Perfectly Roasted Chickpeas

Perfectly Roasted Chickpeas

Roasted chickpeas are a great plant-based option to include in your diet and they are so versatile (e.g., throw on salad or in a wrap, serve as an appetizer or snack, use as croutons in soup, or add as a topper on hummus). You can also play with many flavour combinations to suit your own taste - sweet (e.g., honey & cinnamon), salty (e.g., simple salt & pepper) or savoury (e.g., paprika, cayenne). Chickpeas are also a great option because of their nutritional benefits.

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5 Shortcuts to Eating Healthy Weeknight Meals

As people who work in the nutrition field, it’s often expected that we are the perfect models for healthy eating. While we try our best, the struggle is real for us as well! Yes, we are more invested in food and nutrition and have the education to back up our dietary choices; however, juggling all of our responsibilities can make it hard to stay on track. Although we consider our eating habits to be generally healthy, there is always room for improvement. We also make sure not to beat ourselves up for when we fall off track. We eat on the run, buy take out or consume processed foods, and sometimes, we are not in the mood to cook and our kitchens are not perfectly organized. 

Here are our top 5 shortcuts to eating healthy when the calendar is packed: 

1. Keep your kitchen stocked with the basics

This way you can whip up meals in a pinch. We like to keep our cupboard and freezers stocked with items such as canned goods (e.g., veggie/chicken stock, canned tomatoes/sauce, tuna, beans), spices and garlic, dry goods (e.g., pasta, lentils), frozen foods (e.g., shrimp, chicken breasts, vegetables), and fridge staples (e.g., milk, eggs). When buying canned goods, be mindful of the sodium. Look for items with less than 15% daily value of sodium on the nutrition label. 

2. Don’t make things complicated in the kitchen.

The key is to use simple ingredients, particularly during the week. Skip the recipes that call for a long list of ingredients or preparation steps. If you feel like being adventurous, save it for the weekend when you have time to deal with complication. Even the simplest recipes can be delicious, so don’t feel like you need to sacrifice flavour by keeping it simple. Remember, bagged salads are just as good as cutting up your own veggies, and those grocery store rotisserie chickens are much faster than roasting your own (just remove the skin to cut out unneeded fat and salt!).  

3. Bigger is better. Batch cook.

Our favourite appliances in the kitchen are the slow cooker and the soup pot! You can make large meals that will give you leftovers for days or freeze to pull out on those week nights when you really don’t have any time to cook dinner or prepare lunch.  Choose foods that work well as leftovers (e.g., a roasted whole chicken provides various options for leftovers and the bones can be used to make chicken stock). 

Take advantage of the few minutes you are usually on Instagram in the evening before getting ready for bed. Instead of scrolling over the pictures you've already seen, take 10 minutes to prep a recipe in your slow cooker for the next day. There is seriously nothing better than walking into the house at night to the smell of dinner. Your future self will thank you. 

4. Who says eggs can only be eaten at breakfast?

There are no hard or fast rules about what you can eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. We are huge fans of eating breakfast for dinner! It’s an easy meal to make and delicious. Eggs are one of the few foods we would deem as a 'super food'- one egg has 6g of protein for only 70 calories! Not only do eggs provide 14 essential nutrients such as vitamins D, E, A and folate, iron and zinc, one egg also contains 50% of your daily vitamin B12 which helps protect against heart disease. Whip up some eggs and grab out a bag of those frozen veggies to add as a side. 

5. Don’t feel guilty about buying ready-made food or ready-to-eat vegetables.

No one is going to judge you because you don’t make hummus from scratch or you bought a pre-made pie shell for your chicken pot pie recipe. Look for vegetables that take minimal prep, such as grape tomatoes (throw it on a salad), pre-washed salad (skip the rinse and spin), pre-sliced mushrooms (no chopping required). Alternatively, you can also buy veggies for the week and pre-chop everything at once so all you need to do is throw it in a salad or in a container to add into your lunch pack.

