HeartCORE’s March Blog by Rachael

March is Nutrition Month!


This month’s blog will be outlining the role of the dietitian, as well as highlighting solutions to some common meal planning misconceptions.


Dietitians are regulated health professionals that have completed at least a 4 year bachelor degree in the study of nutrition, followed by an internship or practicum. Their roles vary from nutrition counselling practice, to chronic disease management, primary care, long-term care, grocery stores, community outreach programs, athletic teams in sport nutrition, or the food industry. Whatever role they have, dietitians use current evidence-based information to deliver service and improve the overall health of the public.


Misconception #1: Meal Planning is Time Consuming

Yes, meal planning can take some time upfront. But it pays back in dividends later in the week when you’re starving and without a meal! By simply preparing large batches on one day, you can divide and either freeze them for later, or eat the leftovers later that week. Soups, stews, casseroles and stir-fries all freeze well to be heated up later.

And it’s not just meals! Fruits that are packed by nature (apples, oranges, bananas, pears) as well as nuts and seeds are great for snacks. If you feel pinched for time, buy pre-cut raw veggies that can be used for snacking, salads, stir-fries, pasta dishes, or soups.


Misconception #2: There’s no need to prepare for the unexpected

While meal-planning is one of the top strategies to avoid pitfalls and plan healthy meals and snacks, we also know that life can get in the way pretty fast. This can be challenging for individuals striving for a healthier lifestyle, but sometimes we can mitigate the curve balls life throws at us. Try keeping high protein and high fibre snacks in your glove compartment or purse for when you are unexpectedly on the go, preventing a stop at a fast food joint. This could include high quality protein bars, small cans of tuna, or healthy trail mix.


Misconception #3: Meal Planning is Boring

Not everyone was born a chef who loves to cook. But by using it as an opportunity to get creative, make it a learning experience, or make it social, meal planning can become second nature, and even something you look forward to. There are many websites that can help you get started.


Recipe Mania!  Mix and match a breakfast staple: SMOOTHIE / SMOOTHIE BOWL

Choose 1 from each category and mix together to make exactly what you like. Or get creative and experiment with different combinations.



Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are higher in fibre compared to sweeter tropical fruits such as papaya, mango, and pineapple. These can be occasionally interspersed, or try ¼ c sweeter fruit, ¼ c high fibre fruit.


Dairy or Dairy alternative:

Plain Greek yogurt and cottage cheese are great options that are high in protein and lower in sugar, other than their naturally occurring lactose.

No dairy? No problem! Soy milk takes the cake for protein content in plant-based drinks, but nut or coconut milks can be used too. Try silken tofu, coconut or soy-based yogurts for other thickeners.



Fibre buds, fibre flakes, Flax seed (ground or whole), slivered almonds, seeds.


Grains if preparing the night before:

rolled oats, chia seeds



Rachael is an intern who will be with Heart Niagara for the coming months. She has a Bachelor of Applied Science degree from the University of Guelph majoring in Applied Human Nutrition, and is currently completing a graduate certificate in Exercise Science for Health and Performance at Niagara College while pursuing an internship and career in dietetics.
Using her past and current education she will be making suggestions for healthy lifestyle changes, recipe improvements, discussing the importance of vitamins and minerals, as well as common fads (and how they can be harmful). She will also be touching on topics in the world of exercise science, and dispelling myths in that field.
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