Healthier You Challenge

Revive Wellness is partnering with CTV Edmonton, Body by BennettMallory Becker, Registered Psychologist, and Maya Nishiwaki, General Practitioner to transform the lives of two Edmonton-area couples, Rosalind and Ryan Godfrey and Mandy and Dean George. Over the course of 12 weeks Loreen will give them the Revive experience – from meal planning and grocery store tours to cooking sessions and pantry makeovers. The couples will also work with trainers at Body by Bennett, Mallory Becker, a registered psychologist, and Maya Nishiwaki, a general practitioner working in Edmonton.

Check back here for updates and some tips and strategies you can use to make a Healthier You! Click below to scroll down to specific sections:

Week 1: Initial Assessment

Week 2: Nutrition Plan Review and Pantry Makeover

Week 3: Keep Calm and Plan On Menu Planning Session

Week 4: Navigating the Grocery Store

Week 5: Conquering Breakfast

Week 6: Conquering Lunch

Week 7: Conquering Dinner

Week 8: The Journey So Far

Week 9: Navigating Your Favourite Restaurant

Week 10: Incorporating Shift Work

Week 11: Healthier You Family Cooking Challenge

Week 12: Final Review

Week 1: Initial Assessment

This week we meet our couples and do a full nutrition review, gathering all the information we need to complete our assessment.

The Georges and Godfreys stopped by the Revive Wellness office for their Initial Assessment with Loreen. They each had body composition analyses and blood pressure readings done and discussed goals and the plan moving forward – a great first step on their 12-week journey!

Week 2: Nutrition Plan Review and Pantry Makeover

This week Loreen traveled to the homes of the Georges and the Godfreys to review their meal plan and do a Pantry Makeover!

Below are some tips to conduct your own Pantry Makeover:

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Read the ingredient list on any processed foods. Look for ingredients you recognize and can pronounce.

Say goodbye to fat-free and sugar-free foods and say hello to whole foods!

Save your grains for meals. For snacks try a serving of fruit or vegetables with a source of protein (Greek yogurt, nuts, cheese, eggs, meat, hummus, tzatziki dip, roasted beans, etc.).

Treats can have a home in your pantry so long as you set boundaries that work for you. This includes only eating a treat after a balanced meal or a balanced snack.

Stock your pantry with the following staples that are quick and easy to use to make a balanced meal or snack:

• Canned fish like salmon, tuna, or mackerel can be used to whip up a quick snack or meal.
• Dried or canned beans/lentils contain protein and carbs so they count as a grain as well.
• Rice, quinoa, and pasta are staples but try grains you have never heard of before like millet, amaranth, barley.
• Look for brands of canned tomatoes and tomato sauce that have no added sodium.
• Nuts and seeds are quick to grab for snacks. Try roasted nuts, but be careful of the sodium content.
• Buy natural nut butters and add to your snack or meal.
• Canned fruit- drain the juice and eat the fruit on its own. Pair with yogurt or nuts for a snack.
• Use dried fruit (dates, figs, raisins, etc.) to add natural sweetness and fibre to recipes.
• Sodium-free broths can be used to add flavour to rice, quinoa or other grains.
• Regular, plain or steel cut oats, whole grain hot cereals are good breakfast options.
• Drizzle balsamic vinegars and olive oils on salads or vegetables before roasting and sautéing.

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Week 3: Keep Calm and Plan On Menu Planning Session

This week Loreen showed the Godfreys and Georges how easy it is to create a weekly meal plan!

Meal planning helps you achieve and maintain your health goals by preventing you from skipping meals, lowering your stress level, and saving you time and money.

Download our Keep Calm Plan On Template and use the tips below to create your own weekly meal plan:

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• Mark off nights you are out or don’t have time to cook. Highlight 2-3 nights you do have time to cook.
• Plan 1-2 breakfasts for the week and make them ahead of time.
• For breakfast your plate should consist of ¼ grains or starch, ¼ protein, ¼ dairy or soy and ¼ fruits or vegetables.
• Create a balanced meal for lunch where ½ your plate is vegetables, ¼ is protein, ¼ is grain along with some healthy fats.
• Plan your dinners and cook extra for dinners and lunches later in the week.
• For dinner your plate should consist of ½ vegetables, ¼ is protein, ¼ is grain along with some healthy fats and dairy or soy on the side.
• Snacks should consist of protein or dairy and a fruit or vegetable.
• Allow for 3 meals plus 1-3 snacks per day so you are eating every 2-3 hours, minimizing your risk of overeating at a meal or snack.

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Click here to download our Keep Calm Plan On Template and involve your whole family in the meal planning process!

Week 4: Navigating the Grocery Store

Loreen toured Andy’s IGA with the Georges and the Godfreys this week and gave some tips and strategies for nutritious grocery shopping.

From meat and dairy to produce and the bakery, here are some tips to make the most out of your next trip to the grocery store:

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General

• Don’t grocery-shop hungry.
• Shop the perimeter. The least processed foods are usually on the outside aisles of the grocery store.
• Aim to eat whole foods 90% of the time.
• Have good quality treats and use small plates for meals.

Produce

• Choose a variety of brightly colored fruits and vegetables which contain more nutrients (vitamin C, E, and carotene) and antioxidants.
• Frozen fruit and vegetables can be more nutritious than unripe, old or out of season produce. Buy in-season fruits and vegetables for good variety and to keep costs down.
• Try having fruit for dessert. Grilled fruit is a great tasty treat.
• Buy a wide variety of low prep veggies such as cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, snap peas and mini cucumbers. These can be packed in lunches or served for dinner.

