Tag Archives: nutrition

Making over Summer Calorie Bombs

19 Jun


Summer is here…and with that comes a lot of events, gathering and traditions revolving around food! More often than not that food is not very healthy – but with a few small changes it could be healthier!

This post is going to hopefully help you defer some common summer calorie bombs by replacing them with healthier versions!



A summer classic for sure, but if you are not careful hamburgers can be huge calorie bombs. They can be loaded with bad fat, pre-made patties are often high in sodium, condiments like ketchup are made with sugar and a white bun is just no good for you!  To give your hamburger a healthy makeover, opt for lean means like ground chicken or turkey for your patty. Make your own patties using healthy ingredients (include diced up veggies!) and minimal salt. Instead of a bun use a leafy green, Portobello mushrooms or eat it naked! If you really want a bun, go for a whole grain one, and you can even just have one bun on the bottom. For your sides go for grilled veggies, corn with no butter, salad with a light homemade dressing or sweet potato fries!



On a hot summers day you may turn to a popsicle or freezy to beat the heat…the problem is they are both pretty much just made from sugar. Instead, make your own popsicles by blending a smoothie, pouring it into a popsicle or ice cube tray and freezing it. Looking for something cold , quenching and sweet? Opt for a homemade fruit salad!

Movie Popcorn


Summer is the season when all the best movies come to theatres. We love popcorn, and movie popcorn is especially delicious, but it is loaded with calories! If you are going to a movie theatre let’s be realistic, there aren’t any healthy alternatives. So you pretty much have two healthier options: you either you pack a few healthy snacks and sneak them into the theatre…or you order a small popcorn with no butter! I know the large gets free refills and that’s extremely tempting, but by choosing a small it helps ensure you won’t be eating mindlessly, you will probably eat more slowly and the small size and absence of butter will drastically decrease the amount of calories.

Chips and Dip

Chips and Dip

You’re at a BBQ and are looking for a quick pre-BBQ snack for guests. You probably automatically think chips and dip. Obviously, chips are processed and most are fried, so they aren’t a healthy choice. Typical dips you buy in a grocery store are made with cheese, sour cream or mayo…aka bad fat! Instead, buy or prepare an assorted veggie platter.


And for the dip, chose a hummus (there are so many great kinds!), or if you want a creamy dip make your own using 0% greek yogurt as the base and add fresh herbs and lemon juice to it.

Fruity Cocktails and Ice Cold Beer


With summer comes summer cocktails and ice cold beer. Most of these types of cocktails are pretty much made up of alcohol and sugar which means they are extremely high in calories. So, if you are planning to enjoy a cocktail, make your own and be smart about the ingredients. Use less alcohol, with and choose ingredients with less  or no artificial sugar.  Instead of having 3 or 4, take your time and enjoy 1. After you have finished the one, switch to something else like spring or sparkling water.

Drinking a 2-4 of beer will not only get you hammered it will ruin your waistline. This summer instead of pounding back the beers why not try a different approach…have one or two! As beer is high in calories, go for a lower calorie of light beer. And who cares if your friends chirp you! You will have the last laugh when they are walking around with huge beer bellies and you are rocking 6-pack abs! 😉



If you are at a cottage or going camping, you will probably stop to pick up three things, graham crackers, milk chocolate and marshmallows. S’mores are a classic treat to enjoy while sitting around a camp fire. If you are looking for a healthier version here’s what we suggest…Marshmallows are sweet, which makes sense because they are pretty much just made of sugar. Out of all the components of a s’more, this is the one you want to throw out the window. Instead, go for a slice of pineapple (stay with us!). Slice up the pineapple and roast a slice over the coals of your camp fire. Then put a square of dark chocolate on one graham cracker and place the grilled pineapple on top of the chocolate. Voila – a healthier version of a s’more! And if you don’t like pineapple try another fruit like a banana- they go great with chocolate!

Summer is an awesome time of year when so many memories coming from being with family and friends are built. Of course you are going to indulge here and there over the summer – and that’s okay. Our goal with this post was to show you that there are healthier versions of summer classics that are just as tasty! If you are going to enjoy a summer classic and you know it’s a calorie bomb – watch your portions and maybe add a little something extra to your workout the next day ;).

