Published: Thinking Inside The Box

Check out Caryn’s new community nutrition project! Get involved and tell us what you think in the comments!

Click on the images for full size.

Weekend Tips from Diane

Howdy from Ohio!

1. Dress up your salads

Making salads interesting is a great way to start liking salads. Growing up, I hated eating greens and vegetables; it wasn’t until CEGEP that I fell in love with them. Having a wide variety of ingredients and a tasty dressing really makes a big difference. The downside is that adding cheese, pita chips or a thick dressing also adds calories. Try mixing lettuces and spinach with thin slices of apple, pear or mango, or even blueberries. Always incorporate a crunch from crushed up pita chips, toasted pine nuts, sunflower seeds or almonds. Even though these more tasty, filling and flamboyant salads are more caloric, they also contain a lot of fibre, vitamins and minerals that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

My miso salad dressing will be posted soon, it’s amazing, just ask my roommates who always ask me to make it for them.

 2. Shop with your kids!

For all you parents out there, think about involving your kids when you go grocery shopping and when you cook. Living on campus has made me realize that young people nowadays are lacking general cooking and grocery knowledge; whether it’s how to pick good produce, price or being able to try new things. Encouraging them to be part of the meal-planning and prepareation will help your kids get interested in nutritious and fresh foods in a world where fast food is everywhere, including their schools.

 3. Uninterrupted Sleep

Letting our bodies rest is not only important in maintaining overall health but also crucial to controlling body weight. Our body needs adequate rest in order to metabolize all the energy we get from our food in the form of calories. If you’re looking to lose weight, make sure you get a good night’s sleep! One tip I have for improving one’s quality of sleep is to keep all clocks far away from the bed and out of sight. A lot of us wake up throughout the night and check how much (or how little) time we have left to rest. What’s great about not knowing the time is that we can fall back asleep not worried and anxious and get a sound night of zzzzzzz’s.

With humidity and a smile,

– D the Intern

Can a dirty mouth make you sick?

Guest blogger Allison Brooks has some important information about the link between your teeth and your diet.

My name is Allison Brooks and I am a recent graduate of the University of Mississippi. I earned my B.S. in Biomedical Anthropology and have continued my research to work towards a completed ethnography. I mainly focus on the effects of biomedicalization on different cultures, but I do branch off into other fields of anthropology. I wrote about family nutrition and oral health because I feel that it is the easy way to promote a more natural well-being and is easy to relate to.

Families are increasingly paying attention to their nutrition together due to a couple of factors: the awareness of the negative effects of carrying too much weight and the diverse impacts of eating at home and eating out. Many people are trying to make a change in their eating habits by eating together as a family at home. The topic of oral health has also become popular as people realize that the health of their teeth has a powerful effect on their overall health and on the health of their hearts.

The best way to have a positive impact on your family nutrition and your oral health is to agree to eat together as a family. Eating at home, in fact, has many benefits for a family. Studies show that there are many social and intellectual benefits to eating together as a family, but there are also nutritional advantages. When you cook at home, you most likely will not make food that is nearly as saturated with bad fats and sodium as the kind of things that they sell in restaurants. Home-cooked meals are more likely to include vegetables and complex carbohydrates, rather than the sugary or salt-laden treats that you acquire in a fast food restaurant.

When you eat together, it will be easier to ensure that children and adults remember to brush their teeth after eating. The importance of oral health has come to the attention of many people now that medical science has drawn straight lines between various stages of poor oral health and other negative health conditions. Many hospitals and research facilities have conducted clinical trials to see the correlation with proper oral health and other ailments.  Recent research is revealing very powerful connections between heart health and oral health. This has an impact not only on health but also on longevity.

Certain foods are especially capable of providing good nutrition for your body and for preserving or even improving your oral health. Take, for example, an apple. These delicious fruits contain natural sugars that your taste buds will appreciate. The crunchiness of the apple is a sign that your teeth and gums are getting a good workout while the texture of the fruit scrapes your teeth clean. Your digestive system will welcome the fiber in the apple which will keep your intestines in good health.

Encourage your family members to eat together. The benefits are both social and nutritional. If you choose the right foods, you can all live happily together for a long time.

Ultra-Moist Zucchini Bread

It doesn’t even taste like there’s vegetables in it! Here’s a series of photos from when I made zucchini bread for a potluck using that monster zucchini we got from the farm. (I may or may not have smuggled it into the US so that I could make this!) I made two loaves and it was demolished. Just sayin’.

So good! If you don’t believe me, try it! So moist, try chocolate zucchini cake for even more decadence. But remember, everything in moderation.

-D the Intern 🙂

Important Information about Montreal Food Cooperatives and Kitchen Collectives

Ever heard of food co-ops and kitchen collectives?

What are they? Here are some definitions:

Food Co-op: “Run by the community for the community, Montreal food cooperatives or co-ops — better known as “groupes d’achat” or “achat collectif” in Quebec — allow members to spend less on higher quality produce by pooling their money together to buy groceries in bulk directly from local farmers, wholesalers and/or producers. Savings range from significant to dramatic and the produce is often organic. This video inside a food co-op gives a feel of what to expect.”

an expert from:


A food co-op really is just a group of people, friends or strangers, joining their money together to buy food in bulk. It’s a great way to save money. Think about it, imagine  you are a student or recent graduate from university and have to pay off a million student loans. Maybe you are have a family that keeps growing and you cant keep up with the grocery bills.  Imagine this, you go to Costco to buy some salsa except Costco sells them in huge bottles, sometimes even in sets of 3. You think you are getting a great deal but you’d never go through 3 jugs of salsa before the expiration date.  This is where joining a food co-op would be helpful. You pool money together with maybe 4 other couples or a few individuals and you buy these huge amounts, and separate them accordingly, saving you a ton of money. Brilliant!

Ever hear of those people who save a couple thousand dollars a year just by being conscious of sales and using a ton of coupons? A food co-op is kind of a similar idea. Plus, if you get groceries in bulk from local farmers, your produce will not only be cheaper, but fresh.

Check this link for more info about food co-ops and some existent food co-ops you can join in Montreal or the Greater Montreal Area.  [If anyone in the West End is interested, please e-mail me at]



Kitchen Collective: This is very similar to food co-ops except it takes you one step further. Not only do you buy all your food together, but you also exchange recipes and cook your food together and divide it accordingly. Sure, it probably takes a bit of extra time and effort for planning, but in the end, it really could help if you’re new to the kitchen and just looking for a way to meet people in the neighbourhood. Consider the advantages!!!

I’m thinking of maybe starting one this coming fall at Mcgill Macdonald Campus? What do my fellow Macdonald campus students think? Leave a comment!!  [What a wonderful idea! I think you should do it and then blog about it! – Caryn the dietitian]

Here’s a list of kitchen collective associations you can get in touch with to get started or find out more!!




-D the Intern