Meat

• Limit your intake of processed meats (bacon, salami, sausage,) and choose more lean meats with no visible fat like turkey or chicken breast, and pork loin and beef with less marbling.
• Aim for two servings of fish per week. Salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, and trout are all higher sources of omega 3 fats which lower your risk for heart disease. Look for wild fish or fish farmed in a sustainable fishery.
• Eggs are a quick source of protein that can be added to any meal.

Dairy

• Choose milk with 0-2% MF (milk fat).
• Milk and bacterial cultures should be the only ingredients in your plain yogurt. Greek Yogurt is a great high protein option.
• Cottage cheese is a good source of protein. Look for low-sodium varieties.

Bakery

• Look for whole grain breads, bagels and wraps, with minimal ingredients. Bread and bread products can be very processed.
• A ½ cup of cooked pasta is one serving of carbohydrates (15 g).
• Choose brown rice or basmati rice over short-grain rice. The longer the cooking time the better for blood sugar control.

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Week 5: Conquering Breakfast

This week the Godfreys and Georges were in the kitchen learning how to make a nutritious breakfast. They made Muffin Tin Frittatas and Spiced Carrot Lentil Muffins!

Get the recipe and some baking tips below:

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Baking Tips

• When there’s more moisture in the air, flour changes its density. Therefore, measuring by volume (cups) is less consistent, and measuring by weight (on a scale) is more consistent.
• Whole wheat flour is thirstier than regular flour and may require extra liquid.
• A kitchen thermometer is your best friend for cooking and baking. Since everyone’s oven is different, measuring the internal temperature of your baked goods will tell you when something is done perfectly. Also, it tells you when something is done without having to cut it open.
• Kneading bread activates the gluten, making it more elastic and chewy. The reason you want to stir muffins very lightly (ie. fold the mixture) is because you don’t want to activate the gluten and make it chewy–you want a light, crumbly muffin.

Get the recipe for Spiced Carrot Lentil Muffins here:


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Week 6: Conquering Lunch

The Godfreys and the Georges (and their son, Caleb) were back in the kitchen this week with a couple nutritious lunch recipes! They made Chicken Salad Wraps and a Roasted Vegetable Salad.

Get the recipe below along with some great tips for how to make it:

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Cooking Tips

• Make sure to cut the squash and peppers into evenly sized chunks so that they cook evenly.
• You can substitute different types of veggies. Different types of squash (but not spaghetti squash, as it’ll fall apart), different colours of pepper, different cabbages or add carrots or beets.
• Make sure to measure oils and other nutritionally-dense ingredients as small increases can add a lot of extra fat.
• Taste the dressing before you take it out of the blender and think about how it will taste in relation to the other ingredients in the dish. Adjust as needed.
• You can also make this meal on the grill! Instead of roasting the veggies, just put them on skewers and cook them on the BBQ.

Get the recipe for the Roasted Vegetable Salad here:


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Week 7: Conquering Dinner

For their final week in the kitchen the Georges and Godfreys learned how to make several dinner dishes!
Get the recipes below along with some great tips for how to make them:

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Grilled Ratatouille Salad



• Grill vegetables in large pieces, and then cut them into smaller pieces for serving.
• Burn your peppers! When grilling them char the skin and then before serving run them under cold water and the skin should peel off.

Lemon, Garlic and Herb Chicken Breast



• Marinate the chicken for 4-12 hours for best results, but if not enough time a quick 20 minute marinade will do.
• When grilling chicken place at a 45 degree angle then turn 90 degrees to get a cross hatch pattern.
• Let your meat rest for at least 5min, to avoid all the juices running out and drying it out. The larger the piece of meat, the longer it should rest to help reabsorb all the juices.

One Pan Salmon with Roasted Potatoes and Asparagus



• Marinate fish for 1 hour maximum. Any longer and the protein in the fish begins to break down and your fish could turn out mushy.
• Parboil your potatoes before you roast them. It will have your potatoes light and fluffy on the inside and crispier on the outside.
• Start by roasting potatoes then add veggies and meat when potatoes are nearly cooked.
• Place salmon filets skin-side up so that they don’t burn.
• Asparagus ends should snap off at the point where they become too fibrous to eat.
• Save asparagus ends for soup stock or stews.

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Week 8: The Journey So Far

The Georges and Godfreys are two-thirds of the way through their Healthier You journey and have seen a lot of change already.

They’ve also overcome some of the challenges that come with a lifestyle change of this magnitude. We’re so proud of them for sticking with it and excited to keep it up over the last month of the Healthier You challenge!

Week 9: Navigating Your Favourite Restaurant

This week the whole group got together to try one of Ryan and Rosalind’s favourite restaurants – Sloppy Hoggs Roed Hus!

Loreen showed the couples that it’s possible to have a nutritious, balanced meal when out at a restaurant – all it takes is a little strategizing. Here are a few tips to get you through your next dining experience:

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Strategies

• The balanced plate principle (½ vegetables, ¼ grains and starches, ¼ protein) still applies at restaurants. Order a side salad if your main meal doesn’t contain enough vegetables.
• Order a family-style platter to give yourself a chance to control your portion size.
• Don’t be afraid to ask for changes to an item listed on the menu. Restaurants are usually more than willing to accommodate special dietary needs.
• Make sure to order sauces on the side. They can add a lot of sugar, salt and fat to an entrée or side.
• Be wary of sides that contain extra grains and protein as the main meal often contains enough of those.
• Listen to your body and don’t keep eating if you are full. Take home some leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch.

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Week 10: Incorporating Shift Work

Week 11: Healthier You Family Cooking Challenge

Week 12: Final Review

 

 

Follow along with each of our partners in the Healthier You challenge:

 

 

Maya Nishiwaki, General Practitioner