All posts by Laura Grande

Laura Grande is the editor for Slice. She was formerly the assistant editor for Food Network Canada and HGTV Canada. She also contributes to Complex Canada. Laura loves reading, writing, travelling and consuming all forms of pop culture — especially film, hockey and true crime podcasts.
The Big Bake Halloween judges reveal their favourite Halloween memories

The Big Bake Stars Reveal Their Favourite Halloween Memories

There’s no denying that the talented competitors on The Big Bake: Halloween have been simultaneously wowing us with their masterful creations while also putting us in a spooky state of mind with their ghoulish cakes. So, while the bakers continue to think outside the box when it comes to concocting jaw-dropping and scrumptious cakes as they vie for the $10,000 prize, we took the opportunity to catch up with host Brad Smith and resident judges Harry Eastwood and Eddie Jackson to ask them about their favourite childhood Halloween experiences.

Related: 50 Killer Recipes for Your Halloween Party

What are your favourite food memories around Halloween?

Brad Smith: “I’m a candy-holic. It was all about going out and getting as much candy as I could. But my mom, who is [usually] one of the worst cooks ever, used to do this pumpkin cheesecake for Halloween every year and it was just the best thing ever.”

Harry Eastwood: “I have a really great story! I grew up in France and we definitely didn’t have Halloween. England barely has it, but France absolutely did not have it in the 1990s, which is when I was a kid growing up there. But my grandmother, who was a very old-fashioned English woman, loved ghost stories. So she used to throw her own Halloween parties for just my sister and me and a couple of our school friends. Basically, she would do things like peel grapes and put them in buckets and turn the lights off so we’d dive in with our hands. She’d say, ‘Oh, those are eyeballs!’ She also used to make cookies with ketchup on them [for blood]. It was fairly basic and definitely not sophisticated but it was a lot of fun.”

Eddie Jackson: “First and foremost, I think pumpkin. Any type of pumpkin reminds me of Halloween because me and my dad would carve [them together]. I remember growing up, we used to do a lot of old school treats, like candy apples and things like that.”

Related: 45 Perfect Pumpkin Desserts to Make Your Fall Menu Sweeter

Growing up, what was your favourite Halloween costume? 

Brad Smith: “You know what’s funny? I’m allergic to cats but my mom used to dress me up in the family’s go-to hand-me-down cat costume. I wore that for four straight years, even when I outgrew it. It was a black leotard with a tail.”

Harry Eastwood: “I was never keen on anything ghoulish or zombie-like. I actually get really creeped out by those things, Any excuse I got, I would turn up at parties in a Tinkerbell outfit – basically [I loved] anything that involved pink and bells that jangled when I walked. I was all up in that.”

Eddie Jackson: “Growing up, I would throw a bedsheet over my head and call myself Casper the ghost. That costume is probably the one that stands out.”

Eddie isn’t the only one who loves a good DIY Halloween costume. If your kids are stuck on ideas this year, try one of these last-minute budget-friendly Halloween costumes using everyday household items.

Forget Salt: I Cooked With 6 Trending Spices to See if They’re Actually Worth the Hype

When it comes to food trends these days, there’s a plethora of constantly evolving options to test out, whether you’re heading to your favourite local haunt or whipping up a meal at home.

From za’atar to sumac, spices are essential to many international cuisines – and bringing different blends to your own kitchen can lend a certain authenticity to your dishes and provide more inspiration (not to mention bragging rights if you nail a new recipe).

According to Forbes, the average American home kitchen in 1950 contained only 10 spices, seasonings and extracts on average. Today, that number is more than 40. Considering we’re neighbours, I would imagine that number rings true for Canadians as well.

It speaks volumes as to how far we’ve come in North America when it comes to branching out and trying new foods. Where once we might have expressed reluctance, we’re now at the stage where we’re looking for fresh, healthy and exciting ingredients to add to our favourite recipes, expanding both our horizons and our palates.

