Thursday, March 15, 2018

Guest Post: RD Christine McPhail Reviews Greta Podleski's Terrific New Cookbook Yum and Yummer

Today's guest post comes from one of our office's wonderful RDs - Christine McPhail, who has been spending a bit of time with Greta Podleski's terrific new cookbook Yum and Yummer.
As a Dietitian, I see the difference it makes when families start cooking together and children begin to develop the important food skills that they will need as adults. I hear about children being more interested in trying new foods, helping in the kitchen, wanting to pick out recipes, and being proud of the foods they’ve made. These cooking experiences can help children learn about nutrition, balanced meals, and the importance of including a variety of foods. Our lives are busy and I do hear about food going on the back burner (see what I did there) but it shouldn’t have to. You can read Dr. Freedhoff’s past post Teaching Your Kids To Cook Is More Important Than Teaching Them To Play Soccer Or Hockey that provides strong rationale for families cooking together.

Adults in turn benefit from sharing their skills, having the opportunity to pass down their favourite recipes and traditions, and of course having more balanced and nutritious meals themselves. A great place to start is having your family go through cookbooks together and pick recipes they would be interested in making. One recipe book I can recommend is Yum & Yummer by Greta Podleski, a Canadian author and recipe developer, who you may know from her very popular Looneyspoons cookbooks, which she co-wrote with her sister Janet.

Here are a few reasons I liked Yum & Yummer:
  • The introduction is worth a read. I really appreciated that Greta addressed that healthy eating means different things to different people and that we all could try to be less judgemental. Unless there is a true risk with an eating behaviour, which as a dietitian, I am trained to look out for, I believe it’s important that we respect one another’s food preferences and choices.
  • There truly is a recipe for everyone in this book and Greta follows through with her mission to use common everyday ingredients and simple recipes. Recipes will signify if they are dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian etc. 60% of the recipes are vegetarian but she also has sections for fish, poultry, and red meat, soups and chilis, snacks, and desserts. Meatless meals are a great way to get your family to enjoy meat alternatives that not only provide protein but plenty of fiber as well. You’ll save some money in the process too!
  • For people who are new to cooking, are nervous to try recipes, or learn better with visuals, each recipe has a photograph and a “how to” video that you can access just by scanning the QR code on the page with your phone. They show you exactly what to expect step by step, so you can feel confident developing new skills (you can take a look at them here).
  • For those who like to know the nutrition information, each recipe shows calories, total fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrate (fiber and sugar included), cholesterol, and sodium. This way you can make an informed choice that works for you and your family’s needs.
  • The recipe descriptions don’t go into detail of the “nutritional benefits” or labels foods as “good” or “bad”. Greta does include some great food prep tips and food facts that are helpful. This is important because we don’t want to label recipes as “good” or “bad” and we don’t want weight to be the main motivation when trying a new recipe, especially if children are reading along. We want to hear about the fresh ingredients, flavour and texture as well as the nutrition information, when we are choosing to make a recipe or not. At the end of the day, if you don’t enjoy it you won’t continue to eat it anyways.
With some quality time in the kitchen and eating meals together, your family can appreciate the benefit and taste of whole foods, cooking from scratch, and eating together as a family. If you are interested, you can purchase the book via (where 92% of the 148 reviews (and counting) are 5 star) or any other online Canadian book retailer.

Christine McPhail MSc, RD is one of our Registered Dietitians at the Bariatric Medical Institute. Christine has worked in academic, clinical and public health nutrition settings and has been fortunate to have worked on projects relating to food sustainability, food security, food policy and politics, childhood nutrition, body image, and school nutrition programs. She believes in the power of connecting with your food from farm to table. She feels fortunate to share this passion with her clients, as she helps them strengthen their relationship with food and learn more about nutrition.