Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Atlantic Superstore/Loblaw, all opinions expressed are entirely my own.
Quite frankly, I know my germ-free days are numbered. Every fall the kids go back to school, and Suzi goes back to teaching 10 fitness classes/week. And it’s only a matter of time before I get over tired and get hit with whatever nasty bug is floating around. I may not have kids, but my clients certainly do, and it’s impossible for me not to be exposed to all of the germs floating around out there when I’m surrounded day in and day out with groups of people exercising, sweating, coughing and sneezing!
The Fall Spike
Studies show school children bring home germs from school and spread them throughout their entire family, causing sickness ranging from colds to severe asthma flare-ups – known as the Fall Spike.
- The Ontario Lung Association notes that when children go back to school, it’s back to close quarters with classmates – and the viruses they carry.
- A study from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology also shows a link between peaks in asthma hospitalizations and higher rates of respiratory tract infection after students return to school, particularly after summer vacation.
Fight the Good Fight with Good Nutrition
While it’s important to focus on nutrient rich foods year round, it is particularly important at this time of year as they contribute to good overall and immune health during the Fall Spike and leading into cold and flu season.
Some of the nutrients that are particularly important at this time of year include:
- Vitamin C and E which are antioxidants important for the maintenance of good health and are found in citrus fruits and seeds/nuts.
- Zinc (which can be found in nuts and seeds) and Vitamin A (found in beta carotene in orange vegetables like sweet potato and butternut squash) which have been shown to help maintain immune function.
- There is also interesting research that probiotics (like those found in Kefir) modulate the immune system, making these important foods as well.
- Protein, found in meats, eggs, seafood (like salmon, tuna and trout), milk products, legumes, and nuts and seeds, help build and repair body tissues and antibodies.
- The B Vitamins, which help to maintain good health, are found in abundance in foods like leafy greens, whole grains and winter squashes.
Including a variety of these foods in your diet each week helps you to maintain good health this fall (and all year round!). Good nutrition = a healthier body and immune system = fewer colds and flu attacks.
I know that families (kids and husbands too!) can be a bit of a pain when it comes to introducing new foods, but it’s easier to get them to try new things when you involve them in the meal planning (and prepping), and when you add ingredients of different colours and textures, to multiple meals to make the family accustomed to eating them.
In-store dietitians at your local Atlantic Superstore can help you prepare for cold and flu season with recipes that contain nutrient-rich foods that help support good overall and immune health.
Need Recipe Ideas?
Need some ideas of ways to incorporate some of these foods into your life? Here are some great recipes you can try:
Bacon Maple Spiced Nuts (these are amazing AND addictive!)
Citrus and Beet Salad (I’m grabbing some oranges and grapefruit to make this one ASAP)
Get the Flu Shot
The flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu, and is available through in-store pharmacists at Atlantic Superstore stores across the region starting in mid-October.
I know the flu shot can sometimes be controversial because there are so many types of flu virus and we don’t get immunized for them all. However, it remains the best way to help prevent the high risk populations from contracting the virus. Even if we get hit with a different type of flu virus than we have been immunized against, having the shot can shorten the lifespan of the illness and help prevent related complications. Personally I’ve been getting the flu shot since 1992, my brother is a quadriplegic (as a result of a car accident in 1992 – that’s how I know how long it’s been), and I have since been diagnosed with a lung condition making it necessary for me to have it to prevent complications.
And I can’t finish this post without sharing my personal tips for helping to prevent the spread of germs and viruses year round:
- Take your shoes off when you enter your home – we pick up all sorts of dirt, germs, viruses and who knows what else when we are outside. Removing your shoes not only helps keep your floors clean, but it helps to prevent all of those germs from being tracked around your home.
- Wash your hands thoroughly when you come inside. Especially if you work in a public setting (school, retail, etc.), make it a habit to use warm soapy water and wash from wrist to fingertip each time you come home. And instill it in your whole family to do the same. I believe our hands are the #1 way we spread germs so why not stop that dead at your door?!
Get ready for the Fall Spike
Book a free appointment with an in-store registered dietitian for more information on foods that help support good overall health and immune health, and while you are there, visit your in-store pharmacist for your flu shot.
If you do get your Flu Shot at the Superstore, grab a picture and tweet me at @suziconfesses using the #SuperstoreFluCrew hashtag!
Next Monday is Halloween so I thought it was time I shared a Halloween inspired recipe! Since Monday is a bit of a rough time for Halloween (at least I think it is) I think this would be a fun recipe to make next weekend to share on Sunday to get in on the spooky festivities a little bit early. Or make them for a quick Halloween supper – that would be super fun too!Since World Egg Day was just a little over a week ago, I figured why not share an eggy Halloween-y recipe? So I give you…Eye of Newt Devilled Eggs!
recipe shared with permission from eggs.ca
- 12 hard-cooked eggs
- ¼ cup (60 mL)light mayonnaise
- 2 tsp (10 mL)Dijon mustard
- ¼ tsp (1.25 mL)each salt and freshly ground pepper
- 24 pitted black olives
- ¼ cup (60 mL)ketchup
- Cut eggs in half lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in medium bowl. Set whites aside.
