Fresh, Frozen or Canned can all be Healthy Choices

Natalie Laframboise, Ministry of Health Senior Policy Analyst, writes a blog for Healthy Families BC that highlights the benefits and nutritional value of fresh, frozen and canned fruits and vegetables.


She says, “There’s a terrible rumour going around that canned and frozen are inferior to fresh fruits and veggies in both taste and nutrition. So I’m writing this blog to set the story straight, once and for all, fresh, frozen or canned can all be healthy choices and here’s why:” click on the link if you want to read the full story :

Advocacy: Steps to success

Guest Post written by Dana Ismail, Leah Bratvold, Anika Sukkhu, Bria Szell, and Sarah Szell 

Hi there ! We are students from Saskatchewan who want you to know that advocating can begin at any age. Follow these easy steps to making a difference in your community!

M2K team

  1. Inspiration – It begins with an idea…

When we saw what our school canteen sold to the kids and tried to make some changes to the menu, it made us realize how much companies are trying to sell unhealthy food to kids. For that reason, it is so hard to make healthy choices. In our life we are surrounded by advertisements and reminders to eat food that’s bad for us.  We were shocked about how unhealthy our world has become and this inspired us to take on this project.

  1. Educate yourself – Knowledge is power!

There are many ways to learn about a topic. Here are some of the ways we learned about Marketing to Kids:

  • Talked to experts in the field of nutrition like our public health nutritionist
  • Attended changing the menu conference
  • Started actively looking for ways companies market to kids
    • Social media and games
    • Incentives when you buy unhealthy foods
    • Placement in stores and at our local canteen
    • Sponsorship of our sports teams
    • Packaging is fun
  1. Define your goal – Continue to make new ones!

During this project, we discovered many goals we wanted to achieve:

  • make a photo voice
  • speak with people of the division board, so that our message could be heard
  • present our story nationally, so that our message would be heard more openly to others around our country

These goals have concluded that in doing this project, our main goal is to encourage others about the importance of healthy eating and healthy choices in schools and communities. We hope that the word keeps spreading about who we are, what we’re doing, and why we’re doing it, because we want to inspire others to do the same. Marketing affects everyone and if we make a difference, in coming together, we will be the change seen in the world.

  1. Power in numbers – Surround yourself with like-minded people

In the beginning, a bunch of friends all had the same idea about the junk in our schools being so bad, we partnered with our SLC (Student Leadership Council) they helped us organize a meeting with the teacher who runs the canteen. Turns out the public health unit, nurses and nutritionists agreed with us too and offered to help. Then the Heart and Stroke Foundation heard about us and since they were working on the same stuff, they asked us if we would like to do a photo voice on M2K (marketing to kids).  From there we invited like-minded community leaders to learn about our photo voice. Then we presented at the principals meeting and to lots of service groups who all thought we were doing great work.  From there we got asked to speak at the national school food conference called changing the menu. It was really great to have 450 like minded delegates, all adults!  Who knew that kids and adults from across the country all want the same thing.

  1. Present your findings

It is important to share knowledge because kids are very unhealthy. It was important to present to the principles because we need to spread awareness about unhealthy eating habits. The presentation with the school board was successful because they did make our canteen healthier. The conference in Montreal was a good learning experience, since we got to go to other presentations and learn some things we didn’t know before, which helped our knowledge on unhealthy food. For the interviews, we mostly talked about how we got started and our next steps.

  1. Facing adversary – You can’t change everyone’s view
  •  Laugh it off!
  • Educate yourself and others
  • Know your facts!
  • Small changes are better than no changes
  • Never give up

 After coming back from Montreal we have many new plans ahead for the New Year in 2016! M2K kids hope to speak to both provincial and federal government leaders in hopes of shining light on healthy eating and marketing regulations and asking them to pass some legislation to make life better for kids. We will be partnering with the Heart and Stroke foundation once again in hopes of attending Heart on the Hill Day at Parliament this spring. By presenting at this event we hope to let the leaders know that the kids of Canada want government to stop the marketing of unhealthy foods to kids across Canada. There is a possibility that we will be spreading the word even further by taping a video that could be shared with schools about the importance and effects of marketing to kids.  It will give other students an idea of how to take up the fight where they live.  We will continue to encourage others to make positive changes for healthy eating and healthy choices in schools and communities.  Coming back from the Changing the Menu Conference in Montreal we feel ready to take on the next challenge we`re faced with and feel that we can accomplish anything. Look out Canada, M2K is coming for you!

