Weekend Tips from Diane – Travel Edition

It struck me yesterday that my diet habits change very drastically when I’m on “vacation”. The excitement of being somewhere different compels me to explore restaurants and eat out more often especially at places that aren’t available at home. Naturally, I forget about proper vegetable and fruit servings, portion control and eating regularly. It sometimes seems like there’s not much I can do about it. Visiting relatives means eating big meals with them all the time. Visiting friends means going out and eating too much. I am snacking all the time and trying new foods. It seems there is always a good reason to eat more than we can handle……

I thought about some things that have helped me be more careful with my diet when I’m on vacation and here they are!

1. Do groceries!
Find a grocery store where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits are something that a lot of people love, but for those who can live without it, it’s good to get your favorites. For example, I really like grapes and watermelon. Picking favorites will ensure that I will want to eat it and maybe even leave space for it. Find a way to get your favorite healthy foods.

2. First thing in the morning: Heathy Breakfast!
Eating a healthy breakfast starts your day of right. Opt for more fruits and even vegetables if you know that you will not be eating that much of it during the day.  Having oatmeal or whole wheat toast also helps with your day’s fibre intake.

It’s not that after eating a really wholesome breakfast, you can forget about eating well for the rest of the day, but it helps me reach a healthy standard when I know I will be BBQing with family, eating at restaurants (probably more high fat/high sodium) or too busy sightseeing to stop for a decent meal.

3. Set aside one meal where you pay more attention to the nutrition in your meal!
As a student, traveling means spending more money. Doing groceries saves money and helps me stay healthy. I like to save money and watch my total caloric intake very carefully while I am away.  I pick meals or days where I make sure I eat lower calories or just get more nutrients in much the same manner as I watch every dollar I spend.

I hope these tips are helpful! I admit that I don’t always follow them, but having them at the back of my mind helps keeps me in line.

How do you eat when you travel? How do you remind yourself to stay on top of your nutrition? What are some of YOUR tips?

With a satisfied stomach,
– D the Intern

Spicy Moroccan Seafood Couscous

Sorry to all my readers for I’m sure, worrying you all into thinking something bad has happened to me and I got kidnapped on my way home or I got hit by a car while crossing the street. Oh wait, that’s just you, Mom. But to the rest of you! I’m just busy with exams and drowning in stress, and the craziness of stress-filled roommates.

Tonight, decided to take a night off (um… again), and made this from the Jamie Oliver Revolution cookbook. Spicy Moroccan Seafood Couscous. It has cinnamon in it and wow, it smelled sooo good, I’d make it just to smell it! As for the taste, I guess you’ll have to make it and find out! 🙂

I used one of my roommate’s camera and the quality is amazing!!

you’re supposed to use fresh basil though.

Here’s the excerpt from the book! (p.26)


1 cup quick-cook couscous
olive oil
2 lemons
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves of garlic
1 fresh red chile
a bunch of fresh basil
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
½ tsp ground cinnamon
2 – 6-oz white fish fillets
½ pound large shrimp, raw peeled
1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes (OR I think I will try to use fresh tomatoes next time to keep the sodium content at a low)
2 handfuls of fresh or frozen peas, fava beans or green beans (or use a mixture)

*if your sauce ends up being really watery, you might want to add a tiny amount of cornstarch mixed with water, to thicken it up just a little bit.


Put the couscous into a bowl and add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Halve the lemons and squeeze in the juice from two of the halves. Add a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour in just enough boiling water to cover the couscous, then cover the bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. Let the couscous soak up the water for 10 minutes.

Put a large saucepan on medium heat. Peel and finely slice your garlic. Finely slice your chile. Pick the basil leaves off the stalks. Put the smaller ones to one side and roughly chop the larger ones. Add a couple of lugs of olive oil to the hot pan. Add the garlic, chile, basil, cumin seeds and cinnamon. Give it all a stir and put the fish fillets on top. Scatter over the shrimp. Add the canned tomatoes and the peas and beans. Squeeze in the juice from the two remaining lemon halves (**Note: I found that two lemon halves are bordering on overwhelming, so I recommend just using one half). Put a lid on the pan. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the fish is cooked through and flakes easily. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

By the time the fish is cooked, the couscous should have sucked up all the water and be ready to serve. Spoon the couscous into a large serving bowl and give it a stir with a fork to help it fluff up. Top with the fish, vegetables and juices from the pan, sprinkle with the reserved basil leaves, and tuck in!


this is the page from the book portraying the different steps! (I forgot to take my own)


mine wins because it’s real.