- Mash yolks with fork; stir in mayonnaise, mustard, salt and pepper. Pipe or spoon egg yolk mixture into egg white halves.
- Transfer ketchup to resealable bag. Snip off corner. Pipe ketchup onto egg white to resemble veins in blood shot eyes. Place one olive into the center of each yolk to resemble an eyeball. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator for up to 2 days.
I just can’t believe how spooky those darn olives and the ketchup makes them look!
Not a devilled eggs fan? No worries, eggs.ca have your back with a few other spooky egg recipes that you may also like:
Spooky Meringue Ghosts <— These may just be the cutest thing EVER
Cobweb Eggs <— These may just be the scariest eggs ever, haha
Skull Eggs <— Perfect for those looking for a little artistic flare
If you do make the Eye of Newt Devilled Eggs, be sure to save the carton so you and the kids can make these super cute Egg Carton Pumpkins. I think these would look adorable if you added a string and hung them on a some branches white white twinkle lights in a vase in your entry way.
And in case you missed it in my World Egg Day post, the Egg Farmers of Canada made this super cute video showing us how eggs help communities all across Canada and beyond!
Be sure to let me know if you make any of these recipes, I’ve love to see pictures of your creations, be sure to tag both myself @suziconfesses and @eggsoeufs on Instagram or Twitter so we can see and comment on your fabulous work!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for the Egg Farmers of Canada, all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.
After a few weeks off, I’m back with another edition of Friday Faves!
I seem to have a thing for ceramic white animals. Just call me Sherry Petersik. Anyway, this handsome dude found a home in my office recently. His name is Clark (named after Krysten’s Clark, obviously) and he is just as daper as can be.
When Cathy sent me a picture of him while she was at Winners one day I knew he needed to come live with me. He is just the bestest. I heart him.
Staying on the topic of white ceramic, I am in love with this cup and saucer (and my adorable spoon!) I got at the McCafe event last week. I have a weakness for cups and mugs just as much as I do ceramic animals, much to my husband’s dismay, haha. And the “Love you a latte” spoon, well my goodness I cannot even. So adorable!
Optimum Nutrition recently launched a new product, the OPTI-BAR in five different flavours: Chocolate Brownie, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Cookies ‘N Cream, White Chocolate Raspberry, and Cinnamon Pecan Roll.
They were kind enough to send me some samples to try out, and while I’m not usually a fan of protein bars (they normally taste like sad sawdust bars), I’m happy to say after trying the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bar, that they are pretty good!
Each 60 gram OPTI-BAR contains 20 grams of high quality whey protein isolate and milk protein isolate, 8-10 grams of fiber and less than 4 grams of sugar.
Do they taste like a candy bar? No, but they aren’t dry, they don’t taste like sawdust and sadness, and make for a great on the go meal replacement. I’m looking forward to trying out some of the other flavours!
I desperately want one of these blankets but I don’t have $400 USD to spend. Anyone want to buy me one? Actually, if you’re going to buy me one, get it from Top Knot Style, at least then it’ll be Canadian made and by a blogger no less. 😉
Did I share this Almond Joy Cookies recipe already? If I did, it’s so good it should be shared twice anyway, haha.
And finally, I’ve learned the hard way that you should never make fun of someone for watching a TV show. Because as sure as anything, eventually you’ll get sucked into that very show. And that is the case here. Heartland. I’ve never been into horses, and I’ve never watched the show until a few weeks ago when I watched episode one on Netflix just for the heck of it. Two weeks and five and a half seasons later I’m full on hooked. I watch it everyday. I even was worried enough that I made sure I can stream the new season direct on the CBC website since Netflix only have up to season 9 and season 10 is airing right now.
Oh how the might have fallen, hahaha.
Well that’s it for this week. As this publishes, I’m in Halifax at a meditation and mindfulness course so hopefully I’m sitting all zenned out enjoying the day and hopefully you are getting ready for a fun and restful weekend!
Peace out – and TGIF!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for McCafe Canada, however I have been an avid McCafe drinker since 2011 when they launched, so you can rest assured (as always) all the opinions expressed are entirely my own.
It’s not much of a secret that I’m a McCafe junkie. In the summer Iced Vanilla Coffee is my everything! Especially during those wonderful dollar drink days, but let’s face it – summer is over and for the past few weeks I’ve found myself going for their hot speciality drinks, especially the vanilla latte (yum).
Last week I was invited to a cupping event with McCafe to learn more about their new espresso bean blend and to taste test drinks from their new state-of-the-art Swiss equipment. The event was held at East of Grafton on Argyle Street which is a really nice spot, with an amazing tin ceiling. Definitely a spot I’d like to go back to for a meal!
