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COLUMN: Here’s how to make healthy, informed food choices

Bradford dietician shares some tips on how to nourish your body during Nutrition Month
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During Nutrition Month we are encouraged to think about the foods we eat and how they nourish our bodies. If you are thinking about making a healthy change in your eating habits, it can be a bit daunting to know where to start.

The good news is you don’t need to make drastic changes to make a big difference. As your local Bradford Registered Dietitian, I am passionate about helping you make healthy and informed food choices. Here are my top easy to adopt nutrition tips to help get you started.

All foods can fit into a healthy diet – In order to create a better relationship with food it is important not to label foods as “good” or “bad.” Contrary to popular belief, all foods can fit into a healthy diet – the key being moderation.

Learn to listen to your body and how certain foods make you feel. It can be easy to get caught up in food trends, but in reality, there isn’t one superfood that you should be eating exclusively. Instead, focus on eating a variety of whole foods with various nutrients.

What does a healthy plate look like? – Canada’s Food Guide emphasizes eating a variety of healthy foods each day. To do this, your plate should include half vegetables and fruits, a quarter of protein-rich foods including a focus on plant-based proteins in addition to traditional protein sources, and the remaining quarter should be whole grain foods.
Reading food labels – All pre-packaged food items must include a label with nutrient content by law in Canada. The labels are there to help you make informed choices and the package provides information on serving size, calories, certain nutrients, and percentage daily values (% DV). Five percent DV or less is a little, whereas 15 percent DV is a lot. Try to get more fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and calcium. Aim for less fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium and cholesterol. 
If you are looking to make a change and aren’t sure where to start, I am here to help! As your local Bradford Registered Dietitian at Zehrs, I can develop a unique and easy to follow plan for you and the whole family to follow. To book a virtual or in-store appointment with me, go to
Oyster Mushroom, Green Bean and Treviso Salad

4 slices of bacon
8 oz of trimmed green beans
3 tbsp canola oil
1 pkg oyster whole mushrooms
½ tsp of salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp of minced shallots
1-1/2 tsp of dijon mustard
1 tbsp of red wine or sherry vinegar
2 cups of roughly chopped Treviso or radicchio lettuce
2 tbsp of thinly sliced fresh Italian parsley
2 tbsp of blue cheese, crumbled
Place bacon in frying pan; cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes, turning once halfway, or until crispy. Drain on paper towel; chop roughly.

In large pot of boiling salted water, cook green beans for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain and immediately plunge into a bowl of ice water; drain again.
Meanwhile, in large nonstick frying pan, heat 1 tbsp of the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until cooked through and golden. Season with half of the salt and pepper. Remove from heat; let cool 5 minutes.
In small bowl, whisk together shallots, Dijon and vinegar. Slowly drizzle in remaining 2 tbsp canola oil while whisking continuously to emulsify dressing.

In large bowl, combine mushroom mixture, green beans, bacon, treviso, parsley and blue cheese. Sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper; toss gently with dressing. Divide among three salad bowls.

Madison Brown, Registered Dietitian, Zehrs Bradford