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A Dietitian's review of the new Canada's Food Guide

Finally - the new Canada's Food Guide has been released by Health Canada! There are a lot of positive changes to the new guidelines. The four food groups are gone. No more meat and alternatives or dairy group. They've been replaced with a more visual plate-style of half fruits and veggies, one quarter whole grains and one quarter protein foods. Another change is a focus on HOW you eat (they call this section "eating habits"), not just WHAT you eat ("healthy food choices").

While the guide itself is simple, more resources and information is available at canada.ca/foodguide. I had to do a bit of digging to find them, so have laid out all of the recommendations with links here. I'll also share some more detailed thoughts about what I like about this new guide, and potential concerns or questions below.

Healthy Food Choices

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How to prevent choking when feeding baby finger foods and starting solids using Baby led Weaning

If you’re offering your baby their first finger foods, you’re probably nervous about choking. It’s normal that the first few times you offer your baby solid foods, they will gag -  striking fear in your heart that they can not handle real food and are going to choke!

Yet many proponents of Baby led Weaning (BLW) believe babies are actually at less risk of choking if they feed themselves rather than being spoon-fed by a parent. This is because the baby is in full control. In this post, we will discuss whether the research agrees and share tips to prevent choking for baby led weaning.

Gagging vs choking

One benefit of BLW and introducing “real” foods sooner, is that your baby’s gag reflex is further forward in the mouth. It moves back as your baby ages. So rest-assured that if your baby is  super-gaggy to start, this will decrease with time!

Gagging is actually protective against choking. It’s normal and not dangerous. Gagging is a...

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Healthy Food Changes for the New Year

This post was sponsored by the California Dried Plum Board. All opinions are my own

Welcome to the new year! If one of your goals for 2019 is to amp up your nutrition, that's great. But instead of a massive over-haul (aka "diet"), I'd encourage you instead to make one small positive action. Small changes will be much less overwhelming, and you'll be more likely to get to your goal.

Here are some simple ideas:

1) Add a vegetable to every lunch.

2) Add a protein choice to breakfast.

3) Swap soda for sparkling flavoured water.

4) Eat a mid-afternoon snack, to avoid being super hangry & over-eating at dinner.

One thing I'm going to improve this year is more variety for breakfast. My kids have been stuck in a toast & jam rut. Boring, and not the most nutritious start to the day!

Another favourite kid-breakfast around here is a bagel and cream cheese. This may come as a surprise, but cream cheese isn't that high in calcium or protein. So again- boring and not that nutritious.

So,...

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Do’s and Don’ts of starting solids with Baby led Weaning (BLW)

There are lots of questions floating around the internet about starting solids with Baby led Weaning: Can you start with purees and switch to baby led weaning? Is it ok to mix purees and finger foods? When is baby ready to start BLW? How do you serve food and in what shape? Can baby have added sugars, salt, eggs, peanuts? What about introducing your baby to cow’s milk??

Here are a few tips to get started answering some of these Baby led Weaning FAQs. For a more in-depth info and 125 recipes, check out my book “The Parents’ Guide to Babyled Weaning.”

Baby led Weaning Do’s

1) Timing is important:

Don’t rush into starting solids, but don’t wait too long either! Wait until your baby can actually sit on their own, with  support. They need enough neck and trunk strength to get food to their mouth, without needing arms for balance. An interest in food is another sign of readiness. As is age (around 6 months). For more about when to start Baby...

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5 Reasons Why Meal Planning will Save your Sanity

 When it comes to feeding your family, do you have troubles:
  • Finding the time and/or motivation to plan, organize, shop, prepare, clean up? This can be overwhelming especially when your baby or kids are so demanding. 
  • Getting stuck with either an empty fridge or a full fridge...but still not the right ingredients to make any recipe!
  • Often choosing fast food, processed foods or takeout that aren't exactly the ideal that you want to feed your family so often.

I think at some level we all know that it's important to be organized in the kitchen.

So then why do most of us tend to fall into the pattern of perhaps meal planning for a week or two, then quitting?

- Because we don't have the basics organized in order to make meal planning easy.

- Your recipes are all over the place. You have  few bookmarks on your computer, a few old recipe cards from your mom and a bunch of recipe books (I love cookbooks too -here are my faves!)

- You have no system to create a meal...

