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STEPHANIE GAGNON: Back to the table

A roasted beet and mandarin panzanella salad is a perfect choice for Eat Together Day, which is being held on June 14.
A roasted beet and mandarin panzanella salad is a perfect choice for Eat Together Day, which is being held on June 14. - Contributed

#EatTogether aims to inspire Canadians eating together and chowing down on all the benefits

Stephanie Gagnon, RD

Special to The Guardian

Stephanie Gagnon says food is an integral part of social interactions and celebrations and eating together can help reinforce positive eating habits.
Stephanie Gagnon says food is an integral part of social interactions and celebrations and eating together can help reinforce positive eating habits.

Since the President’s Choice Eat Together campaign was introduced in 2017, it has been gaining momentum each year. For those who are not familiar, #EatTogether is meant to inspire Canadians to get back to the table and experience the social power of food to bring people together. Eat Together Day, coming up on June 14, is the focal point of the movement.

Not only is eating together great for combatting loneliness, it also encourages Canadians to eat more nutritious meals, supports early childhood development, builds strong relationships and creates lasting memories. The new Canada’s Food Guide, released in January 2019, even highlights the importance of eating together – because we shouldn’t just be considering what we eat but also how we eat.

The 2019 Eat Together movement asks Canadians to take action by making a pledge to eat together not only on Eat Together Day, but throughout the entire year. Take can the pledge today by visiting pc.ca/eattogether. Join the more than 450,000 Canadians who have already joined the movement.

We know that food is an integral part of social interactions and celebrations, and that eating together can help reinforce positive eating habits. I think it’s important to remind Canadians that eating with others doesn’t have to be saved only for special events, and the food doesn’t have to be fancy. Try planning to have breakfast with friends or a family member, have lunch with a co-worker or even plan a weekly dinner party with extended family or friends.

Most importantly, when you do sit to eat together use it as a chance to connect with those around you and put away distractions – so turn off the television and put away your phone. The point of eating together is to talk to those around you, enjoy the food and simply just be together.

The third annual Eat Together Day takes place on Friday, June 14, with events happening nationwide to encourage Canadians to take time out of their busy days and eat together with friends, family and members of the community. Superstore colleagues invite everyone to join them at their local Atlantic Superstore for an afternoon barbecue where people can sit, eat together and enjoy some music and conversation.

Voluntary donations made at the barbecue will go to President’s Choice Children’s Charity to support local nutrition programs for kids.

Anyone who is thinking of hosting an Eat Together gathering on June 14 or anytime can try this fantastic salad that’s perfect for a barbecue or potluck. Frozen PC Sliced Red Beets are already peeled, sliced and ready to pop in the oven, so enjoy this salad without making a mess of. And both the roasted beets and mandarins add loads of colour, texture and flavour to the table.

Roasted Beet and Mandarin Panzanella Salad

1 pkg (500 g) frozen PC Sliced Red Beets

6 tbsp (90 mL) olive oil

3/4 tsp (4 mL) each salt and black pepper

3 cups (750 mL) cubed crusty bread or baguette (1 inch/2.5 cm cubes)

2 tbsp (25 mL) PC Splendido Balsamic Vinegar of Modena – 2 Leaf

1 tsp (5 mL) each Dijon mustard and honey

3 PC Flavour Burst Orri Easy to Peel Mandarin Oranges, peeled and separated into segments

2 shallots, thinly sliced

1/4 cup (50 mL) torn fresh basil

2 tbsp (25 mL) torn fresh mint

Arrange oven racks in top and bottom thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). Toss together frozen beets, 2 tbsp oil and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper in large bowl. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet. Bake in bottom third of oven, flipping beets once, 15 to 17 minutes. Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, mound bread in centre of separate baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 tbsp oil; toss to coat. Spread in single layer. Bake in top third of oven, stirring once, until golden, 6 to 7 minutes.

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey, remaining 3 tbsp oil and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper in separate large bowl. Add mandarins, shallots, basil, mint, beets and bread; toss gently to combine. Let stand 10 minutes. Toss just before serving.

Tip: We’ve used mandarin oranges in the salad because they’re easy to peel and pull apart into segments, but you can substitute with 1 peeled and segmented navel orange if that’s what you have on-hand.

Serves 6

Per serving: Calories 220 cal, Fat 14 g (2 g of which is saturated), Sodium 430 mg; Carbohydrate 21 g, Fibre 3 g, Sugars 13 g, Protein 3 g

Recipe source: pc.ca


Stephanie Gagnon is a registered dietitian with Atlantic Superstore in Yarmouth and Digby, N.S.

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