Eating Out Without Busting Out (of your clothes)

We all have to eat out at times and chances are you’re faced with a food court full of options – so, what to choose?

Here are some Health Junction tips on how to make eating out a health success.

1.)  If you know in advance that you’ll be eating out, go online and check the menu to see what your options are.  It’s easier to plan a healthy meal when you’re not hungry.  I was just checking the Tim Hortons website and they actually have healthy meal suggestions with 3 grams of fat or less.

In general: skip the bacon, mind the cheese, go easy on the salad dressing, watch your fat, and try to select higher fiber meals.

Check out the sodium content.  Our daily limit is 2300 mg and a ham and swiss cheese sandwich from Tim Hortons has 1450 mg’s!  The egg salad sandwich would be a better option with 760 mgs.

2.)  Better meat options would be lean meat such as skinless chicken and fish.

3.)  Cutting down on fat is easier when food is prepared by broiling, baking, poaching, or grilling.

4.)  Portion sizes in restaurants are usually huge.  Someone told me this tip a while ago and I love it.  Divide you plate into two – eat half and take the other home with you.

5.) Choose vegetables as your side if given the option.  In general, for all meals half your plate should consist of vegetables/fruit.

6.) Choose whole grain carb options; whole grain rolls, brown rice, a potato with the skin on.

Here are some good options for breakfast, lunch, and supper at Tim Hortons:

Breakfast:  English Muffin w/ Egg and Cheese, Mixed Berry Oatmeal (has a bit of sugar so limit this to a special treat).

Lunch/Supper:  Minestrone Soup with an 12 grain bagel, Everything Bagel w/ light plain cream cheese.

Skip the muffins – they all have over 25 grams of sugar per serving.

If you really want a donut btw, the best choice would be chocolate or maple dip.



Yeah, yeah, yeah…I know what is good for me.  Stop nagging!!

We get that H2O is good for us but sometimes drinking enough can seem like a chore, right?  Here is some information on why we need water and how to make sure you’re getting enough.

Drinking adequate water is imperative for your health and it’s the nutrient most required by the body for optimal functioning.  Ghandi, at age 74, survived 21 days without food but most people can’t go more than 7 days without H2O (and that is PUSHING it!).

So, what why do I need water?

It protects what is inside your body, including your noggin.

Water is needed to balance what is in your cells and what is outside your cells. 

It’s the building block for cell protoplasm (the fluid inside our cells)

Blood is mainly made of water – blood transports nutrients, oxygen, etc around the body.

If you want to hear, see, taste, and smell properly, you’ll need H2O.  Fluid in the inner ear transports sound waves for hearing.  In the eye it’s responsible for light reflection.  For tasting and smelling – foods and smells are dissolved in water.

H2O is the key to regulating body temperature – it keeps us at the right temperature in varying environmental conditions.

If you’re a lady, drink at least 9 cups.  For men, up that to 13.

I know for myself, getting 9 cups a day isn’t easy so a little planning is necessary.  Here are some tips:

Try starting your day off with two cups of water – it’s a good way to re-hydrate after a good nights sleep.

Bring a non-plastic bottle of water with you to work or school (stainless steel) and flavour it with cucumber, lemon, lime, berries, orange…whatever floats your boat.

Juice and coffee count but limit these because of the sugar content.

Try to take down a cup or two of non-caffeinated tea.

Not getting enough water will impair your digestive system and make you constipated.  It leaves your skin looking dry and lacklustre.  Constant dehydration is linked in part to diabetes, arthritis, asthma, back pain, cataracts, chronic fatigue, colitis, depression, heartburn, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney stones, lupus, and migraines.

Also, on a side note, there is a  new app you can get on iTunes called QUENCH which tells you where the nearest water fountain is for refilling your bottle with H2O while on the go.



Canada’s $15.2 billion dollar totally preventable chronic disease

By 2030 it is predicted that 370 million people worldwide will have Type II Diabetes.  What’s interesting is that in 1985 the worldwide T2D population was only 30 million.

How?  Why?

When we eat, our blood sugar levels rise and in order to bring the levels back down insulin is required.  Insulin is a hormone and it helps our cells absorb glucose, which is basically the form of energy we get once our food is broken down.  Type II Diabetes is the result of insulin becoming less effective in lowering blood sugar levels and the impact of this on the body is devastating which leads me to the “bad” of diabetes.

In the case of people with T2D, the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin OR the body starts to respond well to insulin.  This results in weight loss, fatigue, weakness, nerve damage, blurred vision, dry skin, and infections.  It significantly increases risk of cardiovascular disease, amputation, eye diseases, and kidney disease.

Here are some staggering statistics:

80% of people with Type II Diabetes will die from cardiovascular disease.

The leading cause of non-trauma related amputations is a result of T2D.

50 – 70% of men with T2D suffer from erectile dysfunction.

The current cost of Type II diabetes to the Canadian health care system is 15.2 billion dollars.

Wow right?  Here is the good news.

95% of Type II Diabetes is caused by eating too much food and not exercising enough.  As obesity rates rise, so too does the incidences of T2D.  When we eat too  much the calories that our body doesn’t need are stored as fat and when all the fat cells are full our liver, muscles, and pancreas become a storage locker – specifically with the pancreas this is what screws up our ability to utilize insulin correctly.

So if your BMI is over 25 (check online here to find out what your BMI is: you need to shed some pounds or chances are you’ll develop T2D.


Excerise more and eat less.

30 minutes a day of walking is enough to get you started and check here for some ideas on eating balanced meals:

Here are some other guidelines for you to follow:

– limit saturated fats (animal fat) and use mono or polyunsaturated fats instead (plant-based fats like olive oil).

– eat more fiber.  25 grams a day is a good start.

– drink maximum of two drinks a day

– talk to your doctor on seeing a dietitian or nutritionist to help you find some healthy eating solutions. your way to easy vegetarian food!

In my current job as a Nutrition Staff with the TDSB I’m responsible for creating nutritious, quick, easy, and most of all TASTY meals each day for a group of hungry but picky middle school kids.  Some kids can only eat halal meat so I most often steer towards vegetarian recipes and just as I was starting to run out of ideas, a colleague recommended vegetarian recipes.

This site is AWESOME because it provides a weekly plan of seriously delicious meals – think linguine with Kale and Breadcrumbs, Beet Root Risotto, and Roasted Winter Vegetable Jambalya.

Check it out and prepare to be impressed: