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Is it time to become an adult with regards to your nutrition habits?

It is finally the time to become an adult around your food choices and eating habits.

In this blog post from Michal Ofer, she gives insight into the reality of our adult lives with simple ideas on how to make positive changes in some key areas:

  1. Not cooking for yourself when you are alone
  2. Overindulging because you are on vacation
  3. Not being mindful about your eating
  4. Fighting your healthy weight

Click here to read her post.

Cook It Up Healthy! Time Saving Techniques

TIME, TIME, TIME, TIME, – we all want more of it but we can't make more hours in a day. We can, however, find ways to use time wisely to make healthy and tasty food that you and your family will enjoy.  Read our tips below – you're sure to find solutions that work for you.

This article comes from the Dietitians of Canada.

MAKE ‘PLANNED EXTRAS'
 
Different from leftovers, ‘planned extras’ are made on purpose! Get the most out of your time by cooking more food than you need for one meal. Plan to use the extra food for another meal within the next couple of days. Below are some great 'planned extra' ideas.

 
USE CONVENIENCE FOODS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
 
Try the new selections of washed and ready-to-eat produce items such as broccoli slaw, baby spinach or romaine lettuce; the salad will be ready in a flash!

  • Canned legumes, such as chickpeas or black beans, drained and rinsed, make a super simple salad.
  • Pre-shredded cheese can make quick work of pasta dishes, pizza toppings or for sprinkling on salads and using in wraps.
  • Canned fruit in its own juice can jump start a fruit salad.
  • Frozen, partially baked whole grain bread can be popped into the oven.
  • Frozen vegetables are nutritious and ready to help round out your meal; steam them lightly to keep great crunch and flavour.
  • Frozen fruits are great in a smoothie, on cereal or in a fruit crisp.

GO FOR SLOW
 
A slow cooker is a great kitchen appliance that can help you have a hot dinner on the table without much fuss. Simply follow your slow cooker recipe and go about your busy day. The food cooks slowly and safely.

BIG-BATCH IT!

Weekends can be a great time to prepare big batches of food that can be refrigerated or frozen for later use. Get together with family, friends or neighbours and share the work. Foods such as soups, stews, chili, casseroles,
muffins, loaves and pancakes are perfect foods to 'big-batch'.

MAKE YOUR FREEZER YOUR FRIEND!

Many standard recipes can be doubled or tripled and frozen in meal sized airtight containers or resealable freezer bags. Quickly defrost a meal on nights when time is tight.

Click here for some menu ideas using these time saving techniques.

Try these fun activities with a fidget spinner

Here’s a way to put those ubiquitous fidget spinners to use that will get kids moving more than just their fingers and will relieve stress in a whole different way.

This article comes from Active for Life.

Here’s how it works:

Take the fidget spinner and place it on the floor or flat part of the ground. If you have a group participating, each person gets to take a turn spinning and also chooses the movement that the group will do together for as long as the fidget spinner keeps spinning. As soon as it stops, everyone stops moving and the next person takes a turn. You can decide as a group how long you’ll keep it up for. Dai and his family chose to keep moving for 15 minutes and that worked great. The time flies by because everyone is having so much fun spinning and moving.

List of movements to choose from:

  • Hopping on your right foot
  • Hopping on your left foot
  • Balancing on your right foot
  • Balancing on your left foot
  • Skipping
  • Jumping
  • Running (on the spot if you don’t have a lot of space)
  • Sprinting
  • Throw a ball into a bucket or large bin (have a bunch of balls ready so you don’t have to retrieve the original)
  • Bouncing a ball
  • Crab walk
  • Bear crawl
  • Playing catch
  • Keeping a volley going with tennis or badminton racquets
  • Galloping
  • Jump rope
  • Tightrope walk
  • Freestyle – make up your own movement for the group to try!

This activity is perfect for classrooms, camp groups, playdates, and siblings looking for something fun to do at home.

One piece of chalk, 8 active games

Find a safe spot in a driveway, a schoolyard, or on a sidewalk, and prepare to chalk up the fun your kids will have.

This article comes from Active for Life.

1. Hopscotch

This is an oldie (as in kids have been playing it for over 300 years) but a definite goodie. The rules are simple and kids can either draw their own course with the chalk or have a parent help. Use your imagination and draw the boxes to be jumped in in various colours and shapes. Use the chalk as the marker or find stones, beanbags, buttons or small plastic toys. Once your children have conquered hopping the course, see if they can double hop on each box or use varying feet for hopping on the way up and the way back the course.