S & L


Pasta Noodle Alternatives

10 May


Pasta is normally a fan favorite…the problem is the noodles people normally select are made from refined white flour…which as we have talked about in previous posts, is not ideal. There are so many healthy alternatives out there, so don’t be afraid to step outside your comfort zone and try some of them out!

We understand at first it may seem like a big change to make, but it’s really not. By staying away from white noodles and using one of the alternatives listed below you will be doing your body a favor. Yes – it will taste different, but stick with it, we promise it’s worth it!

Whole Wheat Noodles


This is an easy jump to make. Instead of white pasta noodles, buy whole wheat. They are right next to your precious white noodles and they have the same texture and only a slightly different taste- so no excuses! Typically, by making this small change you will be getting 3x more fiber!

Spaghetti Squash


This is our go to noodle – we love it! You can buy spaghetti squash at most grocery stores. Then all you do is bake it (you can also steam or microwave it), take out the seeds and scrape it out with a fork. It comes out just like noodles! It’s a great alternative to those crappy white noodles as it contains nutrients such as folic acid, vitamin A, beta carotene and potassium. It is also low in calories.



If you are feeling particularly adventurous why not make zucchini noodles? All you need are zucchinis and a mandolin slicer or julienne peeler. Slice the zucchini into long strips and you have just made yourself a healthy base for your pasta dish. Cook them in a pan with a bit of extra virgin olive oil for a couple minutes until they lose their crispiness. You can also add spices to them to add some extra flavour.



If you are making lasagna, eggplant is a great to use as your “noodle”. Eggplant is also low in calories, and it contains fiber and antioxidants.

Shirataki Noodles


To be honest with you, we have never tried these noodles- but we have heard good things. They are an Asian noodle made from a plant. They are almost completely fiber and hardly have any carbs or calories. You may have to hunt for these – but the hunt will be worth it. We suggested starting with Asian grocery stores first.

Some of these alternatives may taste bland on their own, but if you make a good, flavourful sauce (loaded with veggies of course J) we are sure you will enjoy these pasta noodles alternatives!

S & L

Fueling Your Body When Training For a Race

9 May


I am currently in the process of training for my first ever sprint triathlon, as well as a 200km bike ride so I am finding that what I am putting in my body is more important than ever. I have been doing research to learn more about how to properly fuel my body to ensure optimal training. Seeing as though it is the race season- I thought some of you may be interested in learning more about fueling your body as well!

I love the term “fuel” when discussing this topic- it is such an accurate description! Just like a car, you want to ensure that you have enough gas in the tank to make it run and that you have the right quality gas depending on the performance you are looking for.

When you are training for anything physical, what you are putting into your body before and after your training sessions is extremely important. It will dictate your energy levels, performance and results! It’s not just about what you put in your body- but the timing, combination and consistency of foods you eat that can influence your energy levels.

There is a lot of complex information out there which can get confusing. My goal in this post is to simplify it and give you the information I feel is the most important.



Consistency is something we have written a lot about. In order to have lasting energy it is important to eat consistently throughout the day. A general rule of thumb is 5-6 times a day- 3 healthy meals and 2-3 healthy snacks. This is something people should be doing all the time- not only when training. By eating this way you are ensuring that your body can maintain energy throughout the day.  You can see why this would be especially important when training – if you aren’t eating consistently throughout the day, you aren’t giving your body the fuel it needs to get through your workouts effectively.



You know the saying “timing is everything”? Well, that rings true when talking about fueling your body. When you eat becomes extremely important. You are eating every 2-3 hours throughout the day-check- but how long before and after your training sessions should you wait before eating? This can depend on when you are working out. For example, Monday-Friday I wake up early, and workout…because I am up so early, it doesn’t make sense for me to try and eat something right before. However, if you are working out in the evening, then you have the time to have a pre-workout meal. The main thing is you want to ensure that you are giving your body time to digest the food- the less time you have, the lighter the meal, the more time you have the heavier the meal. Not only is important to eat before you exercise, it is also important to eat right after. A general rule of thumb is to eat 30 minutes after a workout-even if it’s just a snack. This will help your muscles recover more quickly.

Type of Food

So you know when to eat- but what should you be eating to get the most out of your training sessions as possible? This is important because you want to be sure you are giving your body the right kind of fuel it needs to perform and recover.