Our busy lives don’t need to get in way of making healthier choices, but we also need to make sure that we don’t beat ourselves up when we go off track. We hope these tips help your weeknight meal prep feel a little less overwhelming. Let us know what you think in the comments below!

xo M & K

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Ten Tips for Hosting a Stress-free Dinner Party

Ten Tips for Hosting a Stress-free Dinner Party

This year, I’m hosting my family for Christmas. Luckily, there will only be seven of us rather than the whole extended family, so it’s a pretty low-pressure way to start. However, I can’t help but feel a little anxious anyway! So, in the interest of helping myself and others, I’ve compiled a list of 10 tips for hosting a dinner party. Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments!

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Eat Mindful this Holiday Season

Eat Mindful this Holiday Season

The holiday season has begun! There is so much that we love about the festive season, particularly all the opportunities to get together with family and friends. Typically, these gatherings are centered around food, which can make overindulging quite easy when your calendar is packed with holiday parties. The holidays are a special time for many people because of the traditions that revolve around food and good company. Therefore, we suggest that you allow yourself little indulgences during the holidays, while also being mindful throughout the season.

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Recipe Review: Thick & Chewy Granola Bars

Recipe Review: Thick & Chewy Granola Bars

Grabbing a granola bar is often the go-to option for a quick snack while on the run or an easy snack to pack for work. The problem with granola bars, and many other pre-packaged snacks, is that they are often high in added sugar, fat and salt, and offer very little nutritional value. Sometimes it might seem like the product is a nutritious option (e.g., advertised as high in fibre), but sneaky advertising can mask the truth about the ingredients (e.g., more fiber usually makes the product taste less than desirable, which increases the amount of sugar added to make the product taste better). Now don't get me wrong, I always have a box of granola bars in the cupboard, but when I have the time I like to make my own. Sounds intimidating? Time consuming? No way! Remember Kathryn's nut-free lunch box granola bars

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Not Your Average Pasta Sauce

Not Your Average Pasta Sauce

The other day I heard someone say "out with pumpkin spice" and my first reaction was horror! Ok I may be exaggerating, but I never get sick of using pumpkin in recipes throughout the fall/winter season. I can feel that Christmas is in the air. I see that a few homes on my street have their lights up and some friends on Instagram have been posting that they are already putting up their Christmas decorations. It makes sense that people are moving on from pumpkin spice to eggnog and other holiday favourites (side note: Isn't it odd that my first thought is to associate the different holidays with Starbucks drink flavours? Good marketing).

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Diet and Men's Health: Foods to consider

Diet and Men's Health: Foods to consider

Did you know that men have a lower life expectancy than women because they are more likely to die of cancer, heart disease, or diabetes? Furthermore, men also tend to live on average 4-6 years fewer than females, with men living an average of 9 years of their lives in extremely poor health. Obesity, inactivity, inadequate diet, binge drinking, smoking, poor mental health, and reluctance to access health care services are some of the many factors that contribute to these health statistics.

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Top 5 Ways to Boost Your Protein at Breakfast

Top 5 Ways to Boost Your Protein at Breakfast

Having protein at each meal is a great way to ensure you are getting enough throughout the day but also keeping your muscles strong as you age.

Recent research from McGill University (Farsijani et al., 2017) found that an even distribution of daily protein intake across all meals is associated with greater muscle strength in older adults. This difference was seen regardless of the amount of protein consumed, which suggests that having protein evenly distributed throughout your day is potentially more important than having a large amount of protein in your day. 

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No matter what costumes people wear, everyone is a goblin when the Halloween candy comes out!

No matter what costumes people wear, everyone is a goblin when the Halloween candy comes out!

Halloween is just around the corner! 

Last year, there was an estimated 3,870,938 children (ages 5-14) who went out trick-or-treating, and on average Canadians spent $418.8 million on candy, confectionery and snack foods at large retailers last October. Although we still spend on average more money on these items during the Christmas season ($478.5 million), the amount of money that Canadians spend during Halloween is increasing. Have you heard about the orange Halloween trees that have been selling like crazy this year? Yes, Halloween trees are now a thing. Does that mean we will soon see ghastly creatures at the mall that you can sit on their lap and ask for your favourite Halloween candy? Maybe we won't get that extreme, but Canadians are definitely getting into the Halloween spirit.

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Your New Go-To Dinner Party Recipe!

