By Carol Harrison, RD
- MYTH: Cooking meals at home just takes too much time.
With longer commute times than ever before, it seems like we have less and less time to cook. But, the truth is, that in the time it takes to have a pizza delivered, you can put together a great meal in your kitchen.
Here are some winning strategies you can share with your clients:
- Post your five favourite quick meal ideas on the fridge (for example, a grilled cheese sandwich and soup). This will help when you’re at a loss for what to eat.
- Once a month, cook a big batch of a meal you love (chili or curry) and freeze the extra portions. Simply reheat to enjoy “cook’s night off” once a week for the rest of the month.
- Cook once, eat twice. Prepare extra dinner ingredients and use them the next day. For example, extra veggies can go into a frittata and extra fish can be used in tacos.
Good to know: Clients often ask their fitness professionals for meal plans, but different taste preferences, cooking skills, and budgets make it nearly impossible to create a one-size-fits-all plan. Instead, help your clients build their menu planning skills. Here’s a great tool to get started:
- MYTH: Organic food is more nutritious.
The choice to eat organic food is a personal one. In terms of nutrition and food safety, there is no compelling evidence that foods produced using organic farming methods are different than non-organic foods produced with conventional farming methods.
Reassure your clients that farmers follow best practices to manage problems with weeds, insects, and fungi in their crops. Sometimes this means using pesticides, which are tools designed to help farmers safely deter or manage pests. Whether they’re used in organic or conventional food production, all crop protection products are regulated by Health Canada, and solid scientific evidence proves they are safe for humans and the environment.
Good to know: A far more pressing priority is to help Canadians fill half their plates with veggies and fruits, regardless of how they’re grown. You can direct your clients to Half Your Plate for tips and recipes, and to Pesticide Facts for more information about pesticides.
- MYTH: Food is expensive in Canada.
Canadians pay some of the lowest food prices in the world. In fact, our food has never been as affordable, safe or nutritious as it is today. A major reason for this is that farmers use plant biotechnology and pesticides to grow food, without which we would pay an additional $4,000 per family for groceries each year. (For those living with food insecurity, the problem to fix is low income, not food costs.)
Good to know: The most expensive food is the food we waste – about 40% per household! To curb food waste, advise clients to start their grocery shopping at home. Plan meals with what’s on hand and then make a list to fill in the gaps. The main cause of food waste is buying too much, so buy only what you can use before it spoils.
- MYTH: It’s better to choose non-GMO foods.
Putting a non-GMO label on food is a marketing choice; it has nothing to do with the food’s safety or nutritional value. Genetically modified foods are safe. There is a global scientific consensus, with organizations including Health Canada, the World Health Organization, and the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, all agreeing there are zero health or safety concerns.
Good to know: Thanks to plant science, we can keep importing papayas from Hawaii. The ringspot virus threatened to devastate the papaya crop until researchers studied the plant’s genes and determined how to modify them to make the plant resistant to the virus.
TIP: For a tropical fruit treat, try Papaya Mango Sorbet.
About Carol Harrison