Related: 15 Anti-Inflammatory Herbs and Spices

For this experiment of sorts, I kept an open mind. I looked into some of the most popular spices being searched online with the intention of trying them all. Some, such as baharat and asafoetida, proved elusive and difficult to track down while others – *cough* saffron *cough* – would have put a significant dent in my wallet. In the end, I found a solid list of six spices to test out at home.

With the exception of turmeric,  I hadn’t tried any of these trending spices before. And, considering how much I love a meal that quite literally sets my mouth on fire, I didn’t want to leave a world of flavour untapped by missing out.

So, if you’re building a chef-worthy pantry of dried spices, start with these top trendsetters. Here’s why.

1. Shichimi Togarashi

Brief history: This popular Japanese spice medley dates back to the 17th century when it was originally produced as a tasty condiment by herbalists in what is now modern day Tokyo. It’s a seven-spice blend that typically contains ground red chili pepper, sansho powder, roasted orange peel, black sesame seeds, white sesame seeds, ground ginger and nori seaweed. Other variations may substitute certain ingredients for poppy and/or hemp seeds instead.

Health benefits: Clear some space in your spice cabinet because, in addition to its great taste, Shichimi Togarashi packs a hefty nutritional punch. Thanks to its salt-free blend of various ingredients, it contains both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, fibre, calcium, iron, zinc and vitamins A, C and E.

Common uses: Sprinkle this versatile condiment over steamed rice, vegetables, udon noodles, grilled meats and soups or use to season popcorn, crackers, dry rubs or salad dressing.

The dish I made: Rice Bowl with Shichimi Togarashi-Spiced Sesame Chili Oil

Taste: I love spice – it was one of my favourite things about eating my way through Thailand a few years back. So chalk up my complete surprise at the hotness level of Shichimi Togarashi to my arrogance. I dipped my index finger directly into the finely ground blend to better give me an idea of how much to include in the recipe. Granted, I may have ingested too much at once: it was HOT. Since it had more of a kick than anticipated, I opted for a recipe where it was mixed in with a few other ingredients to help temper the level of spice. I wanted something that allowed Shichimi Togarashi to be the star of the dish without overpowering everything else in the bowl. In the end, I chose wisely, because mixing the store-bought blend with minced garlic, finely chopped shallots, slivered roasted peanuts and freshly grated ginger made for one unexpectedly addictive chili oil dressing. When I’m really hungry (which is most of the time), I still find myself thinking about it.

Not sure which additional spices to add to your pantry? Try these must-have kitchen spices.

2. Sumac

Brief history: The vibrant reddish-purple sumac shrub (one of about 35 species of familial flowering plants) is native to the Middle East and parts of Africa, and boasts gorgeous deep red berries that are dried and ground up into a coarse powder. In the past, sumac was commonly used to treat a variety of physical ailments. While the jury is still out on whether it actually worked for medicinal purposes, sumac definitely has plenty of health benefits.

Health benefits: Sumac has a reputation as an antioxidant powerhouse, above even fellow champion spices like oregano and cinnamon. Thanks to its antioxidant properties, it can help prevent heart disease and treat osteoarthritis in addition to lowering blood sugar levels. Sumac, when juiced, is also high in vitamin C.

Common uses: Mixes well with other spice blends, dry rubs, marinades and sprinkled over salads. It pairs best with chicken, fish and vegetables. Thanks to its deep red hue, it also adds a beautiful pop of colour to any dish.

The dish I made: Sheet Pan Sumac Chicken Thighs with Roasted Potatoes and Broccoli

Taste: With its tangy, lemony flavour, I’m convinced sumac can pair nicely with just about any dish. I found it so surprisingly rich in lemon flavour, in fact, that I sprinkled it generously over both the chicken thighs and the roasted potato and broccoli side combo. It was like a mini citrus heaven. Less tart than an actual lemon, it’s a great substitute for those who have a citric acid intolerance like my husband. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried a new spice or herb in a recipe only to find its flavour gets overpowered by other items on the plate. My next experiment will involve sprinkling sumac over fish to see if it really can provide the same great taste as lemon zest. If so, I’ll never have to worry about being out of lemons again.

