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Plant-Based Eating: Finding a Healthy Balance

In January 2019, Canadians finally got to see the long-awaited revision to Canada’s Food Guide, and it’s quite a departure from previous versions. Gone is the traditional rainbow model, in favour of a “food guide snaphot”, which is a picture of a balanced plate of food.

One of the biggest departures from the old Food Guide is the new emphasis on including plant-based proteins in the diet. At first, this notion had some pundits worried that meant an exclusion of meat or chicken, but now we know it just means a change in the name for food groups.

The former “meat and alternatives” and “milk and alternatives” food groups have merged into one grouping, collectively known as “protein foods.”

While meat, fish, poultry, eggs and milk products are still part of this grouping, Canada’s Food Guide says to “choose protein foods that come from plants more often.” It explains that eating plant-based...

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Five Fast Facts About Chicken

Whether it’s white or dark meat, in a sandwich or mixed with pasta or atop salad, chicken is a familiar favourite and always a crowd-pleaser. Did you know that chicken is offered on more menus than any other protein item? It’s certainly one of the top protein choices in the Canadian diet! But just how well do you really know this nutritious and versatile poultry? Here’s an overview that explains the nutritional value of chicken and busts common misconceptions.

What’s the nutritional difference between varying cuts of chicken?

Chicken is generally divided into white meat (breast and wings) and dark meat (thigh and drumstick). Fat in chicken is often found in the skin, so skinless cuts tend to be leaner. The cuts vary in calories, protein and fat content, as illustrated in the chart below:

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Comfort Food to Soothe the Soul

Comfort food for seniors

Did you love macaroni & cheese when you were a child? What about Sunday’s pot roast with mashed potatoes? It turns out that the foods that we enjoyed most when we were children, tend to be the same foods we love as we grow into adulthood and older age.

As creatures of habit, we seek comfort from familiar flavours, textures, sights and scents of food. Nutrition behaviours that are formed in childhood become ingrained, and once a particular behaviour or preference is implemented, it’s very hard to change it as we age.

When serving older adults in hospital, retirement or long-term care settings, it’s important to keep in mind that each individual has their own ingrained food preferences. Older adults have already undergone a long period implementing nutrition behaviours during their whole life course. It’s your job to meet them where they are, and try to provide foods...

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Canadians Want More Natural Foods

Almost 60 percent of Canadians say they are making an effort to change their eating habits. Leaning towards more natural foods, we’re committed to eating less sugar, salt and fat, and are focusing more on fruit, vegetables, grains and lean protein. That’s good news for our long-term health.

If you’re in charge of choosing recipes in hospitals, cafeterias, retirement or long-term care settings, it’s vital to know what Canadians are looking for. The easiest way to support the goal towards healthy eating is to pick recipes with whole, minimally processed ingredients rather than ultra-processed products.

Processed, packaged?

In a recent survey of Canadian adults, over 60 percent said they are looking for products that are free of additives, preservatives, pesticides and hormones. Interestingly, when compared to younger Canadians, older adults are more likely to say that it’s important for their foods to be locally produced, free of additives, and to come...

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Chicken with Global Flair

If there’s one thing Canadians can agree on, it’s our love of chicken! Collectively, we eat about 1 billion kilograms of chicken each year. Since we eat so much of it, it’s important to drum up new recipes to keep taste buds happy.

As menus rotate in senior living settings, it’s wise to stick to residents’ favourites, and add something new to spark interest and keep everyone satisfied. Are you looking for new ideas for your preferred cuts of poultry? We’ve scanned the globe and come up with a variety of choices that speak to the growing diversity of cultural and ethnic backgrounds in Canadian retirement and long-term care settings.

Based upon the preference of residents, here are new ideas for chicken dishes that are inspired by Italy, Greece, China, India, Central Europe, Ukraine and the Middle East.  To find the recipes that are referenced below and many others, simply check...

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Time to Explore the Dark Side

When it comes to chicken, do you prefer white meat or dark meat? Most North Americans have been convinced that white meat is the healthier choice, but dark meat has some amazing nutritional benefits too! It’s time to embrace dark meat for its nourishing value, succulence and culinary versatility.

Why is it dark?

Most chickens don’t fly, but they do move around using their legs and thighs. This pattern of movement preserves muscles in their wings and breasts, which remain white. At the same time, the high movement of their thighs and legs causes them to turn a darker shade due to myoglobin, the protein that provides muscles with the oxygen they need during movement. It’s myoglobin that gives dark meat its characteristic reddish colour. So, it’s pretty simple, really: dark meat is caused by increased muscle movement because chicken walk rather than fly, while white meat is the result of...

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