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The Dish

The Dish

With SFU's Registered Dietitian

Archive for the 'Fruits & Vegetables' Category

I find it hard to get enough servings of fruit/vegetables in a day and am wondering if you can count the vegetables in a bowl of soup as one serving?

Monday, February 7th, 2011

It really depends on the soup, but yes vegetables in soup can count towards your daily servings. Each ½ cup of cooked vegetables counts as one serving and that can easily fit into a bowl. To help you visualize, measure out ½ cup of cooked vegetables just once and see how it fits in your bowl. My strategy for getting enough vegetables is having soup as part of my lunch in the winter and salads in the summer.

Check out these tips from students for getting enough vegetables and fruit, http://blogs.sfu.ca/services/thedish/?page_id=918

I saw some apple juice in the grocery store that claims that it is 100% from concentrate. I usually make my own apple juice, but the color never turns out like the store bought apple juice. What does 100% from concentrate juice mean? Does it mean it is real juice? If it is real, how come their juice color is always better than homemade apple juice?

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

Great questions!

When you look for juice you want to look for 100% juice or 100% real fruit juice. From concentrate means the juice has been extracted from the fruit, then a whole lot of water is removed and then added back when the company wants to distribute the juice. For example, Florida is a great place that grows oranges. If all the orange juice was left as is in Florida, it would take a lot of shipping trucks to move it around to where it is distributed and sold. Instead, the bulk of water is removed to make the distribution process streamlined. If you are not sure if a juice is real juice, look at the ingredient list. SunRype apple juice for example just lists apple juice and vitamin C. If you see any words like sugar, sucrose, glucose or fructose – there is added sugar and therefore it is not 100% juice.

So nutritionally 100% juice from concentrate or not from concentrate (fresh) is the same. Making your own juice is even better. I just called SunRype to verify some information on processing. The color of store bought apple juice is different because of multiple clarification processes, it is made from a blend of different apples, the age of the juice as well as the added Vitamin C.

I was wondering if there were some spices we could add into the berry banana shake? Would it be better with vanilla extract or added sugar or perhaps nutmeg? I made a banana blueberry shake today and found it didn’t taste as good as, say, Orange Julius or Starbucks. What is the difference between their recipe and ours?

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Thanks for your great question, I’m glad you tried the Banana Berry Smoothie recipe.  The big difference is likely added sugar. Orange Julius and Starbucks don’t give away their recipes online but judging from the nutrition information there is added sugar. One thing I would suggest it using a very ripe banana. The more ripe, the sweeter it tastes. Also feel free to add any other flavors that you prefer, vanilla and nutmeg are great ideas. You could also try cinnamon. Also try different combinations of fruit to see what you like best. If you prefer a super sweet taste it’s okay to add a teaspoon or 2 of sugar or honey. Your homemade version would still have less sugar than the store bought equivalents.

Topic of the Month – September 2010

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Eat Vegetables & Fruit

 At some point (I hope), you may have heard of the “5 to 10 a day” campaign which started back in 1998 which has emphasized the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables. While chatting with a colleague at the Heart & Stroke Foundation (one of the partners of this campaign), I was alerted to the revised website which I wanted to share. It has great suggestions for meal planning, smart shopping as well as recipes. Visit www.5to10aday.com

Also we all know we need to eat more vegetables and fruit but I think we often forget why it is so important. Check out the list below adapted from the Produce For Better Health Foundation, also featured on the above website.

Top 10 for Fruits & Veggies

  1. Fruits and veggies are delicious!
  2. Some crunch, some are juicy, some you can peel, some you can grow in your own backyard!
  3. Fruits and veggies are nature’s treat and easy to grab for a snack.
  4. Fresh fruits and veggies – there are hundreds to choose from. Try a new one today!
  5. Eating a healthy diet including fruits and veggies can help contribute to your overall health and vitality.
  6. Eating plenty of fruits and veggies may help reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
  7. Most fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories.
  8. Fruits and veggies provide fibre that helps fill you up and keeps your digestive system happy.
  9. Fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and veggies are ready when you are!
  10. Fruits and veggies add colour, texture and goodness to every meal and snack.

