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Forget the fad diets

Chicken Fajitas
Chicken Fajitas - Submitted

FOODWISE by Courtney Masey

After all of the overindulgences throughout the holiday season, a new year commonly brings with it resolutions related to healthy eating.

Fad diets and various weight loss supplements come with promising claims that can be tempting, so many people turn to these types of “quick fixes” in the hope of losing weight fast. As a result, they may initially lose weight but, because they are not making a sustainable lifestyle change, they eventually end up gaining back all of the weight they had lost – and sometimes more.

Diets or supplements can also be dangerous and can actually lead to unhealthy eating behaviours.

So what would a dietitian recommend instead? Here are five tips to healthy eating success:


Aim for three balanced meals per day. How do you know if your meal is balanced? A simple rule of thumb is aiming to fill half of your plate with vegetables, one quarter with protein and the other quarter with grain or starch, with an optional serving of fruit or milk and alternatives. If your meals are balanced you will be less likely to crave snack type foods throughout the day or evening. Meals don’t have to be complicated to be considered healthy and balanced. For example, the Chicken Fajita recipe below is a 30-minute meal the whole family can enjoy. Serve with a side salad and plain Greek yogurt for topping. If you are watching your sodium intake, reduce the amount of salsa you use.


Drink water. Sometimes we mistake thirst for hunger! Aim for eight cups of calorie-free beverages per day to stay well hydrated (and without adding extra calories and sugar).


Meal planning and prep is key. Take the time to get organized, and plan according to the healthy plate model to ensure you are balancing your meals and setting yourself up for success. Meal prep hacks include: chopping or using frozen veggies and fruit, and batch cooking proteins and grains such as eggs, chicken or rice. Even if you only take a few minutes on your day off to prep what you can, this will save you in the long run during a busy week.


Get moving! Physical activity can not only help with weight loss, but can also make you feel better mentally. Aim for 150 minutes of activity per week. Winter activities can include snowshoeing or walking in a location such as local walking tracks or malls on those icy or slushy days.


If you are aiming for weight loss, try not to weigh yourself too often. A realistic weight loss goal is approximately one to two pounds per week as you will be most likely to keep it off if you lose at a gradual pace.


You will be most likely to succeed long-term if you start with a couple of smaller realistic goals instead of overhauling your whole diet with drastic changes. If you have questions or want help achieving your goals, contact your Atlantic Superstore dietitian for a personalized nutrition consult or to register for a free “Forget the Weight, Feel Great” group session being offered this January.


Chicken Fajitas


Ingredients :

450 g PC Blue Menu Air Chilled Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts, cut into 4- x 1-inch (10 x 2.5 cm) strips

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 tsp (20 mL) ground cumin

2 tsp (10 mL) each chili powder and ground coriander

  1. tsp (25 mL) PC 100% Pure First-Pressed Canola Oil

1 small red onion, thinly sliced

1 sweet yellow pepper, thinly sliced

1 sweet red pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup (250 mL) rinsed and drained PC Blue Menu Black Beans

  1. cup (250 mL) PC Medium Salsa

1/4 cup (50 mL) chopped green onions

2 tbsp (25 mL) chopped fresh cilantro

8 PC Blue Menu 100% Whole Grain Whole Wheat Tortillas, warmed



Combine chicken, half of the garlic, 2 tsp cumin and 1 tsp each chili powder and coriander in large bowl; toss to coat. Let stand at room temperature 10 minutes.

Heat 2 tsp oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken mixture; cook, stirring often, until chicken is no longer pink inside, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plate. Wipe out skillet.

Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add red onion, yellow pepper, red pepper and remaining 2 tsp cumin and 1 tsp each chili powder and coriander; stir-fry until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add remaining garlic; stir-fry 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup water; stir-fry until peppers are tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in beans; cook until heated through.

Return chicken mixture to skillet. Stir in salsa; bring to a simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in green onions and cilantro. Divide chicken mixture among tortillas; fold to secure.


Makes 8 servings


Per serving: 330 calories, fat 9 g, sodium 450 mg, carbohydrate 42 g, fibre 6 g, protein 21 g


Recipe source:


Have 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


Courtney Masey is a Registered Dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in New Glasgow.

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