Looking for a delicious sumac-flavoured side dish for your dinner main? Try this Grilled Corn on the Cob with Sumac Butter.

3. Za’atar

Brief history: Throughout history, housewives in the Middle East and North Africa concocted their own variations of za’atar. Therefore, much like Shichimi Togarashi, there can be a variety of blends to choose from. In fact, there are so many ways of mixing together all the herbs and spices that make up this popular condiment that a definitive origin mixture has proven illusive to historians and chefs alike. What we do know, however, is that it has been a staple in Arab cuisine since medieval times and only continues to increase in popularity worldwide.

Health benefits: Za’atar contains various properties that can help soothe inflammation, increase energy levels, clear the respiratory tract and can also be added to food as a preventative if you feel a head cold coming on – so keep it in stock during winter’s dreaded cold and flu season.

Common uses: It makes for great seasoning on meat and vegetables or sprinkled over hummus. Za’atar is often eaten with labneh (a drained yogurt that forms a tangy cream cheese) and is sometimes served with bread and olive oil for breakfast in Jordan, Palestine, Israel, Syria and Lebanon.

The dish I made: Za’atar Roasted Tomatoes

Taste: Funnily enough, sumac is usually the star of za’atar blends. Dried sumac often makes up a significant portion of the mixture, along with toasted sesame seeds, thyme, oregano, marjoram and salt. In reading up on it, I’ve come across references to it being called “slightly sour and nutty” in taste, which I didn’t find was the case in my experience. This could be attributed to the fact that there is no “right way” to make za’atar and, while I definitely found it to be nutty in taste (“woodsy” is what I said to my husband), I noticed a hint of lemon (albeit much more herbaceous in taste) which makes sense given the sumac connection.

Za’atar also pairs well with chickpeas, like in this Smoky Chickpeas on Grilled Toast with Poached Eggs and Za’atar recipe.

4. Moringa

Brief history: Earlier this year, I’d gotten into a conversation about moringa with the lovely lady I buy my loose leaf tea from here in Toronto, so I was thrilled to discover it’s trending upward in culinary culture as it gave me an excuse to introduce it in this experiment. Moringa oleifera, also known as a drumstick tree, is native to India, Pakistan and Nepal. It’s fragile leaves are the most popular part of the plant and can be eaten whole in salads or dried and ground up to drink as tea or used in soups, curries and sauces. According to some sources, in developing countries the leaf powder is sometimes used as soap for hand washing.

Health benefits: It’s time for kale and matcha to move over and make room for a new supergreen superstar. Moringa leaves contain significant amounts of vitamins B, C and K, as well as protein and other essential nutrients. Despite being caffeine-free, it’s nature’s natural energy booster. It’s even been likened to a “miracle tree.” According to a study from the US National Library of Medicine, moringa trees have proven to be remarkably drought-resistant, making them a “critical nutritional resource” in areas affected by climate change.

Common uses: Dried into tea leaves, or have the powder sprinkled into yogurts, juices and smoothies.

The dish I made: Moringa Tea

Taste: Although it smells like a peppery version of green tea, don’t let your nose fool you. Despite a slightly bitter taste on the first sip, it reminded me a lot of, well, salad. It’s like plucking the leaf off a tree and dropping it directly into your tea mug. My tea lady sings the praises of moringa, telling me that as a child growing up in India she would often eat the leaves as a midday mini-salad snack.

5. Harissa

Brief history: This Tunisian hot chili spice typically consists of roasted red peppers, serrano peppers, coriander seeds, garlic paste, saffron and olive oil – so it’s definitely only for those who like it hot. Harissa is sometimes referred to as “Tunisia’s main condiment” and it’s the North African country’s biggest export. It’s posited that chili peppers were first introduced to Tunisians during Spanish occupation in the 16th century, so it’s accurate to say the condiment has been a main cuisine staple in the area for ages.

