Eating Healthy with Anne Lindsay

By Charlotte Bumstead
Ever since her childhood—when she could only see over the kitchen counter by standing on a stool—Anne Lindsay has loved to cook. With a growing interest in nutrition and encouragement from her family, Lindsay sculpted her dreams into a career. Through the release of her sixth cookbook Lighthearted At Home, the best-selling author shares her favourite recipes, along with extensive nutritional information from the Heart and Stroke Health Check Program. In focusing on the benefits of a healthy diet, Lindsay shows Zoomers how quick and easy healthy eating can be, and how it can change your life for the better.

Eating healthy today has become a much easier task than it was 24 years ago, when Lindsay launched her first cookbook. Ingredients like light mayonnaise and light sour cream did not yet exist, and 1 per cent milk was not available in Ontario. Buying skinless chicken meat was also a challenge. Today, there is constant availability for healthy ingredient substitutions in Canada, along with easy access to fresh herbs and a vast range of ethnic foods.

But along with greater choices in healthy foods, come more tempting options for packaged and ready-prepared meals. Lindsay explains how healthy eating begins with organized and attentive grocery shopping; “To make [shopping] easy you can look and see the little Health Check logo on some of the packages,” she says. The red checkmark symbol distinguishes products—in stores and restaurants—that meet the Health Check criteria, meaning they are lower in fat, low in sodium, and/or prepared with ingredients like whole wheat flour.

Carol Dombrow, a registered dietician for the Health Check program since 1999, joins Lindsay and I in discussion. Dombrow describes the transformation of the food supply chain over the years and predicts changes for the future. She says people will definitely see a change in sodium levels. Health Canada is striving to change the amount of sodium consumed by Canadians. “If you use a program like Health Check and follow recipes like in Anne’s book, you’re going to be able to [change] that,” says Dombrow.

The website illustrates a new way for people to understand the importance of nutrition. The site features a “recipe makeover” option where the winner will receive Lindsay’s latest book. By submitting your favourite recipe to the foundation, you will be able to see the changes for yourself. “We do the nutrient analysis before and afterwards,” Dombrow says. “We tell you how we change it and make it healthier—it’s really neat.”

The alteration is also quite evident in taste. Lindsay persuades me (with ease) to try a piece of her Applesauce Cranberry Cake. The afternoon indulgence is soon just a few small crumbs left on the plate. “The applesauce I substituted for a lot of the oil, or butter, or margarine,” says Lindsay. Other ingredients include yogurt, and half whole wheat flour, half all-purpose. “I did throw in a quarter cup of wheat bran,” she laughs. “You’ve got to sneak in some of this stuff here and there.” All I can taste is a delicious blend of cranberry, cinnamon and nutmeg; plus there’s the added bonus of nutrients.
Taking the steps toward a healthier diet will not only make you look better and feel better; it will reduce risks of heart disease and cancer, as well as lower your blood pressure and cholesterol. Not only is it important for Zoomers to eat a nutritional diet for their own health, but they are also setting an example for their children and grandchildren. If kids grow up with a sense of healthy eating, it is easier for them to adjust when they begin cooking on their own. Turn cooking into a fun activity for the whole family. You never know if you might be encouraging another Anne Lindsay in your kitchen.

Anne’s Quick Nutritious Tips.

– Use yogurt instead of sour cream.
– Use spice instead of salt.
– If you drink whole milk switch to 2%, if your are drinking 2% switch to 1% or skim.
– Plan your weeks out.