5-Step Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

5-Step Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Here is a simple, delicious and high fibre soup recipe packed with vitamins and minerals. This makes a huge batch and freezes really well so you can enjoy a quick meal later on.
Follow these 4 steps to make your own.


Peel and chop 1 butternut squash, 1.5 cups baby carrots and 1 sweet potato into cubes for roasting. Cube a sweet onion and Granny Smith apple and set aside.


Place sweet potato, squash and carrots on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with cinnamon and allspice. Roast at 450 degrees for 40 minutes.


Sauté sweet onion and apple in a large pot with small amount of olive oil until soft. You can add another sprinkle of cinnamon and allspice here too.


Once the vegetables are done roasting, add them to the pot. Pour in 900 mL of vegetable broth. Add your spices – 1/2 tsp of curry powder, paprika and all spice and 1/4 tsp of ground pepper and ginger. Let this all summer for several minutes.


Use an immersion blender to blend it smooth.



-The butternut squash can be difficult to chop and peel raw. You can also cut the squash length wise and roast this whole. Once cooked, let cool slightly and scoop out the flesh.

-Add a dollop of plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.

Andrea Docherty, RD

5 Tips To Stay Motivated During Your Weight Loss Journey

5 Tips To Stay Motivated During Your Weight Loss Journey

You may find that you are really enthusiastic about making a particular change to your eating habits, but as time goes on, that motivation starts to fade and those goals you set seem difficult to reach. Here are 5 of my tips to help you stay motivated over the long term.

1 – Choose the right reasons for losing weight/eating healthy

There are two types of motivation – intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic motivation means the behaviour is driven by internal rewards. Extrinsic motivation is driven by outside rewards or to avoid punishment.

With weight loss goals, reasons for losing weight can often be extrinsic, like losing weight to look good for a wedding coming up. However, you may be more likely to stay motivated longer by intrinsic motivation. Examples of intrinsic motivation could be eating healthy because it helps you stay energized and focused at work, or because it allows you to have more energy to play with your kids or grandkids.

We may have both of these motivations, but try reminding yourself of the benefits healthy eating will give you internally when you feel motivation decreasing.

2 – Focus on what you can control

Attaining a certain number on the scale should not be a goal.

It can potentially be a tool for tracking progress (though there are better ways), but making it your ultimate goal to attain a certain number on the scale is not going to set you up for success because we can’t really control that number. So, when the scale doesn’t match up with what we expect, we can become frustrated, feel defeated and want to give up.

Instead, set goals around healthy habits that you can work on. An example of this type of goal is: I will pack a balanced lunch with snacks to bring to work each day. The outcome of this goal could be: a) Not buying take out and b) avoiding low energy, cravings or feeling extremely hungry by the time you get home from work. All of those outcomes can have great benefits and will support your goal of weight loss because it could help you avoid buying an unhealthy lunch, and ensure you have enough energy to make dinner or workout after work.

Setting goals around attainable nutrition habits will help to build confidence as you achieve them, allow you to progressively set more challenging goals, and know that you are doing what you can to achieve your goal of weight loss.

 3 – Get some support

Having someone to connect with and support you through this change is key. Whether it be for accountability, providing words of encouragement, or to make meal prep work easier, it will help you feel like you aren’t alone. Talk to the people in your life so they can understand what changes you are trying to make and how they can support you – even if they don’t want to change yet themselves. Some examples of how you can get support from friends and family include:

  • Find someone to run or workout with
  • Text your workout to a friend as accountability
  • Have your spouse or kids help you with the cooking or food prep
  • Exchange healthy recipes or meals with friends

4 – Let go of all or none thinking

This type of thinking comes up in many areas of life, not just in healthy eating, but it makes it really easy for people to think they have fallen off track with one or two “treats,” and have a hard time getting back to their routine.

Learn to accept that healthy eating really is a lifestyle. There will be times when you can indulge in something a bit less healthy, but its about finding that right balance for you so you don’t feel deprived, but are also not giving into every treat or temptation that comes your way. Some things that can help are not putting any foods “off-limits,” and practicing mindful eating.

 5 – Use visualization and be specific about your goals

Clarify your reasons for change and visualize how your life will look like when you reach your goal.

When in a situation where you can be tempted by something that can get in the way of your goals (such as choosing to skip the gym or not cook dinner because you are tired), taking a moment to pause and think about this image or long term goal in your mind can help you to resist the short lived reward or satisfaction that you may get.

I would love to hear your thoughts! Do you have any tips to share?

