Making Hummus

It is April 1 and a wonderful day to start a Healthy Together program. The South Vancouver Family Place in Vancouver BC did just that…they brought together 38 families and introduced a healthy snack of hummus, pita and veggies on beautiful sunny day! Everyone was outside digging in the garden and playing in the sandbox. Many people tried hummus for the first time…some had never had chick peas before. They are going to offer Healthy Together for families in one of their play-based family support programs. We can’t wait to see what exciting activities and learning this group enjoys in the coming weeks. Here is a recipe for Hummus if you want to try making and eating this with your family;



  • 1 can chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tbsp sesame tahini
  • 1 tsb sea salt


  1. Open can of chickpeas and pour out some of the liquid into a cup and set liquid aside for later
  2. Pour chickpeas into a blender with the lemon juice, garlic, tahini and olive oil
  3. Blend, add salt to taste
  4. If hummus is too thick then add some of the water you set aside in step 1 and blend again until you get the right consistency
  5. Enjoy with fresh veggie sticks or pita chips

There is a fun video of a young child making this recipe here;

We have 15 new Healthy Together programs running across Canada starting today…we are very excited to enjoy the journey towards health with each of these programs.

Watch for our introductions in the next two weeks…we will tell you a little bit about each organization as we welcome everyone to the Healthy Together program.

what is moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity?

Recently ParticipACTION revealed the most frequently asked question was, “what is moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity?”

The Healthy Together program teaches families about the importance of physical activity based on the information found in the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines . The term moderate-to-vigorous may be new for some people or you may not understand what exactly is meant by this term.

Dr. Allana Leblanc answers the question for us in her recent blog about this popular question.

She recognizes that “The question is totally valid” and she goes on to explain that:

“ – to meet Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines of 150 minutes per week, your activity has to be at least moderate intensity. And there’s pretty good evidence to suggest that higher intensities (i.e., vigorous intensity) is even better for your health. But the full answer is complicated. The short answer is that moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity is anything that:

  • Makes you breath heavy
  • Feel warm and start to sweat
  • Makes it possible, but hard to have a conversation with someone (moderate-intensity)
  • Impossible to sing out loud to yourself (vigorous-intensity)

If that’s enough guidance for you then STOP READING!

If you want a bit more information, or still don’t quite understand, read on!”

Click here to read the more in depth answer if you are interested.

Take the Pulse Pledge!

Did you know that 2016 is the International Year of Pulse’s? Are you ready to take the PULSE Pledge? Go to Pulse Canada to learn more and sign up.


What is a pulse? Pulse Canada helps us with this question:

Pulses are part of the legume family, but the term “pulse” refers only to the dried seed. Dried peas, edible beans, lentils and chickpeas are the most common varieties of pulses. Pulses are very high in protein and fibre, and are low in fat. Like their cousins in the legume family, pulses are nitrogen-fixing crops that improve the environmental sustainability of annual cropping systems.

Pulses are a great tasting addition to any diet. They are rich in fibre and protein, and have high levels of minerals such as iron, zinc, and phosphorous as well as folate and other B-vitamins. In addition to their nutritional profile and links to improved health, pulses are unique foods in their ability to reduce the environmental footprint of our grocery carts. Put it all together and these sensational seeds are a powerful food ingredient that can be used to deliver the results of healthy people and a healthy planet.

Pulses come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours and can be consumed in many forms including whole or split, ground in to flours or separated into fractions such as protein, fibre and starch.

Pulses do not include fresh beans or peas. Although they are related to pulses because they are also edible seeds of podded plants, soybeans and peanuts differ because they have a much higher fat content, whereas pulses contain virtually no fat.

Have a look at this post for some great recipes including pulses!

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.