegetarian Shepherds Pie with Becel Salt-Free Margarine

Vegetarian Shepherds Pie

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 2 tbsp Becel Salt Free margarine
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 cups frozen veggies (corn, green beans and peas)
  • 2 cups of cooked, canned lentils
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat over to 425 degrees F.
  2. Peel and slice any large potatoes in half. Place in a large pot and fill with water until they’re just covered. Bring to a low boil on medium high heat. Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until they slide off a knife very easily.
  3. Once cooked, drain and then return to pot. Mash with a potato masher and add Becel Salt Free margarine. Set aside.
  4. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Once heated, add onion and garlic, until slightly browned (about 5 minutes).
  5. Once browned, add frozen veggies, along with 1/4 cup of water or veggie broth to saucepan. Heat until veggies are unfrozen. Add cooked lentils and thyme to saucepan for 1-2minutes, until flavours meld. Mash slightly with a potato masher to thicken.
  6. Transfer veggie and lentil mixture to lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Top with potato mash.
  7. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Broil on high for an addition 5 minutes, or until potatoes are browned.
  8. Let cool before serving.

I Struggled with My Eating: How Mindful Eating + Other Strategies Helped Me

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This post was developed in partnership with siggi’s Canada #ad. All opinions expressed are my own.

Have you ever struggled with your eating habits? I have. Especially when I was in University. Despite studying to become a Registered Dietitian, I felt like I didn’t have a handle on my own eating habits – I had tons of sugar cravings, my portions were consistently too big, and I didn’t seem to ever not be hungry. To me, this was shameful. How could I help others, when I felt like I was doing it all wrong myself?

I was so focused on getting the top grades, getting the work/volunteer experience, exercising regularly, all while still trying to maintain a social life/relationship/be a good human overall. I think I had a little bit too much on my plate at that time.

During my Masters degree, I stumbled across the concept of mindful eating.

Why hadn’t I heard of this before? At that time, I was the furthest thing from a mindful eater.  I was a stress eater. I was a distracted eater. I was a quick eater. I wasn’t eating the right things – and because of that I also wasn’t getting enough protein.

Keep reading to discover the strategies that I am working on now to address some of these problems.

Problem: I was a quick eater

Solution: I am still a quick eater…however there are a few ways that I try to slow down. These include:

  • Putting my fork/spoon down between bites
  • I talk and listen to others that I am dining with, without holding my utensil in my hand
  • I get up and take a break halfway through my meal, pausing to assess my fullness
  • I pay attention to the rate of my eating by timing myself occasionally – my goal is to spend 15-20 minutes on each meal.

Problem: I wasn’t always eating food with staying power

Solution: I look for food with only a few, simple, whole ingredients

In University I often ended up purchasing ‘low fat’ and processed food products. If I’m honest, at that time in my life diet culture was affecting me – even though I was in school to become a Registered Dietitian. The best example of this struggle is the yogurts I would purchase with artificial sweeteners, flavours, fillers, etc. These were never filling or satisfying. If only siggi’s yogurts were available then. siggi’s Skyr yogurts are super creamy, high in protein with not a lot of sugar. What’s best is that they’re made with 100% natural ingredients – all of the flavours and colours come exclusively from real fruit or the vanilla bean. Today, when I eat siggi’s I feel very satisfied – especially when I take the time to sit down at my table, eat slowly and enjoy every bite I take. These yogurts just taste like real, whole, delicious food. As someone who mostly maintains a plant-based diet, the protein punch siggi’s yogurts pack is especially important to me.

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Problem: I was a distracted eater, always eating on the go

Solution: I’ve made a commitment to only eating when I am at a table

Eating in the car? Yes that was me.

Eating in front of a screen? All the time.

I’ve discovered that eating with distractions, such as the TV, computer, or eating in the car, prevented me from checking in with my hunger and fullness cues.

Now, I’ve made one simple rule that I have to go by: Eat Only At A Table. This is a super rule to prevent distractions. Ultimately, this rule helps me to check in with my body while eating so I can recognize these cues more easily.

Problem: I ate for mouth hunger often

Solution: I check in to see what type of hunger I’m experiencing

One of my favourite strategies to use with clients is called “Is it Stomach, Mouth or Heart Hunger?” I teach my clients to identify the type of hunger they just experienced, after eating. They are as follows:

Stomach Hunger – true hunger. You haven’t eaten for 5-6 hours.

Mouth Hunger – wanting the physical pleasure of food.

Heart Hunger – eating for how you’re feeling mentally and emotionally.

I experienced, and still experience a lot of mouth hunger and some heart hunger. When I’m anxious, I want to be chewing on something, or sipping on something. It has been helpful for me to check in and ask myself what type of hunger I’m experiencing and have strategies to combat these types of hunger on hand. For example, I always keep gum or tea bags on me to satisfy mouth hunger.

Although I felt shameful for struggling with my eating habits while learning to help others with theirs, ultimately my own battle helped me connect with others better. I was never a perfect eater – and never will be! But at least I know what you are going through and I know how to help.