Health benefits: It’s usually made with red chili peppers that are rich in vitamins E, C, K, B6, iron, magnesium and copper, which means it’s high in both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as well as provides relief from symptoms of rheumatism, osteoarthritis and head colds. In addition, it has been known to boost metabolism.

Common uses:  Traditionally served alongside stews and couscous dishes, harissa can also lend its spicy taste to roasted veggies, salad dressing, dry rubs, hummus or sprinkled on eggs for a fiery breakfast.

The dish I made: Harissa Chicken with Roasted Chickpeas

Taste: Every bite is like fire and garlic, and I loved every minute of it, even as my tongue felt like a flame. Fully aware that this would be considered the spiciest spice on this list – Shichimi Togarashi paled in comparison – I was cautious with how much harissa I sprinkled over my chicken. I kept the roasted chickpeas harissa-free just to give my mouth a break in between bites. I’d recommend using it only if you’re craving a hot dish. But trust me when I say it’s worth the literal sweat that will pour off your brow.

Start enjoying some of harissa’s great health benefits with this Harissa-Marinated Chicken Skewers with Couscous recipe this weekend.

6. Turmeric

Brief history: Bold and beautiful, turmeric is a flowering plant from the ginger family whose roots are used for cooking purposes. A native to India and Southeast Asia, it’s a stunning addition to any dish thanks to its deep orange-yellow colouring. Although many begrudge its innate ability to stain just about anything in its path – farewell, Hudson’s Bay dish cloth – its rich flavour more than makes up for that ruined wooden spoon or your discoloured fingertips.

Health benefits: There are plenty of healthy positives to introducing more turmeric into your diet, although it bears mentioning that it’s the curcumin (the bright yellow chemical produced by the flowering plant) in the turmeric that does all the heavy lifting, and contains significant anti-inflammatory properties and is a rich source of many vitamins and minerals, including lowering the risk of heart disease, potentially helping prevent certain cancers and soothing arthritis pain.

Common uses: Toss it with roasted vegetables, sprinkle it over frittatas, add it to rice, use it in soups, sip it as a tea or blend it in a smoothie. The possibilities are endless, really.

The dish I made: Fast-Grilled Garlic Shrimp with Turmeric Rice

Taste: Despite the fact that it looks like ginger’s identical twin, turmeric tastes nothing like its relative. Its earthy-sweetness is far milder. Some have said they’ve noticed a bitter edge to turmeric, but I didn’t pick up on it even after dousing my rice in it.

Curious about trying it in a drink? Whip up this caffeine-free Turmeric Latte the next time you’re feeling thirsty.

And the winner is …

My biggest takeaway from this assignment is that even for someone like myself who enjoys a variety of spices, herbs and other flavours, I’ve merely scratched the surface as to what is available and how it can be incorporated into my weekly meal planning. If I had to choose a favourite from the six spices I recently tried, my pick would be Shichimi Togarashi for the mere fact that it blended so beautifully with the other ingredients that made up the sesame chili oil. I love a spice that you can clearly taste but doesn’t overpower all the other rich flavours in the dish.

Why Custom Catering is Becoming the Next Best Dining Experience

When it comes to food trends, 2019 has been all about consumers dictating which ingredients wind up on their plates – not to mention the cultivation of Instagram-worthy experiences. We’re demanding more healthy, sustainable farm-to-table options of our own choosing while also being given the opportunity to flaunt our food photography skills by capturing the latest crazes to emerge from the culinary world.

That’s where custom catering and grazing tables come in – merging big, diverse and beautiful displays that showcase our love of food with unique experiences you can enjoy with family and friends. From spectacular styling to high-quality ingredients (wave goodbye to processed meats!), these tables and platters make for a showstopping bespoke dining experience.

