Weeknight Meal Tips from the #loveONTfood Twitter Party

Cheddar cornbread tops

@GoodinGrain joined the #loveONTfood Twitter party last night for Ontario Agriculture Week. In case you missed it, here are a few great recipes and tips from Ontario food producers. Make sure to check out the #loveONTfood hashtag for tons of weeknight meal tips and recipes, and check Good in Every Grain for recipes that feature Ontario corn, soybeans, and wheat.

There were also plenty of over-achievers:

(and a little bit of self promotion):

Thanks to everyone that participated and congratulations to the winners of three #loveONTfood prize packs (including Good in Every Grain t shirts): @Charlalotta, @Prettyk612, and @Zac_maniac!

Healthy Lunches Help Fuel Active, Smart Children

Whole grain pizzadillas and tofu ranch dipping saunce

Cara Rosenbloom, Registered Dietitian & mom

What’s the best way to help your children get good grades and have energy for long afternoons at school? Pack a healthy lunch! Here are some tips.

Excel at school

When children eat a well-balanced lunch, it’s easier for them to concentrate at school and have energy for afternoon activities. A nutrient-sparse lunch will make them more likely to reach for unhealthy recess snacks, when energy is low and sugar cravings kick in. This could lead to weight gain and health problems down the road.

Studies show than in addition to providing energy, healthy lunches filled with whole grains, vegetables, fruit and protein can lead to better grades and higher scores on standardized tests, especially when compared with children eating high-fat, salty lunches.

Carbohydrate-containing foods, such as whole grain wheat, corn and soybeans, are crucial for brain health. The Grain Product food group in Canada’s Food Guide provides carbohydrates to the bloodstream to fuel the mitochondrial furnaces responsible for your child’s brain power.

Lunches that kids love

The healthiest carbohydrates include whole grains, vegetables, fruits and beans. They promote good health by delivering vitamins, minerals and fibre, which are required for normal growth and development. Grab that lunchbox and pack meals made with four food groups:

  • Vegetables and fruit
  • Grain Products
  • Milk and alternatives
  • Meat and alternatives

Most kids love sandwiches, which are a great way to ensure they get a serving of Grain Products, a staple food group in Canada’s Food Guide, and carb-rich brain fuel. Stack protein and vegetables on different shapes and sizes of breads. Use cookie-cutters to cut sandwiches into children’s favourite shapes.

Pack whole grain crackers with cheese, or make modern ants-on-a-log with soy butter and currants on celery to harness brain power. Visit www.healthygrainsinstitute.ca for more ideas.

Winter Wheat Planting in Ontario

Wheat ready for harvest

While we usually think of fall as harvest time, you might not realize that a great deal of planting for the new year is already underway in Ontario. Across North America, Europe, and northern Asia, farmers plant winter wheat that will be harvested in the spring.

Winter wheat is harder than other wheats, and it has a higher gluten protein content (in its food uses, gluten is the protein that gives dough elasticity to rise and keep its shape). Winter wheat is used to produce flour for yeast breads and other chewy grain products; it is also blended with soft spring wheat to produce all purpose flour.

When farmers plant wheat in the fall, it must survive the cold winter. A process inside the plant called vernalization is what allows plants to flower in the spring, after long periods of colder weather. Many other species of plants undergo vernalization, including a variety of fruit tree species and annual and biennial flowering plants.

There are several varieties of winter wheat grown in Ontario, and wheat breeders are interested in learning more about and furthering the crop’s resistance to major diseases by developing new varieties. In a new partnership with Grain Farmers of Ontario and SeCan, the University of Guelph has hired Dr. Ali Navabi to fill a new professorship in wheat breeding in the department of plant agriculture. Researchers like Dr. Navabi hope to develop new varieties of wheat that will directly benefit farmers across Ontario. You can read more about Dr. Navabi and his research in the most recent issue of Ontario Grain Farmer magazine, and online here.

Does My Child Require a Gluten-Free Diet?

Everyday 100% Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread

Cara Rosenbloom, Registered Dietitian & mom

Most kids adore pasta, bread and birthday cake – all made with wheat. But wheat contains gluten, a type of protein that has made headlines, and is the subject of questions from concerned parents. Is it okay for your kids to eat gluten? Let’s look at the evidence-based science to find out.

Who requires a gluten-free diet?

Celebrity endorsements and best-selling diet books focus on the glamour of going gluten free, but this popular diet is not meant for everyone.

Gluten-free foods are solely meant for people with celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects about one percent of Canadians. It’s also medically necessary for people with a wheat allergy or gluten intolerance. Otherwise, there is no reason for children to follow a gluten free diet.

Gluten is simply a protein found in wheat, rye and barley — staple foods that children enjoy. These foods add much-needed fibre, B vitamins, magnesium, iron and zinc to the diet – which are essential for normal growth and development.

I hear wheat has changed – is it harmful?

In a recent study, Canadian researchers grew wheat from seeds dating back to 1876. When comparing the genetic profile of the harvested wheat, they learned that there has not been a measurable change in the amount of protein and the composition of wheat since 1876. This negates all ideas to the contrary, which were simply based on speculations, but not on science.

Excluding gluten from a child’s diet for no medical reason has drawbacks

Gluten-free products are often made with less fibre and more sugar, salt, fat and refined starches than their gluten-containing counterparts, plus they cost an average of 162 per cent more. Grain Products are a staple food group in Canada’s Food Guide, and provide fuel for your child’s brain. If you are concerned your child has celiac disease, get them tested BEFORE you exclude gluten from their diet.

Cara Rosenbloom On How To Spice Up School Lunches

We’re nearly a month into the school year, which means parents and kids are starting to get the hang of home work, after school activities and early morning routines. For parents, packing a healthy, balanced lunch becomes one of the most important routines. Registered Dietitian and mom shared her tips for packing nutritious, yet easy school lunches kids will eat.

Need to freshen up your kids’ lunch box? Cara created two balanced meals, perfect to set your kids up for a successful day at school. Test them for yourself!



Check out this Global Morning Show Toronto segment for helpful advice:
Cara Rosenbloom On How To Spice Up School Lunches. •