Thanks to construction on the highway I slid in the door just as the event started, and got settled in my seat just in time to hear all about the new espresso blend.
The new blend features beans sourced from Central and South America, and now Indonesia, and is made with 100% Arabica beans grown sustainably on Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. The new recipe was developed by a team of espresso experts based on its aroma, flavour, body and taste and then won approval from Canadian specialty coffee-drinkers through a series of taste panels held across the country.
Their new state-of-the-art Swiss equipment will bring European-inspiried espresso beverages to approximately 1200 restaurants nationwide over the next year. In addition, restaurant employees are receiving in-depth training to ensure each McCafe specialty beverage – including Lattes, Cappuccinos, Espressos and Americanos – is customized to each guest’s order.
Specialty coffee lovers across the country have told us they want an authentic and more sophisticated espresso blend – and we’ve listened. We’ve sought out a new espresso bean blend, introduced state-of-the-art Swiss equipment into our restaurants to deliver consistently satisfying lattes, cappuccinos and specialty coffees that is the perfect balance of rich espresso taste and creamy smooth and frothed milk.
Anne Parks, McCafe Menu Director, McDonald’s Canada
But let’s get back to the tasting. First up on our tasting menu was the cornerstone of all the drinks that would follow – the espresso.
This was my first time ever drinking a straight espresso and I was a little bit nervous about it, but you know what? I really enjoyed it. In fact, I think I would choose an espresso over a regular coffee now having tried it. I find plain coffee to be bitter (which is why I’m generally a specialty coffee drinker) but I found the smaller sized espresso more enjoyable for me.
Especially when paired with one of McCafe’s butter croissants that are made in France, and baked fresh in store.
We followed the espresso up with a cappuccino which consists of equal part of espresso, steamed milk and milk foam.
As a self proclaimed latte lover, it’s been a while since I’ve had a cappuccino. When I first started drinking coffee beverages I went for the cappuccino and later moved into the latte. I honestly never really learned what the exact difference was between the two, but in basically the latte has more steamed milk and less milk foam making it a milkier drink over all.
And while the latte that followed the cappuccino confirmed that my drink of choice is still the latte, the cappuccino is certainly a close second…
and I had no problem polishing both off. And for those keeping track, that is three shots of espresso I had in less than an hour – not counting the latte I drank on my way into the city.
And something else I didn’t know, the chocolate chunk brownies sold in store are by Dufflet and are handmade without gluten <– and taste AMAZING! Sometimes gluten-free baked goods can be dry, and chewy, but I actually forgot these were gluten-free at all. They are delicious! I’m usually on a mission for caffeine when I head through the drive thru and never get any of the bakery items, but now having tried some of them, it’s going to be harder for me to say no!
And just between you and I, when they offered to make me a specialty drink to go – I may have got a vanilla latte for my drive home. Making that a total of 5 shots of espresso in a 3 hour period.
I may have been a little bit wired, haha.
Love you a latte, why yes, yes, I do.
Thank you so much to McCafe for inviting me to the cupping event, I really enjoyed the event, the drinks and the pastries too (which I had never tried)!
We also got a little insider info that the beloved peppermint mocha will be returning in a few short weeks (made with all natural flavours and real crushed candy cane pieces) along with some other festive flavours which they seem to be keeping top secret. 😉
Suzi’s hoping for a salted caramel or something equally as delicious and troublesome, haha.
Meal planning. It’s not always fun and it quite frankly can be a pain in the butt, but for busy people it really is the only way to go if you are focused on eating healthy, saving money and most importantly – saving time during the week.
Recently I was added as a Meal Expert on Meal Garden, a new meal planning platform that makes meal planning easy, and can help keep you from falling into a meal rut.
I know I’m guilty of making the same recipes and meals week after week, month after month, and while they do the job, trying out new recipes and different meals is what makes eating healthy food FUN!
And we can even create full meal plans that customers can use if they really are short on time and don’t know where to start. So far I’ve created a couple meal plans on my profile, one for make ahead meals (this is what Ido each week) and another filled with quick easy to make recipes.
I find that when I make our meals ahead of time, it really makes eating during the week so easy, but it’s ideal for people who don’t mind eating the same thing a couple times in a row. I like to use the “make once eat twice” type of mentality, and while at first it might seem boring to eat the same foods what it really does is simplify things, cuts the amount of time you spend on meal prep down, and takes the worry and stress over “what’s for lunch” away.
Another amazing feature of Meal Garden is that you can print out your grocery list to make grocery shopping a breeze,
All in all Meal Garden is a great resource – especially for those just starting their healthy eating journey who need a little guidance on how to get started. It’s also a fabulous way to save time for those already eating healthy and meal planning who want to switch things up and try out some new recipes. If that sounds like you, why not give it a try before your next trip to the grocery store!?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.