Aliza Devenyi, who co-owns Toronto’s cured.catering with Zoë Wisenberg, can attest to the high demand for photo-ready displays. “Most clients are concerned about the ‘wow’ factor,” she says, referring to the stunning table-sized charcuterie boards (pictured) she and Zoë specialize in. “Clients want an impressive, beautiful and, most importantly, delicious spread.”

According to a recent survey on millennial spending habits, more than 3 in 4 (78 per cent) said they would choose to spend their hard-earned cash on desirable experiences over material things. This pattern in spending habits is what economists are referring to as the “experience economy”, and its influence on food culture is undeniable – foodies need only look to the growing trends in farm-to-table options, custom catering and grazing tables for evidence.

“[They’re] not only a beautiful focal point for any party, but they provide a fun, interactive and customizable experience for guests,” Devenyi adds. “Gone are the days of stuffy dinner parties with complicated cuisines.”

A Visual Feast

For the uninitiated, a grazing table or supersized charcuterie board may resemble a traditional buffet at first – but instead of stacking a plate high with a limited selection of food, they instead allow guests to walk by, pop a bite-sized item into their mouths and keep mingling with the crowd. After all, nothing brings a group of people together quite like a table gorgeously styled with a rainbow assortment of drool-worthy foods to choose from.

And, as companies like cured.catering have proven, grazing tables or super-sized charcuterie boards are also genuine works of art. Even Pinterest is reporting that searches for grazing tables have skyrocketed by more than 163 per cent in the last year – and you can credit that surge in popularity to its Instagram-ready displays and communal experiences.

It also allows for customizing to suit a variety of dietary needs as people become more vocal about taking ownership of what’s on their plates.

With the growing number of dietary requirements, Devenyi and her business partner Wisenberg have had to get creative, sometimes crafting tables with a 50/50 balance of meat and vegetarian options. Think: prosciutto and honey paired with blue cheese (a personal favourite of hers) or something like vegan cashew “cheese” balls and thinly sliced veggies with nuts.

“We’ve noticed an increased demand in requests for offerings that cater to specific dietary needs, like gluten sensitivity, dairy-free and vegan,” she says. “We also have people asking for lighter options, such as more fruit and crudités.”

All of cured.catering’s creations are made up of locally-sourced produce, meats and specialty cheeses – something more foodies are taking note of when choosing where to spend their money.  As the business has developed, so too has its offerings, including all fruit or dessert tables – and candy tables for those with a major sweet tooth.

It’s apparent from rainbow bagels to epic spreads that people are eating with their eyes now more than ever before, with no signs of the trend abating anytime soon, including the ability to pick and choose how and what food you consume.

“Every bite has the power to be a different, transformative taste, which is why I think it’s so popular,” Devenyi says. “It’s not a plated meal, but rather … a way for guests to get creative and indulge in their hearts’ desires.”

All photos courtesy of cured.catering 

Chefs Test Their Grilling Skills Against All-Star Judges in New Show, Fire Masters

Ready, set, GRILL! Food Network Canada’s all-new BBQ series, Fire Masters, is the epitome of trial by fire. The sizzling grilling competition premieres Thursday, March 21 at 10 E/P.

Each week, with the clock ticking, three chefs will have their grilling skills put to the ultimate test as they embark on a fiery three-part culinary challenge that requires them to create a variety of mouthwatering dishes. One chef is eliminated during each of the first two rounds, with the last remaining chef going head-to-head against one incredibly formidable opponent — one of the Fire Masters judges! In the thrilling final round, with a championship title and $10,000 cash prize on the line, the chef and judge fight fire with fire to create a sumptuous three-course meal — with only one victor.

Hosted by Canadian chef Dylan Benoit, who will supervise the grill masters during their challenges and add his expertise to the judges’ deliberations, Fire Masters highlights culinary talent from across North America, including competitors from Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton and Mount Pearl, among others.