Your New Go-To Dinner Party Recipe!

While we are enjoying amazing fall weather this weekend, the days will start to get colder (unfortunately). With summer days full of bbqs, and long hot afternoons spent on the dock behind us, my favourite part of the cooler, shorter days to come is the renewal of the dinner party! While the actual party itself is just the best, the prep work can be a bit stress inducing. What to serve, how much to make etc. Don't worry, we've got you covered! 

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Spaghetti Squash Soup

Spaghetti Squash Soup

We are finally getting fall weather and I am getting in the mood for soups! The heat wave has been nice, but I really love everything about fall and I hope we don't jump straight into winter weather. This time of year I tend to make creamy leek or tomato soups; however, my mom won me over with a spaghetti squash soup that she made for Thanksgiving dinner.

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Pumpkin and Cherry Chocolate Bites

Pumpkin and Cherry Chocolate Bites

I have to admit that I have a sweet tooth. Some weeks it's worse than others, but I notice that the craving is particularly strong during the weekday afternoons at work. There are some days when I want a sweet treat so badly with my afternoon coffee and it literally takes all of my will power to avoid buying something on campus. To save myself the $$ and limit the amount of added sugar, fat, etc, I decided to make myself these pumpkin and chocolate cherry bites to satisfy those afternoon cravings:

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The “clean eating” movement, and how I overcame my fear of white bread

The “clean eating” movement, and how I overcame my fear of white bread

This week marks my last week in France. Two years really flew by! For me, periods of change are always accompanied by some amount of reflection (and nostalgia!). I’ve taken some time recently to reflect on what I’ve learned while living in France, and what I can take away with me. What I’ve realized is that much of what I’ve learned centres around food.

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Parenting Stress, Home Chaos and Children's Health

Parenting Stress, Home Chaos and Children's Health

Feeling stressed out? Ever wonder what impact that stress might have on your health or the health of your children? Check out my webinar on parenting stress, home chaos and children's health to find out more! 

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One Pan Fish + Veggies

One Pan Fish + Veggies

I have been posting what I've been bringing for lunch a lot lately on our Instagram. I hope it's been inspiring for those of you who are following, but it's also been great for me to keep on track with packing my own lunches every day. However, with the commuting life there are also dinners to think about.

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Would Canada benefit from a national school food program?

Would Canada benefit from a national school food program?

It's that time of year again when kids are off to school and parents are tasked with packing lunches. It can be a struggle to plan and pack healthy lunches on a daily basis for many reasons (e.g., convenient packaged foods available, cost, schedules, picky eating).

While thinking about healthy school lunches may be on the minds of many parents, this topic is also of interest to nutrition researchers.

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Carrot Apple Zucchini Bread

Carrot Apple Zucchini Bread

The long weekend has come and gone and the unofficial start of fall has begun! I am going to miss the summer days (although we can barely say we had a summer this year), but I am excited for the fall season. I love the crisp air, fall fashion, pumpkin spice lattes, hiking, and of course the baking!

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Recipe Review: Pecan Butter Tarts

Recipe Review: Pecan Butter Tarts

The long weekend is right around the corner and whether you are heading up to the cottage or going to a party/BBQ this weekend you will want to bring these butter tarts along with you! I have made these tarts numerous times and recently whipped up a batch when my cousins came for an afternoon visit a few weeks ago.

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Life is as peachy as you make it to be...

Life is as peachy as you make it to be...

The end of summer is one of my favourite times of the year for baking (next to fall and Christmas) simply because it's peach season. Peach season spans from July-September in Ontario, but mid to late season varieties are superb for baking, preserving or eating fresh. I haven't gotten into making peach preserve, but I will never miss an opportunity to make a peach baked good.

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Farmer's Market Finds: Zucchini Blossoms

Farmer's Market Finds: Zucchini Blossoms

One of my favourite parts of summer in Ontario is the abundance of fresh (and local) produce that graces the supermarkets. Living in downtown Toronto, summer also means Farmer's markets become a very common and welcome sight. You never know what delicious surprises you will find at the Farmer's market. Read on to find out how you can enjoy zucchini blossoms! 

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