Seasons Greetings!

2015 HT Christmas card

Wiggly Ribbons activity


One of the physical activities from our curriculum is Wiggly Ribbons. It’s been a hit with all ages and doubles and a fun and quick craft activity too. If you are going to make wiggly ribbons with your Healthy Together group go ahead and try making them with hair ties and coloured crepe paper. These inexpensive supplies can produce a whole lot of fun.


Facilitator Training in Hamilton, ON

Here we are in Hamilton! We just completed another successful Healthy Together Training in Vancouver with a great group of attendees at the British Columbia Aboriginal Child Care Society. We now have another 29 trained Healthy Together Facilitators who can offer a program that strengthens family, friend and community relationships as they teach and practice healthy weight strategies with families. We had a lot of fun practicing some of these ideas ourselves…have a look as we practice our dance moves, and get our hearts beating a little faster and have some fun.


Dr. Mary Jung is one of Kelowna’s Top 40 under 40!

Our project lead evaluator, Dr. Mary Jung has been featured as one of Kelowna’s Top 40 under 40.

561453633bd5c.image Read the full article about how she ‘walks and works’ from the Kelowna Courier here;

Greetings from Healthy Together Training – Kelowna

Greetings from the Healthy Together training event being held today and tomorrow in Kelowna. We are launching the first training for the 2015 2016 year of the Healthy Weights for Children Project…an initiative of the Innovations Strategy funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Healthy Together 4

We are very excited to train 100 new facilitators across Canada in this project year. We have revised our Facilitator Guide and the 3rd Edition is now available on the login portion of the website version for all trained facilitators past and present.

Healthy Together 3

Next stop is Winnipeg on October 6th and 7th where we will join facilitators at the historic Fort Garry Hotel…we still have spots available for this event. This is a free training event which provides a Facilitator training kit to all those who complete the training….Facilitator Manual, Facilitator Guide, Website login and access to all resources required to offer this innovative, family health program in your community.

Contact us for more information if you are interested in the Healthy Together training or if you want to find a trained facilitator in your community.

Healthy Living App gives smart rewards

What motivates you to get fit? How about earning points that you can redeem against travel and groceries? (Yes please!)

The federal government has announced a new app that will reward Canadian for making healthier lifestyle decisions.

Carrot Rewards

Read the full story here >

Site Visit to Kootenay Family Place

Michele travelled to Castlegar for a Healthy Together site visit at the end of June. She was greeted by Laura Munoz (Evaluator) at the airport and taken to the Kootenay Family Place for the final session of Healthy Together for 7-12 year olds.

Kootenay Family Place Veggies

A real highlight of this visit was the use of fresh vegetables to greet children and provide their after school snack. The day at hand was an exciting experience for the families because the activity for the day was skateboarding. Two Healthy Together staff were skilled and passionate about this sport and brought their enthusiasm to the group. They provided safety gear and skateboards for anyone that wanted to try this activity. Staff led the participants in the basics and supported them to try their hand at this sport. For some this sport was already a part of their fitness routine because Castlegar has an active skateboard park program in place, for others it was a first experience at this sport. This group demonstrated a great use of local talent and the promotion of local, free community activities as a physical activity option. Physical Activity, like people, comes in a variety of shapes and styles. Skateboarding was offered twice in the same session to provide two activity breaks which was very needed by this active group of youth. Castlegar will enjoy a summer of skateboard activity and now maybe a few more families will be using the service and joining their children for a fun day at the park.

Kootenay Family Place Making Sushi

Following the activity everyone had great fun trying their hands at making sushi!

Smartphone Apps for Healthy Living

In 2014 Dr Petrella and his research team,  along with Dietitians of Canada, developed two new smartphone apps which aim to support Canadians to lead a healthier lifestyle. The apps focus on physical inactivity and unhealthy diet.

HealtheSteps app: Improving physical activity and fitness levels; reducing sedentary time.

HealtheSteps app

The app gives you everything you need to get more active – built in fitness test, personalized exercise prescription, goals, tracking, heart rate monitor and a virtual coach to keep you motivated. Perfect for beginner who want to get more physically active as well as more experienced exercisers looking for an evidence based approach.

eaTracker app: Improving overall nutrition and healthy eating behaviours.

eaTracker app

Developed by Dietitians of Canada, you can use eaTracker to check your food and activity choices, analyze your recipes and plan your meals. Sign up to set goals and track your progress.