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So far Laura Rosen Cohen has created 20 blog entries.

April 2017

Feel Great All Summer Long with a Healthy Plate

It’s hard to believe that exams are just around the corner. That means classes are over and summer is fast approaching!  We hope that you get an opportunity to relax and recharge as we move into a period of nicer weather. But the upcoming change in your schedule doesn’t mean you need to give up or eliminate established routines in your life.

When it comes to healthy eating, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to start. There’s so much information out there, so we’d like to break down our best advice into two practical tips:


Think about variety and portions and plan accordingly!

This past March we celebrated Nutrition Month and during our Nutrition Week we distributed our Building the Perfect Plate passport where we promoted the Eat Well Plate model for healthy eating (see sources below). For a meal that you can be confident is healthy and balanced, try to fill ½ of your plate with vegetables, ¼ of your plate with protein sources (i.e. meat, legumes or tofu), and ¼ of your plate with grains or starches (i.e. rice, potatoes, noodles). Including lots of vegetables in your diet is important because the vitamins and minerals you get from vegetables, such as potassium, fiber, folate, and vitamins A, E, and C, are vital for your health and can reduce your risk of developing many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and Type 2 Diabetes.  Try to eat a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables, in other words, eat the rainbow! The more variety your diet has, the better the chances of getting all of the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy.


To ensure that your eating is balanced overall, try to make healthy food choices at least 80% of the time, and restrict indulging in less healthy foods, such as those high in fat and sugar, to no more than 20% of the time!  Remember that treats are okay in moderation!  After all, who doesn’t love an ice cream cone or a popsicle on a hot summer day?

Congratulations on making it through the year and have a great and healthy summer break!

By Tanya Hill MPH Nutrition & Dietetics (candidate) for Food Services with files from Pooja Mansukhani, RD, BA Registered Dietitian and Food Safety Officer, University of Toronto


Healthy Canadians 

Healthy Eating 

Eat Right Ontario on Fruits and Vegetables 

Eat Right Ontario on Vitamins and Minerals 

Healthy Families: How Does the 80-20 Healthy Eating Rule Work? 


Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day was founded in the United States in 1970 and from its inception, was primarily focused on environmental issues. It was started by US Senator Gaylord Nelson, who found inspiration in the antiwar protests of the late 1960s. Nelson began with the goal of raising public awareness of air and water pollution, wanting to put environmental causes on the national radar. What started as a mass “teach in” on the environment quickly took on a life of its own, and is now celebrated by millions of people all around the world in various educational and activist capacities.

The key to Earth Day remains education, which gives individuals the knowledge with which to inspire action in defense of environmental protection.

The official Earth Day organization notes that environmental and climate literacy is actually the engine for creating green voters, advancing environmental and climate laws and policies, and also for accelerating green technologies and jobs.

For more information about ongoing environmental awareness programs and specific Earth Day activities on campus, check in with the U of T Sustainability Office.


History of Earth Day topics

Ecokids: Earth Play activities

General Earth Day information







Yes, Your Smartphone Can Keep You Smart During Exams!

Do you ever find yourself taking a longer study break than intended because you get lost scrolling through Instagram or Facebook? Browsing on your phone is an easy and enjoyable way to spend your study break, but why not use it to create healthy habits that will keep you focused during the exam period? Here are some tips and apps to help you do just that!

