Ask a Dietitian

Ask a Dietitian

"Diana, just a quick heads up to let you know we are still using your cookbook and the guys will often be heard saying what would Diana say about this or that....really good feed back... I made your potato salad and the oriental coleslaw on Sat. for a family luncheon and had rave reviews so thanks again."

Maeghan Henke
BC Hydro

Nutrition Questions from September 7/99 Noon News Hour

September 7th, 1999

As seen on BCTV September 7/99


1) Evette from Qualicum:
What to use in cookies?
If you don’t make and eat cookies very often, you might as well use real butter, real eggs and other rich ingredients. Sure they’re high fat, but they’re real and they taste pretty darn good! If you eat cookies regularly, make them with liquid vegetable oils or fats that are non-hydrogenated. If using hydrogenated fats or butter, use less. Above all, remember portion control. Avoid eating so many cookies that your appetite for vegetables is displaced!

2) Henry from Vancouver:
a) What foods are good for the immune system?
To boost immunity, emphasize the antioxidant nutrients – vitamins E, C, A and the mineral selenium. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the best sources. For vitamin E, consider wheat germ, vegetable oils and nuts. Zinc, another mineral, is also good for the immune system and can be found in whole grain products and shellfish.

b) What foods are good for PMS?
Be sure to regulate blood sugar fluctuations by eating every 3-4 hours during the day. De-emphasize caffeine, alcohol, sugar and salty foods. Increasing your exercise level above normal can also help control PMS symptoms. You may also want to explore relaxation techniques to use if/when the pain is hard to bear.

3) Raimy from Whistler:
a) “exercise in a can”
I’m not familiar with this product which sounds like the latest in the ongoing series of gimmicky exercise products. Forgive me if it is not so. Common sense, old fashioned exercise protocols centered on cardiovascular activities like walking, running or swimming together with programs emphasizing flexibility and strength are proven to work and are a lot less gimmicky.

b) chocolate cravings before sleep
Chocolate cravings can be caused by a number of factors: possibly a protein or calorie lack, a lack of calcium (at least in my experience with clients), a lack of magnesium, not eating enough all day or even emotional factors. Make sure you are eating balanced meals and snacks throughout the day to regulate blood sugar and minimize cravings.

4) John from Fort St. John:
Tracking what you eat… is there a computer program?
Yes, there are several. Two good Canadian-based ones are: Food Smart – available from Sasquatch Software of North Vancouver or FUEL – made by the Coaching Association of Canada and available at where you can download a trial version before purchasing the program. Many programs are based on the USA food database, so these two make better choices for Canadians. Note: I do not suggest tracking one’s food intake on an ongoing basis as it can lead to obsession for some. However, using it periodically to see how you’re doing is just fine and can help motivate you to eat better!

Watch for the Eating for Energy segment every Tuesday on BCTV’s Noon News Hour!

Article written by Patricia Chuey and reprinted with permission