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FOODWISE: #EatTogether Day

No-cook summer nachos.
No-cook summer nachos. - Contributed

By Terry Daley

When we think of healthy eating habits, we typically consider only the foods we should – or should not – eat. However, more research is beginning to show that gathering with others around the dinner table has many health benefits for people of all ages.

When we sit together at the table, we relax. We are able to share stories, build relationships, learn from each other’s mistakes and triumphs, create bonds and enhance our wellbeing. Eating together also encourages meals that are more nutritious, supports early childhood development, helps improve communication skills, increases productivity, and can even lead to a greater job satisfaction!

Despite these and other benefits of this simple act, recent research has found that the vast majority of Canadians still eat alone most of the time. According to a recent survey by President’s Choice, almost half (42 per cent) of all Canadians eat lunch alone every day at work, and two-thirds eat lunch alone at least three times during each work week.

Eating alone is not a natural human behaviour, but a learned one that seems to get more prevalent once we enter the workforce. This behaviour continues even though the majority (66 per cent) of working Canadians recognize the workplace benefits of eating with colleagues. These benefits may include improved communication and relationships with coworkers, increased happiness, greater job satisfaction, and greater productivity.

Help to build a strong company culture by organizing communal healthy lunch or breakfast programs at your office. This may not be feasible every day, but try making it a weekly or monthly event. Bring in a catering company or local chef to whip up some tasty dishes for colleagues to try. Providing workers with healthy snacks throughout the day can also encourage a positive work environment. Try setting up a snack station once a week when productivity tends to be lowest. Have a designated room for these gatherings where colleagues can sit, relax and mingle with others. Encourage employees to spend at least 15 minutes in the lunchroom before heading back to their desk. Remember, a team that eats together, stays together!

Last year, President’s Choice embarked on a mission to bring Canadians back to the table to eat together. This year, the journey continues with PC hosting its second annual Eat Together Day on Friday, June 22. With many Canadians agreeing they should be eating lunch with colleagues on a more regular basis, this is the perfect opportunity to start this habit.

On June 22, our local Atlantic Superstore will be hosting a public barbecue, with donations supporting President’s Choice Children’s Charity and local childhood nutrition programs. In Pictou County, PCCC supports school nutrition programs at AG Baillie Memorial School, New Glasgow Academy, Dr. W.A. MacLeod Consolidated, Pictou Landing First Nations School, West Pictou Consolidated, Pictou Academy and Pictou Elementary School.

Stop by the New Glasgow Superstore on June 22 to share the foods you love and, more important, meet some new friends and make some memories. Or create your own Eat Together event, and invite friends and colleagues to join by registering the event at www.facebook.com/pceattogether.

These No-Cook Summer Nachos with Sriracha Sour Cream are a great addition to any workplace potluck or summer barbecue. Make the recipe more workplace-friendly by substituting lentils, beans or leftover chicken for shrimp. For a little extra protein, use a plain yogurt instead of sour cream.

No-Cook Summer Nachos with Sriracha Sour Cream

Ingredients:

1 pkg (340 g) PC Mango salsa, drained
2 cups (500 mL) Frozen PC avocado chunks, thawed
1 ½ cups (375 mL) Frozen PC cooked peeled wild Atlantic cold water shrimp, thawed
2 tbsp (25 mL) Fresh lime juice
Pinch (0.5 mL) salt
2/3 cup (150 mL) Sour cream
2 tsp (10 mL) Sriracha hot sauce
8 cups (2 L) PC kettle style blue corn tortilla chips seasoned with sea salt
1 cup (250 mL) PC cherry tomatoes, halved

Directions:

1. Stir together salsa, avocado, shrimp, lime juice and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

2. Stir together sour cream and Sriracha in a small bowl. Set aside.

3. Spread tortilla chips on large serving platter or rimmed baking sheet. Top with salsa mixture and tomatoes. Drizzle with sour cream mixture. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 Servings

Per serving: 220 calories, fat 13 g (of which, 3 g is saturated), sodium 240 mg, carbohydrate 19 g, fibre 3 g, sugars 4 g, protein 6 g

Recipe Source: pc.caHave a nutrition question? Want to book an appointment or educational store tour for yourself or your community group or business? Contact me by phone at (902) 921-0700 or by email at terry.daley@loblaw.ca.

Terry Daley is a Registered Dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in New Glasgow.

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