March is nutrition month! To celebrate, The BUSY Lab spoke with UHN registered dietitian, Fatim Ajwani to hear some healthy eating tips specific for LMP staff.
Fatim has worked at UHN for over 14 years helping patients make healthy nutrition choices. She is primarily at Toronto Rehab where she works closely with cardiovascular outpatients, but Fatim also speaks with UHN staff on Fridays at Toronto General Hospital’s Oasis Wellness Centre. Fatim and the entire UHN dietitian team help patients and staff with various types of nutrition goals, including those related to: healthy eating, living with a chronic illness, high risk pregnancy, lifestyle diets, and nutritional supplements.
Regardless of who Fatim is working with the focus is always on delivering evidence based, credible information on healthy eating, and helping one succeed in their healthy eating goals.
In response to why staff should speak with a registered dietitian at UHN, Fatim says, “it’s right here; it’s easy to fit into a schedule; there’s a cost savings compared to outside dietitians, and; it’s geared towards the UHN lifestyle.” She adds, that there’s no one size fits all approach to healthy eating, so it’s important for everyone to find out what works best for them.
Read on to learn Fatim’s LMP healthy eating tips. We’re sure there’s at least one category that speaks to you!
Do you work in Rapid Response or Core Lab and have shifts that are regularly changing? Then this advice is for you.
Eat your main meal a few hours before going to work. Then, at work have a small meal and one or two snacks during your shift. Bring healthy homemade meals and snacks to make it easier to eat well on your shift and decrease the temptation to grab something sugary from the vending machine or coffee shop. Drink lots of water to prevent dehydration and help you to feel more alert during your shift. Keep a reusable water bottle close by and refill it regularly.
Getting home from work late and tired? LMP staff commute from all over the GTA and beyond – if you’re one of LMP’s long commuters, you may be able to get a couple pointers here.
Make dinner quick and easy by prepping as much as you can beforehand. Make your weekly menu plan on the weekend so you can shop and have everything you need on hand for those busy weeknights. Pre-cut vegetables and washed salads save time. Frozen vegetables are easy and just as nutritious as fresh – steam them quickly as a side dish or add to pasta dishes and stir fry. Keep marinated meat or chicken in the fridge so it is ready to sauté or grill. Try using a slow cooker to make tasty one pot meals that will be ready to eat a soon as you get home.
Have only 15 minutes to grab a quick energy boost? Almost all of us are in need of a little pick-me-up, at some point during the day – find out how to make the most of it.
Have a snack that includes both fibre and protein to keep you feeling full longer. For example Greek yogurt plus fresh fruit; a small handful of nuts; whole grain crackers or apple slices with natural peanut or almond butter; raw veggies with hummus or bean dip. Click HERE for a great hummus recipe Fatim use regularly (there are also other great healthy eating tips, label reading info and recipes on the UHN Cardiac College website).
Lunch at work
This one’s for all LMP staff! A couple tips for planning your work lunches, and some suggestions on what foods we should include.
Bringing your own lunch is usually healthier than buying at the food court. Make planned leftovers the night before: pasta, soup, chili, chicken breast, stir fry or salads so you can grab something quickly in the morning. Always include lean protein, whole grains, vegetables and fruit. Drink water instead of sweetened beverages or juice. Add some canned salmon, chickpeas or egg to salad to turn into a meal. Or add beans, tofu or quinoa to a vegetable soup. Try avocado or hummus on your sandwich instead of mayo to add flavor and nutrients.
For more information on nutritional counseling for UHN employees click HERE, or call the Wellness Centre at (416) 340-4800 ext. 4486.
Also, check out these additional nutrition & recipe resources that Fatim suggests to help with your healthy eating goals:
- cookspiration.com: Healthy recipes by Dietitians of Canada – also comes as a free app
- eatracker.ca: Lets you analyze the nutrient content of the food you eat
- eatrightontario.ca: Healthy recipes and nutrition info. You can also have your nutrition questions answered by a dietitian by calling 1-877-510-5102.