Hi, I am into baby-cut carrots recently. The nutritional information on the package says the Vitamin A provided by the carrots is 290% of the recommended value per serving and I am eating more than 2 servings per day. Is it possible that my Vitamin A intake is too high and can reach the toxicity level?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Women 19 and older are recommended to have 700 micrograms(mcg) of Vitamin A per day while males need to have 900 mcg per day. The Upper Limit (UL) for Vitamin A intake is set at 3000 mcg. Eight baby carrots have 552 mcg of Vitamin A, so yes it is very easy to get more than your recommended amount. With your current intake it sounds like you are getting over 4000mcg of Vitamin A so it’s a good idea to cut back a bit. Try different colored vegetables to balance your intake of vitamins and minerals.

Check out this list of food sources of Vitamin A for more information.

Topic of the Month – June 2009

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Go organic?


Often times we think of organic foods as being more nutritious but that is not exactly the case. It is hard to interpret research studies that compare organic food to food grown by other methods. So many other things affect seed growth (such as the quality of soil, temperature and light) and this in turn affects the nutritional content of a food. In most situations, these conditions are not controlled so accurate comparisons can’t be made.


There is some research however, that shows organic produce may be higher in vitamin C than those grown non-organically. Vitamin A, beta-carotene, and the B vitamins are generally the same, but some phytochemicals (compounds that are not vitamins or minerals, but thought to be helpful to health) are higher in organic produce. So some foods grown organically may have more nutritional value while many have the same as those grown on non-organic farms. 


So whether you choose to go organic or not – I will leave that up to you. But the bottom line is to get a variety of vegetables and fruit. The more colorful, the better (you’ll get a variety of nutrients) and make sure you get those dark green and dark orange vegetables too.


As for other items labeled organic such as condiments, cookies or desserts – keep the food guide in mind. Just because there are sweets made from organic sugar, it is still sugar and we don’t want our treats to displace more nutritious choices from the 4 food groups within Canada’s Food Guide.

And now is a great time to be talking about organic foods because at the end of this month (June, 2009), new mandatory guidelines will be implemented for organic food that is traded across provinces or countries. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will work in cooperation with certification bodies to ensure that Canada-wide standards are met, and a special logo identifying the food as organic will be used on packaging. Visit http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/orgbio/orgbioe.shtml for organic food labelling guidelines.

Nutrition Question: I am curious as to differences in canned, frozen and fresh vegetables. Do they all have the same amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals? Can canned and frozen vegetables count as a serving of vegetables?

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

Yes absolutely! Canned, frozen and fresh vegetables all count towards your recommended servings outlined in Canada’s Food Guide. Frozen, canned and dried vegetables and fruit are harvested and packed at the height of the season when nutrients are at their peak. You will still get the benefits from the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Products that contain little or no added sugar, fat or salt are a healthy and sometimes more affordable alternative to fresh vegetables and fruit. So whatever way you can get your fruits and veggies in is great!


When choosing fruit, avoid getting added sugar by making sure it is “canned in it’s own juice” not in syrup and for frozen fruit, make sure it is “unsweetened”.


When choosing canned/frozen vegetables compare the sodium content on the nutrition facts label. There is usually some salt added as a preservative but go for as little as possible as we already get too much sodium in our diets.


The best ways to cook vegetables are to:

·                   steam, boil or microwave them until tender-crisp

·                   use a small amount of water and cook them for the shortest amount of time to reach the desired tenderness

Whatever cooking method you choose, avoid over-cooking as this can destroy nutrients.


And keep in mind, each ½ cup of fresh, frozen or canned vegetables or fruit counts as a serving.


For some more information about all the good things in vegetables and fruit and how you can increase your intake, check out this Vegetables and Fruit Brochure by the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Nutrition Question: I heard that eating too much fruit is not healthy as it contains a lot of sugar. Is this true? What is considered too much? And which fruits are considered high in sugar?

Friday, March 6th, 2009


This is definitely a myth, and a question I get asked quite often. Fruit contains naturally occurring sugar (fructose) not to mention other nutrients such as vitamins, antioxidants and fiber. We know that Canadians, and more specifically SFU students, are not getting enough fruits and vegetables. You need 7-8 servings a day for adult females and 8-10 for adult males. But what exactly counts as a serving? A medium piece of fruit, ½ cup of frozen or canned fruit/veg or 1 cup of leafy vegetables each counts as one serving. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer.


A balance between both fruit and vegetables is important when adding up your daily servings as well as having them as part of a balanced meal or snack. For example a snack of an apple with a handful of almonds is a good idea. This way we get some protein and fat from the almonds to go along with the carbohydrate from the apple.


And all fruits fit into healthy eating, in fact variety is key when it comes to nutrition. The different colors you choose ensure you get a variety of nutrients. Yes, some fruits taste sweeter than others but there is no need to avoid any of them.