The  judges appearing in the inaugural season of Fire Masters are:

  • Kevin Bludso, Los Angeles, CA (Bludso’s BBQ)
  • Mike Callaghan, London, ON (International Pitmaster)
  • Connie DeSousa, Calgary, AB (CHARCUT Roast House, charbar, Alley Burger, Rooftop Bar @ Simmons, Top Chef Canada, Season 1 and All-Stars)
  • Tiffani Faison, Boston, MA (Sweet Cheeks, Tiger Mama, Fool’s Errand)
  • Nicole Gomes, Calgary, AB (Nicole Gourmet Catering, Cluck N’ Cleaver, Top Chef Canada, Season 3 and All-Stars winner)
  • Andy Husbands, Boston, MA (The Smoke Shop)
  • Eddie Jackson, Houston, TX (Rose Hill Beer Garden, Fit Chef Studio, Food Network Star, Christmas Cookie Challenge)
  • Ray “Dr BBQ” Lampe, St. Petersburg, FL (Dr. BBQ)
  • Dale MacKay, Saskatoon, SK (Ayden Kitchen & Bar, Little Grouse on the Prairie, Sticks and Stones, Avenue Restaurant, Top Chef Canada, Season 1 winner)
  • Hugh Mangum, New York City, NY (Mighty Quinn’s Barbeque)
  • Amy Mills, Murphysboro, IL (17th Street Barbecue, OnCue Consulting)
  • Andrea Nicholson, Toronto, ON (Butchies, Top Chef Canada, Season 1 and All-Stars)
  • Devan Rajkumar, Toronto, ON (ChefDev Catering Company)

Fans of other Food Network Canada series will spot a few familiar faces among the judges. Watch for Top Chef Canada alumni such as Le Cordon Bleu-trained culinary master Connie DeSousa, Calgary restauranteur Nicole Gomes and Saskatoon chef Dale MacKay, among others, as they weigh in with their decades of culinary expertise as guest judges.

If you can’t get enough of watching competitors blaze their way to the top, read on to meet the talented chefs who will be taking on the scorching challenges this season.

Canada's Updated Food Guide

10 Biggest Dos and Don’ts From Canada’s Brand New Food Guide

When Canada’s long-anticipated food guide overhaul was recently unveiled, the overriding message was loud and clear: eat more plant-based fare. In its first major update in more than 12 years, the new guide has widened its scope and reminds Canadians to cook at home more often, be mindful in their eating habits and be conscious of food marketing in an effort to limit their intake of sodium, sugar and saturated fats. As many health professionals predicted, the 62-page guide also emphasizes the importance of getting protein from plant-based sources such as beans, nuts and lentils, rather than opting for animal-based foods such as meat and poultry. No doubt the verdict came as a surprise to consumers, who grew up learning about the four distinct food groups that Canada’s Food Guide once touted as essential to a healthy diet. So, what exactly has changed? A lot, as it turns out.

Here we look at the major dos and don’ts from Canada’s updated food guide:

1. DO Prioritize Protein-Rich Foods
Pack a protein punch by introducing more nutrition powerhouses into your everyday diet. Items such as nuts, legumes, seeds, tofu, fish, eggs and lean red meat, among others, helps the immune system stay in tip-top shape and keeps us lean. To make the transition a little easier, stock your fridge and cupboards with hard-boiled eggs, canned beans and protein bars or powders so you’ll always have them on hand to add to your favourite recipe or enjoy as a snack.


Get the recipes for 28 High-Protein Vegetarian Meals

2. DO Consider More Plant-Based Foods
While many animal-based foods are nutritious and delicious, the new food guide places a stronger emphasis on plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and plant-based proteins, which can help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Although this has drawn the ire of big meat and dairy producers, health professionals claim it’s for the betterment of both our health and the environment.

