Confused about what serving sizes on the nutrition facts actually mean? (AD)
You know that I’m not a big numbers person: nutrition should be simple! Eat mostly whole and lightly processed plants like vegetables, canned beans and sprouted grain bread and don’t sweat the rest of it.
But what if you want to check in on your fiber intake? Or see how you’re doing with protein?
That’s when understanding the nutrition facts panel matters. So let’s talk serving sizes…which don’t really tell you how much you SHOULD eat. Instead, they make it easier to COMPARE different products by telling you how much nutrition is in a reference serving.
And this year, the reference serving for bread changed to help make the labels more consistent. Soon, if you haven’t already, you’ll see that the serving size for breads is now 2 slices because, based on stakeholder feedback, that’s the most commonly eaten serving.
When the serving sizes are the same, it is easier to compare things like fibre, protein and minerals between breads.
So next time you pick up @silverhillsbakery Sprouted Grain Breads take a peek! You’ll notice that 2 slices of most varieties contains 10 grams of fibre, more than 10 grams of protein and higher levels of some minerals like iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium than many other whole wheat breads.
But that doesn’t mean YOU need to eat 2 slices. We all have different body sizes, activity levels and appetites. You might only need 1 slice…or you might need 3! If that’s the case, remember to do the math on the label,cutting values in half to see the amount in one slice.
Have a question about label reading, sprouted grains or fiber? Drop it in the comments!
Eating higher fibre plant foods with an irritated or inflamed gut can lead to pain, bloating or diarrhea.
But does that mean you don’t tolerate them?
Not exactly 🤔
Instead, consider your gut in need of some rehab, the same way that you’d rehab your body in order to get back to full activity post-injury.
The reason why plant fibres feel irritating - but also why they’re so good for you - is that by definition they are hard to break down and not 100% absorbed.
So the undigested or unabsorbed plant matter travels through the gut where it may feel irritating, gets fermented by gut bacteria leading to pain or bloating, or drawing water into the gut leading to loose 💩
But you CAN increase tolerance.
I did it in practice for years: increasing intake of plants AND improving gas, bloating and 💩 at the same time.
It’s best done one-on-one but I know that not everyone has access to a dietitian so consider these tips with your doc:
1. Choose a low fermentation, soluble fibre like psyllium or partially hydrolyzed guar gum (PHGG). These are less irritating and don’t cause as much gas as other fibres.
Start with 1 tsp (5 mL) a day. Drink at least 1 extra glass of water a day. Take separately from supplements + medications as it can bind them up. Wait until you feel no symptoms before you increase dose.
2. What about food? juiced or blended is your friend. Can’t eat chickpeas? Try 1 tbsp hummus. Can’t do greens? Try green juice. Veggies tough? Try making a roasted vegetable soup.
Cooking veg, and blending, makes veg easier to digest. A tiny bit is better than nothing!
3. Go slow and be consistent. It’s better to drink 1/2 cup of green smoothie every single day than to try a stir fry once a week. Your gut - and gut microbiome - need time to adjust. And it will!!
Hope these tips are helpful! Looking for more?
I’m doing a mini-deep dive on FODMAPS in my Nutrition with Desiree community Friday (it’s free!) or grab a copy of my book Good For Your Gut. The Soothe recipes are designed for compromised guts.
Last month, I asked what gets in the way of eating more fruits + veg, and many of you said that you don’t always like the taste…well, that I can help with!
In partnership with @halfyourplatecanada I want to help you LOVE fruits and veggies so you can get more of these incredibly nourishing foods into your body. Because if you don’t love what you eat, what’s the point??
First things first: if there is any veg you really don’t love, don’t force yourself to eat it. There is no one food that is irreplaceable in your life.
However, if you find that fruit or veggies like greens aren’t your fave in general, it’s likely because you just haven’t found a way of preparing them that works for you. Fruits and vegetables offer a whole world of new flavours and textures and enjoying them means adapting them to suit your unique taste buds. It’s easier than you think!
Here’s what you need to know about creating craveable flavours 😋
Let YOUR taste buds be your guide. Taste the food, adjust the flavour, taste again and adjust until you love it! I love bright + acidic flavours. I love lots of spices…you might not. Make it work FOR YOU!
Just blah? Try doubling the herbs + spices called for in the recipe. I rarely make anything without at least 2-3 teaspoons of dried herbs + spices. BRING ON THE FLAVOUR.
🍋 Something taste flat? A bit of lemon, lime or vinegar will lift it up. Go too far? A tiny bit of sugar will mellow the acidity.
If you detect bitterness, salt, sugar and acid (like lemon) all neutralize it. Start with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Didn’t work? Try a pinch more salt. Need something extra? Add a tiny drizzle of maple or sugar. Start low, you can always add more.
Roasting brings out mellow sweetness in almost all veg, from tomatoes to carrots to beets and even greens. 🥬
My friends @halfyourplatecanada have a great resource on creating flavourful recipes using fruits + veggies. Just head to www.halfyourplate.ca and head to the resources tab!
The information on this site is intended as educational only and cannot replace one-on-one consultation with a registered dietitian.
We respectfully acknowledge that we live and work on the ancestral and unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples–Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nation.