Skills Developed: Hopping, throwing, balance, coordination

2. Avoid the Shark

With different colours of chalk, draw “beaches” various distances apart. Use blue chalk to draw water and shark fins between the beaches and have kids jump from beach to beach to avoid the “sharks” in the “water.”

Skills developed: Hopping

3. Chalk Bullseye

Use various colours of chalk and draw concentric circles with a bullseye in the middle. Within each circle, write point values if kids want to brush up on their math skills or simply use markers to see who can throw an item closest to the bullseye. For markers, use chalk, stones or on hot summer days, wet sponges or water balloons.

Skills developed: Throwing

4. 4 Square

4 Square is extremely popular in many schoolyards at recess. Draw your own 4 Square court with chalk, mark a number from 1 to 4 in each square, and use a bouncy ball to play this fun game. Each player stands in each of the squares, and the player in square 4 starts by bouncing the ball in their square and then hitting it towards one of the other squares. The receiving player then hits the ball to any other player. The ball must bounce in the receiving player’s square once and they must hit it to another player before it bounces a second time. If the player misses a square or the ball bounces a second time before they hit it, they are “out”. If there are more than 4 players, the player who is out goes to the end of the line of waiting players. If there are only 4 players, the player who is out would move to the next lowest position, 4 being the highest square.

Skills developed: Striking

5. Chalk Maze

Have kids design their own web of squiggly lines, circles, and other lines with chalk to design a maze through which others can walk, run, cycle, or scooter. The bigger, more colourful, and more intricate the maze, the more fun kids will have working their way through.

Skills developed: Running

6. Alphabet Hop

Use chalk to make 26 squares or circles fairly close to one another and write the letters of the alphabet in each. For kids just learning their alphabet, call out letters to hop from one to another. For kids who are able to spell, call out words to spell and have them hop using one or two feet from one letter to another. During the summer months, this is a not-so-subtle way to work on spelling skills while having fun.

Skills developed: Hopping

7. Sidewalk Twister

Find me a person who doesn’t like Twister and I will show you my best “what you takin’ about” face. Create your own chalk twister board with at least four colours and four shapes and have another child or parent call out instructions as to where children should place their right hands, right feet, left hands and left feet. Keep the traditional rules of Twister by having kids balance while moving each hand and foot to different coloured shapes without falling over, or make your own rules. Have kids roar like lions on blue squares or hop like bunnies on a green circle. Ask them to laugh like their moms on a yellow triangle or stand as tall as a tree on a red squiggle.

Skills developed: Depends on activities chosen

8. Corners

This game requires at least three players but can be played with many more. Draw a large square court with smaller squares drawn in each corner in different colours. Draw a circle in the middle of the court. One person is designated the “counter” and stands in the circle in the middle of the court. The counter closes their eyes and counts to ten. While their eyes are closed, the other players skip around the court and choose a corner to stand in (more than one person can stand in one of the corners). With their eyes still closed after counting to ten, the counter calls out one of the four corner colours. Whoever is standing in that colour is out. The game continues until all players are out.

Skills developed: skipping

Head to your nearest yard, driveway, or sidewalk and prepare for your kids to spend endless hours of active fun with one piece of “equipment.” And if they start telling you Simon-like stories of climbing into magical places with dragons and fairies, it will have been an even more super-fantastic day.

 

Make Sure Water is Safe to Drink When Camping and Hiking

This article comes from Healthy Families BC.

Summers are wonderful for exploring BC’s beautiful wilderness. With a little knowledge and some preparation, you can make sure the water you drink during your outdoorsy vacation will be safe and clean.

What can happen if I drink water from lakes, rivers or ponds?

Beaver fever: A crazy beaver fad? Nope! A beaver with a high temperature? Wrong again!

Beaver fever is a common name for the water-borne infection caused by ingesting Giardia lamblia, a type of protozoa found in many natural sources of untreated water, such as lakes, rivers and ponds. Protozoa are just one type of itsy-bitsy (not a technical term) disease-causing micro-organisms that you may be exposed to if you drink water from an untreated source this summer. Bacteria and viruses are other examples of disease-causing micro-organisms you might encounter if you drink water from an unsafe source.

How sick will drinking untreated water make me?

Want your summer vacation to be known as that-time-I-drank-untreated-creek-water-and-almost-died-from-liquid-poo? Probably not.