Written by: Andrea Docherty, RD

Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist

Windsor, Ontario

Carb Loading: Should you eat pasta the night before a race?

Carb Loading: Should you eat pasta the night before a race?

You often hear of runners and long distance endurance athletes fuelling up on a big pasta dinner the night before a race. Is this going to help your performance? Does that mean you have carb loaded? Read on to find out this and more!

What is Carb Loading?

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy during physical activity. We store carbs as glycogen in the muscle and liver – enough glycogen to get us though about 60-90 minutes of moderately intense exercise.

That big pasta dinner, which is full of carbohydrates, may be an effort to increase your glycogen stores, also known as carb loading. However, true carbohydrate loading involves eating a higher carbohydrate diet for a few days (not just the night before) and tapering exercise. This will help you to maximize your glycogen stores, beyond what they can typically store day to day so you can sustain exercise at a harder pace for longer.

For shorter races under about 1.5 hours, such as a 5 or 10km race or short triathlon, carb loading is not needed because this is not enough to deplete glycogen. However, for longer, continuous endurance events for sports such as cycling, marathon running, long distance triathlons, and cross-country skiing, carb loading will be beneficial.

How to Carb Load:

Early methods of carbohydrate loading used in the 1960s were very extreme. They involved intense exercise and a very low carb intake to fully deplete stores and then a very high carb intake to supercomensate and maximize glycogen. Over time new, less extreme methods to carb loading have been studied and developed that are still effective.

Carb loading should take place 1-3 days before a race. At this point, you are likely tapering your exercise and the combination of less exercise and a higher carbohydrate intake will help to fill glycogen stores. 7-12g of carbohydrates per kg of body weight is recommended.

So, for a 60kg (132 lb) female that’s at least 420g carb/day. That’s a lot of pasta! (1 cup of cooked pasta has about 45g of carbohydrates). Good news is, there are many other foods you can eat besides pasta. It hasn’t been shown that one carbohydrate rich food in particular is better at storing glycogen

Selected Examples to Include while Carb Loading

  • Rice
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Beets
  • Oatmeal
  • Quinoa and other whole grains
  • Bread, bagels, wraps
  • Fruit
  • Squash – Butternut, acorn
  • Cereal

Choose your carbs wisely and keep overall total calories about the same. Sorry but this isn’t an excuse to eat anything in sight! Foods you may think are carb rich like cake and pastries are also high in fat. You still want high quality, nutrient dense foods to keep you feeling you best. Higher fat carbs like deep fried foods, chocolate, pastries may lead to eating excess overall calories and unwanted weight gain and leave you feeling sluggish – things you do not want leading up to a race!

While carb loading, you’ll still be eating some protein and fat, but not as much. Overall calorie intake remains around the same. So at a meal, replace some protein and fat with carbohydrate rich foods to help prevent unwanted fat gain.

Weight Gain:

  • Expected weight gain while carb loading is about 2-4 lb but if done correctly, the weight gained is the glycogen and water that your body stores. With every gram of carbohydrate you store as glycogen, your body also stores 3 grams of water along with that.

Carb Loading Tips:

  • Watch out for fibre intake. Fibre will help to keep you regular, but as your overall intake of carbohydrates intake is high, you may be getting a lot of fibre. Too much fibre can lead to diarrhea maybe constipation and GI distress. Include low fibre foods too like white rice and pasta, saltine crackers. Also be aware that too little fibre can lead to constipation.
  • Compact sources of carbohydrates can help you meet your needs if you are feeling full – such as jam, honey, sports drinks, and sweetened yogurt.
  • Don’t wait until the last meal before the race to load up on carbs because they may not fully digest and just leave you feeling quite full. You may find a larger breakfast or lunch works best if find a carb heavy dinner makes you feel full in the morning.
  • Just as you train your gut to fuel you during long runs, you want to try out carb loading during long training runs.

That big pasta dinner the night before your race isn’t necessarily going to boost your performance the next day, but incorporate more high quality, carbohydrate rich foods a few days leading up to a long race. If this is new for you, be sure to test it out before a longer training run.

If you want personalized nutrition advice, carb loading and race day nutrition plans or help with your other nutrition needs contact me at andreadocherty.rd@gmail.com

For more useful tips for runners, you may be interested in these posts:

Pre-Exercise Nutrition Guide

Post Exercise Nutrition Guide to Refuel and Recover

Written by: Andrea Docherty, RD

Registered Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist

Windsor, Ontario