Hope you all enjoy!! 🙂

🙂 🙂 🙂

– D the Intern

Easy & Fast Delicious Zucchini Enchiladas

Yes, zucchinis. Again.

And I didn’t even like zucchini’s 3 months ago. I realized that if you shred it, the texture isn’t really that bad! And it tastes pretty good! My mom just made zucchini dumplings from scratch and they’re also very good.

Moving on, a few days ago, I was on Pinterest and saw a recipe for zucchini enchiladas. As a high schooler, I used to love cafeteria enchiladas. My girlfriends and I always got excited when we saw the menu while standing in that narrow line that led to the doors of the kitchen.

Cheesy Zucchini Enchiladas
Adapted from skinnytaste.com

Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 4 • Serving Size: 1 large enchilada (it’s pretty filling, you’d be surprised)
Calories: 258.7 • Fat: 13.5 g • Protein: 22 g • Carb: 30.2 g • Fiber: 16.9 g 

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 medium scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 medium zucchinis (I used part of my giant one), grated (not peeled!)
  • fresh ground pepper (I took out the salt here too because it barely makes a difference with the cheese there)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheese (I used cheddar, the original recipe called for mexican blend)
  • 4 large tortillas (I used a bunch of small ones and one small one was actually enough for me)
  • chopped scallions (optional but come on.)
  • chopped cilantro (optional but come on. it’s cilantro, baby)

Enchilada sauce:

  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chilis(optional for more heat) (I skipped because my mom doesn’t take spicy very well)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce (looked for sauce in jars! If you have paste, you can use that too and water it down and use whatever herbs and spices you see fit)
  • 1/4 tsp chipotle chili powder (to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp dry basil or oregano
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • pepper to taste (I omit the salt completely because the tomato sauce/paste usually has a considerable amount – remember try looking at the nutritional info on the side of the cans, sometimes off-brand labels put much less salt in their product!)

For the enchilada sauce: in a medium saucepan, add oil and sauté garlic. Add chili powder, cumin, broth, tomato sauce and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Saute the ingredients together, adding the zucchini last after the garlic and scallions have browned and you can smell it! Add the cheese only once you’ve taken the pan off the heat after sauteing the zucchini for a few minutes, this way, the cheese won’t burn and will only melt with the zucchini. Pat a little onto the tortilla, wrap it, sauce it, grate some more cheese and bake it for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese has melted. Serve with cilantro and scallions!

Enjoy! It’s surprisingly reallyyyy tasty! My mom liked it so much, I made a second batch the next day!

– 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: http://montreal.about.com/od/foodwine/a/food_coops.htm


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 caryn@montrealnutrition.com]



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

Who wants a quick E.A.S.Y. recipe?

Easy Asian Style Peanut Noodles

Today, I’m going to let you all in on a little secret of mine and that is, my family’s recipe for Asian Style Peanut Noodles. More specifically, Cold Taiwanese Peanut Noodles! This dish is great for outdoor picnics and a treat on a hot summer day. It’s easy, quick and the ingredients are usually already in your refrigerator.

What you’ll need:

  • Spaghetti or Spaghettini(Whole Wheat)
  • Garlic
  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Peanut Butter
  • Water
  • Soy Sauce and Sesame Oil

Cook noodles al dente.

Rinse in cold water until cool.

Mince the garlic! Add lots and lots of garlic. I love garlic! We made a picnic portion so an entire box of spaghettini, we used an entire ball of garlic. I’d say half to one clove per bowl of noodles.

Equal Ratio of peanut butter to water, and mix till smooth. Per bowl, one spoonful of peanut butter. Add to taste later if not enough.

Mix till smooth!

Shredded Carros and Cucumbers. Leave the skin/peel on for cucumbers for more color.

Tablespoon of soy sauce per two servings(shown above) (so 1/2 for one).

Tablespoon of sesame oil per two servings also! It makes a huge difference!

Mix all the ingredients and the peanut butter mixture should be smooth enough to cover the plate of noodles. (Also, I’m sorry for not wiping the plate cleaner, the stains are bothering me so much!! Haha)

For protein, add shredded chicken or sauteed firm tofu! For a kick, add some asian hot sauce. My oh my, it is oh so good. Please try it!!!

– D the Intern