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Recipe Swap: Dial-a-Dietitian

Recipe Swap: Dial-a-Dietitian

Many of us try to diet this time of year, and some are successful. The weight drops off, and we develop healthier eating habits. Others go at it all wrong and accomplish nothing.

Here’s some advice from a dietitian to be among the former.

Before starting any weight loss program, ask lots of questions about it. Does it promote a nutritionally balanced diet including all four food groups from Canada’s Food Guide? Does it encourage regular physical activity? Will it support keeping the weight off after it’s lost? Is is suited to your lifestyle and your family, and will you enjoy being on it, or will it be an endurance test?

Dietitians warn us to watch out for “red flags” or the too-good-to-be-true claims of weight loss programs too. These include promises of rapid weight loss (more than two lbs. a week), or recommendations for a very low-calorie diet (800 calories or less a day), or sales reps urging you to buy products. Beware the so-called weight loss counsellor who is really a salesperson earning commissions for stuff they’re selling.

Is changing your eating habits and being healthier a 2014 resolution? Why not get off to a better-informed start by contacting a dietitian directly? It’s easier than you think. In Manitoba you can call Dial-A-Dietitian, a free-of-charge provincial call centre operated by Dietitians of Canada. I gave them a call last week and the phone was answered promptly. So were my questions, which included, what do they do? They answer questions about food, nutrition and healthy eating. They can help you find a dietitian in your local area too.

To reach Dial-A-Dietitian call toll free 1-877-830-2892 (or 204-788-8248 in Winnipeg), Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. central time (CT).

In early January we typically look for hearty, healthy fare that’s filling, but neither fancy nor fussy. Here’s a few recipes that seem just right for starting off the new year on the lighter side.

Favourite Turkey Loaf

  • 1 tsp. vegetable oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. chopped ginger root or 2 tsp. dried
  • 6 green onions, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. hot pepper sauce
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 1 c. fresh bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 3 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt


  • 2 tbsp. dried bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley

In a skillet, heat oil over medium-low heat; cook garlic, ginger, onions, and hot pepper sauce for about 3 minutes or until softened but not browned. Let cool. In a bowl, mix together turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, parsley, soy sauce, mustard and salt; add garlic mixture; mix well. Pat into foil- or parchment paper-lined 9×5-inch loaf pan. Combine bread crumbs and parsley; mix well and sprinkle over loaf. Cover with foil and back in 350 F oven for 1-1/2 to 2 hours. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing. Drain off any fat.

Serves 8. Prep time: 7 – 10 minutes. Cooking time: 1.5 – 2 hours. Source: Turkey Farmers of Ontario.

Barley and Lentil Salad with Kale, Apples, Almonds and Feta

  • 1/2 c. dry green lentils
  • 1/2 c. pearl or pot barley
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated or crushed (optional)
  • 2-3 c. finely chopped kale or spinach, tough stems discarded
  • 1 tart apple, cored and diced
  • 1/2 c. crumbled feta
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped purple onion
  • 1/3 c. canola oil
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. white wine or rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp. grainy mustard
  • 1 tsp. honey or sugar
  • 1/3 c. chopped toasted almonds
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

In a large saucepan of boiling water, cook the lentils and barley, along with a clove of garlic (optional), for 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain well, discarding the garlic, and set aside to cool completely. Once the lentils and barley are cool, add the kale, apple, feta, and purple onion. To make the dressing, whisk remaining (except almonds) ingredients together in a small bowl or shake them all up in a jar. Pour over the salad and toss to combine. Top with almonds just before serving. Serves 6. Source: Canadian Lentils.

Parsnip Fritters

  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c. milk
  • 1 tbsp. butter or margarine, melted
  • 1-1/2 lb. parsnips cooked and finely chopped
  • Oil for frying

In a large bowl; mix flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a small bowl; beat egg; add milk and butter. Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients. Stir in cooked parsnips and mix well. Heat oil in a frying pan. Gently drop fritter mixture by large spoon into oil and brown on both sides. Serves: 4. Source: Peak of the Market.

Cream Barley with Tomatoes and Mushrooms

  • 4 c. water
  • 2 c. pot or pearl barley
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 (398-ml) can diced tomatoes
  • 1/3 c. pitted black olives, chopped
  • 1 tsp. basil
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1/2 c. grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 c. grated cheddar or mozzarella cheese
  • 2 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/4 c. dry bread crumbs

In a large pot, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Stir in barley; reduce heat, cover and simmer for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet over medium heat, melt butter; sauté garlic, onion and mushrooms until onion is soft and liquid has evaporated about five minutes. In a large bowl, combine cooked onion mixture with cooked barley, canned tomatoes, olives, basil, sour cream, parmesan cheese and half the cheddar or mozzarella cheese. Spoon into an eight-cup casserole dish. Place sliced tomatoes around the edge of the dish. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bread crumbs. Bake in a 350 F oven for 40 minutes or until browned. Serves 8. Source: Alberta Barley.

About the author


Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.



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