Get the recipes for 20 Easy Vegan Weeknight Dinner Recipes

3. DO Become BFFs With Water
As the latest food guide overhaul makes abundantly clear, water should now and forever be your “beverage of choice.” That’s right, in an effort to keep us hydrated and curb the amount of sugary soft drinks and juices consumed (not to mention alcohol), water is the way to go from here on in. If that all sounds a little… well …repetitive and dull, consider adding flavour to your H20 with a handful of your favourite fruits, veggie slices or a dash of herbs such as mint or basil. Another option is to incorporate more water-rich foods into your diet, such as cucumber, watermelon and zucchini. If all else fails, there’s an app for that! The free Daily Water app can help you track your daily H20 intake and, before you know it, you’ll be opting for water over a soft drink or glass of wine at your next meal or social gathering.

4. DO Expand Your Palate
Canada boasts a rich diversity that can be seen in the variety of traditions, cultures and lifestyles that make up our nation – and the latest guide wants us to expand our food repertoire by exploring recipes outside our palate’s comfort zone. For those less adventurous foodies, you can start by trying something new every day, starting with items in a similar taste group (“flavour families”) as one of your favourite foods. For example, if you prefer sweet foods such as corn, then you’ll probably also enjoy parsnips and butternut squash.

Get the recipes for 13 Must-Try Canadian Foods by Province

5. DO Consider the Environment
While the overall health of Canadians is the main focus of the recent food guide updates, our actions – and what we choose to consume on a regular basis – do have a lasting impact on the environment. For example, there is strong evidence that eating more plant-based foods (and, by default, less animal-based products) affects greenhouse gas emissions, the amount of land used and pollutants produced. So go ahead and reduce your carbon footprint by opting for more plant-based proteins.

6. DON’T Confuse Whole Grains with Whole Wheat
With an influx of fibre, iron, plant-based protein and B vitamins, whole grains sure pack a considerable nutritional punch. Whole grain kernels are divided into three distinct parts: bran (outer shell packed with fibre and antioxidants), endosperm (middle layer made up of carbs) and germ (inner layer chock-full of minerals, proteins and vitamins). It also allows for a lot of versatility in the kitchen, as quinoa, wild rice, bulgur, oatmeal and millet, among others, are all considered whole grains.

Get the recipes for 10 Healthiest Whole Grains and How to Cook Them

7. DON’T Netflix and Nosh
We may not want to admit it, but most of us are serial snackers – whether we’re unconsciously doing it while watching TV at the end of a long work day or indulging in an assortment of goodies at a social gathering. A more mindful approach to help you “snack smart” includes selecting healthier versions of some of your go-to staples (instead of fries or chips, for example, you can opt for sweet potato fries. Yum!).

8. DON’T Waste Food
It happens: Produce goes bad, post-party scraps end up in the trash, and sometimes leftovers are tossed out instead of saved for a later date. According to the updated Canada Food Guide, however, a whopping annual average of $31 billion in wasted food is discarded due to impulse shopping, poor storage and unnecessarily large meals. To combat the issue – and help save the planet in the process – consider keeping everything neat and visible in your fridge so you’re always aware of what food you have and, when preparing for a meal, be conscious of serving sizes. You can further reduce household waste by preserving leftovers, donating unused non-perishable items and understanding expiration dates. It’ll save you money in the long run, as well.


See here for 8 Ways to Cut Food Waste in Your Kitchen

9. DON’T Fall for Fad Diets
You’ve seen ads for them everywhere, from TV to Instagram, extolling the virtues of the latest fad diet for quick-fix weight loss. Instead of cutting out certain foods or restricting your intake, consider incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet and opting for portion-controlled meals consisting of lean meats and fish. Enjoying a well-balanced breakfast every morning also goes a long way toward keeping your stomach satiated while waiting for your next meal – no diet required.

10. DON’T Ignore Food Labels – Especially Now
Sugar, along with saturated fat and sodium, are included in a group of items to cut back on. In fact, soft drinks are the number one source of sugar in the average Canadian diet. Cutting back on processed foods and reading food labels are easy ways to reduce your sugar and sodium intake. In addition, Health Canada has updated its nutrition label regulations, requiring that all sugar-based ingredients be listed in descending order by weight going forward. Food producers have three years to comply with this latest regulation.