Your body needs protein to help your muscles recover and get stronger. When you train, your muscles work hard, and get broken down. Protein helps rebuild your muscles so that they are stronger. Try having a serving of (healthy) protein at every meal-but especially after a workout.



Carbs provide glycogen to your muscles, which get stored in your muscles and are used during exercise. Carbohydrates are one of the major sources of energy when training. If your body runs out of stored energy, you will “bonk” – which means you’ll lose your ability to perform athletically and you’ll will feel empty and void of energy – you don’t want this to happen!!

It is important to consume carbs before your workout (2-3 hours) to fuel your body, and after your workout (within first 30 minutes) to help recover and refuel your body.

Some elite endurance athletes carbo-load before a race or competition.  Carbohydrate loading is when you increase the amount of glycogen that is stored in the muscles of your body. To do this, athletes consume a higher amount of carbs, and decrease their training the week before a competition. If done properly, it can help improve performance. However, improper “carbo-loading” can lead to serious problems, as demonstrated by Michael Scott in “The Office.

And of course, Don’t forget to drink lots, and lots of water! When you are training- you are sweating –and when you are sweating – you are losing precious water from your body!

So now you know what to eat, but there are a few what not to eat items I should mention. Before training or a race, try and avoid high fiber foods as they may cause stomach pains during exercise – you do however want to consume them at other times during the day. You also want to stay away from sugar foods less than an hour before training because they will only give you quick energy which won’t last through your training session/race. Lastly, you want to avoid foods that are high in dietary fat (like eggs and cheese) pre-workout because they take longer to digest so they may make you feel sluggish if you eat too much.



Combination is important factor when fueling your body. What I mean by this is you need to try and ensure you are having complete meals – if your dinner is just a chicken breast is that a complete meal? Hopefully you all answered no! The best way to keep your energy levels stable is to combine high quality carbs, lean protein and healthy fat. So, for example a chicken breast baked in extra virgin olive oil and spices, a side of quinoa salad loaded with vegetables and a baked sweet potato.

So as you can see, fueling your body probably is really important. It will not only give you more energy throughout the day, it will help with your performance and recovery!

Stay tuned for follow up posts where we will give you examples of good pre and post training meals as well what to eat on race day!

Good luck with your training!


Paleo 101

3 May


My cousin was in Ottawa for Easter and while he was here I learned that he has been eating Paleo. I had heard a lot about it, and knew a bit, but I guess having someone in the family follow it peaked my interest. So this post is going to serve as Paleo 101!

You may have heard of it referred to as the “cave man diet”- that is because when following this eating plan you eat wholesome foods that mimic what our hunter gather ancestors ate.


Here are the 7 fundamentals of the Paleo diet:

  • Higher protein intake
  • Lower carb intake & glycemic index
  • Higher fiber intake
  • Moderate to higher fat intake (monosaturated and polysaturated fats)
  • Higher potassium and lower sodium intake
  • Net dietary alkaline load that balances dietary acid
  • Higher intake of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and plant phytochemicals

So, if you want to follow a Paleo diet-what do you eat? And what do you stay away from?

What you can eat:


  • Grass-produced meats
  • Fish/seafood
  • Fresh fruits and veggies
  • Eggs
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Healthful oils (Olive, walnut, flaxseed, macadamia, avocado, coconut)

What to stay away from:

  • Cereal grains
  • Legumes (including peanuts)
  • Dairy
  • Refined sugar
  • Potatoes
  • Processed foods
  • Salt

The idea behind it is that our bodies are genetically programmed to eat like our hunter gather ancestors. It is believed that by following this kind of eating plan you will be optimizing your overall health, decreasing your risk for chronic disease and it can also help you lose weight.

So there you have it, Paleo 101! A very basic breakdown- but hopefully it gave you a nice introduction. Stay tuned for some good Paleo recipes!


What are Superfoods???

25 Apr


The word “superfood” is used a lot and I am sure you all can name of a few “superfoods”. But what I have just come to realize is no one ever really explains what “superfood” really means. If I eat a superfood will I suddenly turn into Wonder Woman? Will I add on 50 years to my life? Will I never get sick again? Unfortunately, the answers are no, no and no L. But foods that are categorized as superfoods are for good reasons!