  1. Set Reminders. Reminders are a simple feature on your phone that can help you take frequent breaks to re-energize your brain during those long study sessions. Set up a reminder at regular intervals to take a walk to grab a snack, drink some water, or simply enjoy the fresh air
  2. During exam time, Facebook can help you to stay connected with friends and take study breaks together! Set up events such as a healthy snack swap or meetup at a café which you can walk to. Have a snack or drink, and walk back to your study spot.
  3. Nowadays there’s an app for everything. Here are a few that will help you build healthy habits to support your studying efforts:
  • eaTracker – Having trouble eating a healthy diet when you’re busy studying? If you enter your age and weight, eaTracker will provide you with your nutrition recommendations. With this app, you can input your meals and snacks to obtain a breakdown of the amounts of fat, protein, and carbs you’re consuming. You can then adjust your meals to make sure you’re meeting your healthy eating goals. Eating a balanced diet will keep your blood sugar levels stable so you can maintain your energy all day long.
  • Waterlogged – Keeping yourself hydrated will help you concentrate better. Often we mistake hunger for thirst, so drinking enough fluid can help you avoid overeating. This app allows you to track your water consumption and all you have to do is take a photo of your drinks! If you have a tendency to forget to drink, you can set up reminders through the app to prompt you to hydrate.
  • One Sweet App – An important part of fighting stress during exams is to limit foods that are high in sugar. These foods can give you a quick boost of energy but may eventually make you feel tired or restless. This app (developed by nutrition researchers here at U of T!) allows you to scan the barcode of the products you’re eating and tells you how much free sugar is in that food. Free sugars are not naturally occurring in food and include added sugar and sugar from juices, fruit purees, honey, and syrups. What makes this app unique is that free sugar is not included on nutrition labels. You can then use this app to choose healthier study snacks that contain less free sugar and will keep those sugar crashes at bay
  • Sworkit –Taking a break by doing some exercise is a great way to relieve the stress that tends to build up during the exam season. Sworkit is an app that includes free, fully customizable video workouts. All of the workouts can be done anywhere, meaning no equipment necessary, and include strength and cardio elements, stretching, Pilates, and yoga. You can choose from their vast workout video library to determine the order and duration of your workout for the day.
  • Calm – Need a moment to relax and collect your thoughts? Taking the time to calm your brain is an important part of a healthy study routine because it gives your brain the short rest it needs in order to focus more later on. If you need some guidance to start, Calm is an app that guides you through meditation and breathing techniques.

By Simone Quenneville, MPH Nutrition & Dietetics (candidate) for Food Services with files from Pooja Mansukhani, RD, BA Registered Dietitian and Food Safety Officer, University of Toronto


Eat Tracker


Sugar Coated 




March 2017

Healthy Snack Competition: We Have A Winner!

Our Food Services Healthy Snack Competition during Nutrition Week 2017 was a resounding success!

Enthusiastic students, faculty and staff members came out to five different campus locations during Nutrition Week 2017 to sample snacks and then vote for their favourite one on our Facebook page.

It boiled down to a battle between savoury and sweet, and although it was very close, it turns out that this year, the campus sweet tooth was victorious! So congratulations to Sous Chef Santana for her Vegan Almond Coconut Bites and also to the runner-up, Sous Chef Jonathan for his Savoury Puffed Rice Snack.

You can get the full recipes for both delicious snacks by signing up for our free, Food365 electronic newsletter, just click here.

Thanks to both of our fantastic sous chefs for the wonderful recipes and to all of the healthy snack fans on campus for participating.

Happy Nowruz!

Happy Nowruz!

Nowruz, or “new day” in Persian, is an ancient Zoroastrian festival that marks the beginning of the solar New Year, and is celebrated in the Middle East, West Asia, Central Asia, Caucasus and parts of Eastern Europe, and throughout the Iranian Diaspora. It incorporates flowers, colourful confections, dried nuts and fruit, cooking and serving various Persian culinary delicacies and sending effusive messages of greeting and good wishes to friends and family.

Iranians traditionally gather around a “Haft-Seen” (translated as Seven-S’s). This is the traditional table set with items that officially recognize the holiday and the start of spring.

The “Haft-Seen” consists of seven items that in Farsi begin with the letter “S.”

Sabzeh: lentil sprouts that grow in a dish, symbolizing rebirth

Samanu: sweet pudding made from wheat, symbolizing affluence

Senjed: dried fruit of the oleaster tree, symbolizing love

Seer: garlic, symbolizing medicine

Seeb: apple, symbolizing health and beauty

Somaq: sumac berries, symbolizing the color of the sunrise

Serkeh : vinegar, symbolizing age and patience

Other items that can be found on the “Haft-Seen” include eggs to represent good luck and fertility, goldfish in a bowl to represent new beginnings and a mirror to always look at your reflection.


Nowruz is approaching cheerfully, so what is Nowruz?

Celebrate Nowruz like a pro

Persian recipes from a Persian expat in America

Via the BBC, a handy guide as to how to celebrate Nowruz