Weston Seeding Stronger Communities

Seeding Food Innovation

Awarded Project 2017

Development of easy-to-prepare pulse-based meals for consumption by office workers to combat the negative health consequences of a sedentary work environment

Project Description

The project will involve the development of approximately seven “pulse-based” lunches/snacks, which are designed to be easy to prepare (i.e. “out of the package”) for people in a typical busy office work environment. Pulses include non-oil legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, beans, and peas, which are a major component of the Canadian agricultural industry. These meals/snacks will be developed and tested for consumer satisfaction (i.e. by testing taste, texture, aroma, etc.) through the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc. and will be evaluated for improving health of office workers through a clinical trial at the University of Saskatchewan. We have developed a recipe book of meals we prepared from previous clinical trials. We have shown that the meals from this recipe book are effective for reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease (i.e. reduced blood cholesterol levels) in people at elevated risk for cardiovascular disease. We will choose 10 of the meals/snacks from this recipe book that were identified by previous research participants as most desirable and will develop these into pre-packaged, ready-to-eat meals. Out of these 10 meals, consumer testing will allow identification of the seven favourite meals. We will then evaluate these meals during a clinical trial of office workers, who present with risk factors (i.e. high cholesterol, high blood sugar levels) because of their sedentary work environment (i.e. sitting for long periods of time increases your risk for cardiovascular disease). During this clinical trial, office workers will be supplied with the ready-to-eat pulse based meals/snacks to replace the usual foods they consume during the office day for a two-month period. Before and after the two-month period they will undergo assessments for their blood cholesterol and sugar levels and body composition (i.e. waist girth, body fat levels).

Relevance to the field of food innovation

Pulses are attractive as a food because they are healthy and environmentally sustainable (they require less greenhouse gas input compared to other crops). People are aware of the health benefits of pulses, but a major barrier to consumption is that people don’t know how to prepare them. This project will allow people to more easily prepare healthy meals/snacks for consumption at work.

Anticipated outcome

Our anticipated outcome is the development of seven pulse-based meals or snacks for sale in grocery stores or at work-place canteens.


Dr. Phil Chilibeck

Dr. Phil Chilibeck

Dr. Phil Chilibeck is a Professor in the College of Kinesiology at the University of Saskatchewan. He did his B.Sc. in Kinanthropology at the University of Ottawa, his M.Sc. in Human Biodynamics at McMaster University, his Ph.D. in Kinesiology at Western University, and a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Physical Education and Recreation at the University of Alberta. » More Info

Dr. Gordon Zello

Dr. Gordon Zello

Dr. Gordon Zello is a nutritional scientist who has expertise in measuring the nutrient needs, nutrition attitudes, body composition and energy expenditure in humans. He has been involved in studies examining these nutritional parameters using both traditional and new methods of assessment. His protein requirement research has been cited in the Dietary Reference Intakes which is the nutrition standard » More Info

Dr. Shannon Hood-Niefer

Dr. Shannon Hood-Niefer

Dr. Shannon Hood-Niefer is a Food Scientist and the Vice President - Innovation and Technology at the Saskatchewan Food Industry Development Centre Inc. Her areas of expertise include leadership, project management, extrusion technology, starch chemistry and functionality, pulse crop utilization, and customer satisfaction. She has a B.Sc. in Nutrition, and a B.Sc., M.Sc., and Ph.D. in Food Sciences » More Info