In a nut shell, superfoods are nutrient dense or contain bioactive components that have proven health benefits. By consuming them regularly you will most definitely help ward off disease and you will be improving your overall health- but they are not the cure to Cancer.


There is a huge range in what is considered a superfood – from chia seeds, to salmon to blueberries. The majority of superfoods are fruits and vegetables. That’s because they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber which have been proven to improve health.

Now one thing I want to mention is just because a food is labeled a “superfood” doesn’t mean you can eat an excess amount of it. For example, many nuts are considered superfoods but they are high in (good) fat and calories- although they have tons of health benefits, you don’t want to overdo it on the trail mix because you will be quickly racking up your daily calorie intake.

Clean Eating

22 Apr


A couple weeks ago after passing up a slice of cake at work I was once again asked the question “well, what do you eat then??”. It seems that since we often pass up sweets and treats people think we don’t eat anything “good”, or that because we eat healthy all our food is bland and we are missing out. These are two huge misconceptions about clean eating!  Clean eating is centred around eating good foods- it’s just that our definition of good, and others may differ J. For example some people consider cookies “good food” where as for me bake sweet potatoes with cinnamon is “good food”- and that’s okay! We don’t expect for our thoughts and practices to always align with other peoples, and we don’t expect other peoples to align with ours.

We often get questions or comments about the way we eat-so we thought it was probably time to do a post that outlines some clean eating principles. You have probably heard the terms “clean eating” or “eating clean” used a lot lately- we like to use these terms because they best encompass the way we like to eat.

Before we get to the good stuff, it is important to note that clean eating  is not a “diet”-it’s merely an approach to eating that improves health and maximizes energy. It fits into a broader healthy lifestyle.  Unlike a “diet” that has strict rules, it has flexibility so it can be adapted to fit into your routine.

Here are some of the main principles when following this type of eating approach.

1.      Go for whole foods-not processed


A good way to make sure you are choosing whole foods is to try and stick to a 1 ingredient food “rule”.  How many ingredients are in sweet potatoes? Blueberries? Salmon? 1!! Easy enough right? You want to stick to whole foods and stay far away from processed ones. What’s an easy way to spot processed foods?? Well the majority (because there are always exceptions!) of foods that come in a bag, box, can or any other sort of package are processed.

2.      Beware of bad fat, salt and sugar


If you follow #1, this one will be a breeze! Most processed foods contain one or all of these- so by cutting out/limiting your intake of processed foods, you want have to worry about this.

 3.      Unrefined over refined


You want to be choosing unrefined foods over refined foods as often as possible. For example brown rice over white rice and whole grain noodles over white noodles.  White sugar is an example of a refined food- instead for honey, maple syrup or agave nector.

4.      Eat throughout the day


Most clean eating guidelines suggest eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day. So if you break it down: breakfast, snack 1, lunch (biggest meal), snack 2, dinner, snack 3 (optional). Some of the benefits of eating this way are that it helps regulate your blood sugar which in turn gives you steady energy throughout the day, and it also helps prevent you from skipping meals or overeating.

5.      Protein, Carbs and Good Fat at Every Meal


All three of these things are really important for different reasons. You want to try and have all three included in every meal and snack you eat –  but we fully understand that it is easier said than done. Protein especially can be hard to include at every meal. The important thing is to be aware of its benefits (builds muscle, can help curb your appetite) and try and space out your protein intake. For example, maybe you eat protein during each meal, but not always as a part of each snack.

6.      Steer Clear of Liquid Calories


A good way to do this is to drink lots of water and avoid pop, juice, alcohol and coffee (*if you take it with cream, milk and/or sugar).  If you are looking for a hot beverage, opt for unsweetened tea.

7.      Physical Activity


Now you may be thinking this one is out of place since it has nothing to do with eating – but for us eating clean and exercising go hand in hand (or at least they should!). Both are important! Partaking in regular physical activity has so many benefits: it decreases fat, builds muscle, keeps your heart strong, keeps your bones strong, makes daily activities easier- the list could go on and on.

In a nutshell, those are some of the main clean eating principles. So now the next time people ask us how we eat, I guess we can direct them here ! As we have mentioned, these are simply guidelines- so you can fit them into your life (or not) whichever way you want. But obviously to see all the benefits of clean eating, you want to follow these guidelines pretty closing.