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What to do if my child doesn't eat enough food

Do you have a small child and you feel that they should weigh more? Maybe your child is on the bottom of the growth chart, so you're worried they're not getting enough food.

Or if your kid eats like a bird, you're probably worried they're not getting enough calories or nutrients. Or maybe just worried in the short term that they'll wake up hungry in the middle of the night if they don't eat dinner!

Or it's easy to get stuck comparing kids. Maybe you have an older child that always was a big eater. Or your friends kids eat way more than yours, which makes you worried!

And I know that this concern can lead to....

  • Spoon-feeding a child that's perfectly capable of feeding themselves.
  • Bribing your child with dessert, to finish dinner.
  • Other pressure tactics, like forcing them to eat 3 bites.
  • Short-order-cook syndrome: if they don't want dinner, you bring out a backup food or a favourite you're sure they will eat. Or get stuck making 2 meals...

So instead of all of...

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5 Reasons why you should be having family meals

When you think of the family table, we all have the image of  a happy family, eating and laughing together. Which may make you LOL it's so far from your dinnertime reality right now. I have 3 kids, so I get it (and our meals rarely look like this photo-shoot pic!).

You might have a hard time just getting food on the table, to start. Or avoiding fights, battles and tears because your kids won't eat. Or even just getting everyone together at the table, schedule-wise may be a challenge!

Today I'll touch a bit on how to end the dinnertime battles and providing some structure and routine.  But I'm mostly going to chat about WHY it's worth this effort to get your family to the dinner table together.  

First of all, to define "family meals," this includes eating together at least 5 times per week. At least one caregiver with the kids. If one parent is not present or you are a single parent, you STILL get these benefits by sitting down with your kids...

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Why is my child a Picky Eater? And what to do about it!


If you have a picky eater at home, you might be struggling to get your kids to try new foods. You've probably become a short order cook. And you may feel like you have to bribe, pressure or reward your child to try even take one bite of dinner.

 All of this just leads to stress at the table for everyone. And often arguments and tears (on behalf of the kids and parents!). And we want dinner to be a nice place for everyone!

Wouldn't it be great to stop stressing about how much or what your kids eat at the table? Have more peaceful dinners, with no more tears or yelling at the dinner table? And for your kids to eat new foods without complaining about it!?

This is definitely possible. But one of the obstacles for us to getting to this point is the plethora of contradictory advice about how to deal with your picky eater! My doctor told me to give my daughter what she wanted....which I know is exactly the wrong advice.

 To give you some understanding of the...

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3 Reasons Why the "3-Bite Rule" Sucks

Are you struggling with a picky eater at home? If so, I'd imagine you're probably:

  • worried that your child is not getting enough food, or enough nutrients to meet their growth and potential.
  •  frustrated that your kid doesn't try new foods.
  • stuck as a short-order cook, bringing out those backup foods or making a second meal. Just so your kid will eat something!
  • your dinner table is probably full of pressure, bribes and tears.

And I'm guessing you just want to stop stressing about how much your kid eats. You want your kid to expand their palate, try new foods without complaints. And you'd like to have more peaceful family dinners, to end all the yelling and the tears.

If that sounds good to you, read on or catch watch my video here.

I know that there's lots of conflicting advice out there on how to feed kids. From your doctor, f your mom, friends, blogs....And maybe you've tried some of these tactics and discovered that for most kids, the "one-bite rule" or "three-bite...

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Healthy Snacking for the New Year: Prune Energy Ball Recipe

This post was sponsored by the California Dried Plum Board. All opinions are my own 

Happy New Year! If you have resolutions this year to feed your family better, I encourage starting small. For example, one good area to start with could be daily snacks.

Snacks are a struggle for many of the moms I work with, when feeding their kids. One step to healthy snacking for kids is to offer set "snack" times, rather than allowing your child open access to the pantry. This will allow them to have an appetite come meal time.

As for what to offer for snacks, it doesn't have to be chocolate-dipped granola bars and fishy crackers. Keep it simple, and just think of offering 2 food groups. Here are a few simple ideas:

Balanced Snack Ideas

1) Peanut butter on whole grain crackers

2) Boiled egg and fruit

3) Berries and yogurt

4) Fruit smoothie

5) Veggies and hummus dip

6) Energy balls with nuts and fruit (see recipe below)

California Prune Energy Balls

These prune energy balls taste...

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