*if you want more info on eating clean, we recommend Tosca Renos “Clean Eating” book! You can find it in most book stores, or on Amazon. She has since written follow up books as well as cookbooks.

The worst foods parents feed their kids

21 Mar


We are not parents-but we have both worked with children and therefore seen the type of food that gets sent with them to school in their lunch boxes. It makes us so sad to see children overweight or obese because they are not the ones going to the grocery store and buying the food, they are not the ones preparing the meals and they are not the ones aware of the consequences of living an unhealthy, inactive life.

There are obvious healthy foods (like fruits and vegetables) and there are also obvious unhealthy foods (like a Big Mac and fries). From what we have seen and experienced, it seems that sometimes part of the problem is that people think certain foods are healthy (or healthier than they actually are), but in reality they have little to no actual nutritional value. So, for this post we have put our heads together and come up with our own list of some of the worst, most unhealthy, foods we have seen parents feed their kids for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

For Breakfast….

Sugary Breakfast Cereals


Wow! That box of cereal has now has twice as much fiber! It must be healthy right? Wrong. So many kids cereals advertise how they have tons of vitamins and minerals…but the truth is because they contain so much sugar and other processed ingredients the little nutritional value they do offer is squashed. We know that kids love cereal, and we also know that getting kids up in the morning, dressed, fed and out the door on time can be challenge. So, if you are sticking with cereal, try and pick the healthiest ones out of the bunch. Read the nutritional labels to see how much fiber is really in that cereal, because “twice as much” when there was very little to begin with doesn’t count for much. Try and pick ones with at least 3 grams of fiber and very little sugar. Another great quick, easy and healthy option is oatmeal. You can buy plain oats, toss them in a bowl with cinnamon, flax seeds, berries and nuts and add hot water.

Frozen Waffles


Foods like frozen waffles are filled with preservatives to allow the product to be stored for a veeerrryyy long time. The fact that you can keep a box of ego waffles in your freezer for over a year should be a good indication that there are things in there that shouldn’t go in your child’s body. They are also loaded with sugar and other chemicals. But it’s not just about what’s already in your frozen waffles-you also need to consider that sugary syrup you are letting your kids drench them with. As an alternative, we recommend making homemade pancakes instead. You can choose healthier ingredients, and instead of the sugary syrup, let your kids choose from different berries as a healthy topping.

Packaged “Breakfast” Pastries


Breakfast pastries like Toaster Strudels and Pop Tarts may be a crowd pleaser in your home, but if you are feeding them to your kids for breakfast, you may as well go to Timmies and buy them a donut. If your children enjoy baked goods for breakfast there are many better, healthier options. For example, on the weekend make a batch of healthy muffins using ingredients like oats, whole grain or almond flour, egg whites, apple sauce, ground flax seed and berries (to name a few!). If you want to add sweetness, ditch the white sugar and replace it with honey or organic maple syrup (sorry, no Aunt Jemima). You can make a dozen and keep them in the freezer as a quick and healthy breakfast option-your kids never even need to know they are good for them!

For Lunch …

Pre-Packaged Lunches


(doesn’t this look delicious?…)

You know what we mean by pre-packaged lunches right? The kits that come with processed meat, cheese and crackers? Now they even have make your own pizzas.  In all honesty, these types of lunches disgust us, and we can’t imagine why so many parents think this is a good option to send their kids to school with –other than the fact they just have to take it from the fridge and put it in a lunch bag…Everything in them is processed, they are high in fat, sodium and low in fiber, vitamins and minerals. You are better off giving your kids real food!

Sandwiches on White Bread


We have written before about why white bread is no good, but to sum it up-it has no nutritional value. Now throw in some processed meat, mayo and pre-sliced cheese and you’ve just made your kid an unhealthy, nutritionally deficient lunch. Don’t get us wrong, sandwiches are a great lunch option, especially for kids. But there are good things to use when making them and bad things. Some good things are whole grain bread, wraps or pita for fiber, vegetables like spinach, tomatoes and cucumber for vitamins and minerals and hummus or grilled chicken for protein.

Juice Boxes


These fruit juices may seem like a healthy option to give to children, but the reality is that they are packed with sugar and most of them lack fiber and vitamins since they don’t really contain much real juice. An alternative is to either blend up real fruits (mixed with 0% greek yogurt, ice and water) to make a smoothie, or send your kids to school with a bottle of water instead.

As Snacks…

“Fruit” Snacks


These types of snacks seem to be quite popular, but in reality they are pretty much candy masked as a health food. Chances are they don’t even contain and real fruit…a better option is to feed your children actual fruit!

Granola Bars


Granola bars are another popular snack for kids, and are often mistaken for being a healthy food. Well, we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but store bought granola bars are not a healthy snack. They are loaded with sugar, and contain high fructose syrup and artificial dyes. That, plus the fact that most of them have ingredients like mini chocolate chips, marshmallows and candy. You may as well send your kids to school with a chocolate bar or a few cookies. If your kids enjoy granola bars, you can make them homemade ones with natural ingredients!



Although crackers are a quick snack (and some are advertised as being healthy), they are processed and filled with white flour, preservatives and unhealthy oils. Sure they will satisfy a child’s immediate hunger, but they will not leave them full. If your kids like to eat crunchy things, give them vegetables like carrots or broccoli as a snack instead. You can even throw in some hummus to use as a dip.

For Dinner…

Packaged Mac and Cheese


Kraft Dinners macaroni and cheese is often a fan favorite. We are not going to lie and say we have never enjoyed a bowl of KD, but that was when we were young and dumb! Now we know better J and would never put that crap in our bodies. Kids should never put KD in their bodies either.

First of all, KD is loaded with simple, refined carbs which offer no nutritional benefit. KD is also loaded with sodium to increase shelf life and is high in fat. Let’s take a second and think… what exactly is Kraft Dinner? Well, it’s processed and nutrition-less noodles, served with a bright orange, processed (and chemical filled) “cheese” sauce. The fact that KD is so bright that it looks like a radioactive substance should scare people away! Not to mention, when people prepare it they add in 2% milk and butter.

Frozen Dinners


Let’s expand this one to not only include typical frozen dinners, but frozen dinner foods like pizza, pogos, porgies, fries and anything else that fits the category. All of these types of frozen dinners are loaded with preservatives (that’s why they last so long!) and they are high in fat and sodium.


If you are feeding your kids these types of foods for dinner on a regular basis, you are setting them up for rapid weight gain and health problems. It is important not to forget that foods can be made in your own kitchen and don’t need to come out of a package. If you turn to these types of frozen meals out of convenience, then make dishes like soups, and sauces ahead of time and freeze them for quick and easy access.

Chicken Fingers/Nuggets


Frozen chicken fingers are often an easy fall back for parents – They are easy to make and can be served with pretty much anything. However, serving these overly-processed pieces of crap to kids has absolutely no nutritional value for them. Many times the meat in these nuggets is leftover and low in quality. Take Janes pub style chicken fingers.


These things are precooked and lathered in processed bread crumbs. They contain a number of dangerous ingredients including sugar and several processed additives. Janes chicken fingers are also loaded with fat (and not the good kind). One serving (3 strips) has nearly 25% of the recommended value for fat. Chicken fingers are also high in sodium to help increase flavour and to preserve them. Although they are easy, there are NO nutritional benefits to serving chicken fingers. In fact, because of their fat content and numerous unhealthy ingredients, frozen chicken nuggets and fingers should be avoided! Instead, make your own! Take a skinless, boneless chicken breast and bake it. If you want to add a “bread” crumb coating, cover the chicken with oats or almond flour, and use an egg white to make it stick.


Living a healthy and active lifestyle is not only for adults, it is important for people of all ages. We are firm believers that children should have good, positive role models when it comes to health and fitness so they grow up knowing the benefits of living a clean and active life. It doesn’t need to be a constant discussion in your house, but parents set the example, so shouldn’t that example be one that will teach them to live healthy and enjoy a high quality of life? By feeding kids the kind of junk we mentioned in today’s post, more damage is being done than good. We encourage parents (and non-parents!) to take a good look through their pantries, fridges and freezers and really think about what you are letting your children and yourself put into your bodies. There are so many reasons why ensuring kids are receiving proper nutrition is important, so stay tuned for a post dedicated to those reason!

S & L