Symptoms vary depending on what micro-organism you drank, the amount, and the strength of your immune system. Generally, the symptoms can include: diarrhea, cramping, gas (foul smelling i.e. rotten egg smell), vomiting, and muscle pain. In extreme cases, death can result, particularly in those with weakened immune systems.

How do I know if water is safe to drink on my vacation?

Although water in streams, lakes, cabins, rural cottages, or campgrounds may appear to be pristine, if the water is untreated or the water system has not been properly maintained, drinking the water may put you at risk for water-borne infections (like beaver fever). Besides the risk to your health, it could make for an awkward first trip with your in-laws to the family cabin!

Contact the campground or cabin owner ahead of time to ask where the drinking water comes from. The answer you are looking for is that it comes from a water supplier permitted by the local health authority. If not, then there is no one overseeing whether the water has been treated well enough.Do Not Drink - Untreated Water

At the campsite, watch for signs posted that indicate water is not okay to drink. If there is a sign of a tap with a line through it or the water pipes are purple, the water is not safe to drink.

If water is untreated, be aware of other ways you could come into contact with it (e.g. accidentally breathing in or swallowing infected water). For example, be careful when showering and when nearby sprinkler systems.

If you are not confident that the water is safe to drink, bring bottled water or make sure to disinfect the water yourself. Learn how to disinfect drinking water.

7 Kid Favorite Veggies

Do you have a hard time getting your kids to eat vegetables? In this post from Weelicious, you will learn 7 kid-friendly receipes that will make vegetables way more enjoyable for your kids to eat (and maybe even you too).

My kids love vegetables. It wasn’t always that way with each of them, but over the years, through the stages and phases I can get them to eat vegetables without fuss or anxiety. These 7 kid favorite veggies will get even the pickiest of eaters to change their ways. The first and most important tip to get a kid to love them is to change the way they’re prepared. Does you kid hate over cooked, soggy Brussels sprouts? Try lightly sautéing them in bacon so they have a slightly smoky, salty flavor. It will immediately have them intrigued. Not a fan of sweet potatoes? Cut them into sticks, toss with cinnamon and bake them up. Even raw kale can get some extra love with a sprinkle of jazzy seasoning and time in the oven to crisp them up.

Don’t get frustrated or give up just because your little one gives you the Heisman when you’re offering a new vegetable at dinner. All you need to do is switch up your tactic. Serve raw vegetables with hummus, top pizza dough with plenty of gooey cheese and assorted green veggies or mix a few bite size favorites like edamame and corn and turn into a bite size stir fry. No matter what you do, make it fun, eat them with your kids and show them that eating veggies is delicious and nutritious!

Click here to read the rest of the post and to get the receipes.

 

 

Stop Focussing on Exercise

Exercise is a modern invention. For millions of years humans got along just fine without it.

In the article below, from Partipaction, you'll learn why we need to focus more on physical activity and less on exercise.

To be clear, humans were physically active. They hunted animals and foraged for food. They travelled great distances, but they didn’t exercise. At least not in the way we think of it today.

Exercise is technically defined as planned, structured, repetitive and intentional movement intended to improve or maintain physical fitness, like endurance, flexibility and strength. It’s what you do when you go to the gym to get stronger.

Physical activity, on the other hand, includes all types of movement. Anything from running errands to washing your car. From walking your dog to dancing at a wedding. All exercise is physical activity, but not all physical activity is exercise. It’s a fingers and thumbs type situation.

Exercise, as a thing people do, really only became popular after WWII. It’s strange to think now, given its high prevalence in our society, but before the 1940s working out wasn’t common. Intentional exercise was rare.

Fast forward to today and exercise is everywhere. A colossal fitness industry has been built upon the notion that we need exercise. We need it to manage our weight. Our hearts need it. Our bones need it. Cardio and curls. Sit-ups and squats. The message that we all need more exercise is one we’ve become accustomed to hearing.

The problem is that it’s not entirely true. We all need to work our muscles, hearts and lungs. We need to be physically active. But strictly speaking, we don’t necessarily need to exercise.

Why the difference matters

Now, at first glance, you might think that’s an odd point to make, especially for ParticipACTION. Who cares whether we say physical activity or exercise, because at the end of the day, aren’t we all talking about the same thing? Not really.

The difference matters because we have preconceived notions about exercise and many of them aren’t helpful for leading an active life.

The first, and most obvious, is that many people hate exercising. They find gyms intimidating and lifting weights boring. They don’t enjoy it. They dread it. They loathe it. They’d, quite simply, rather not.

So, a message about exercising more is liable to fall on deaf ears. It meets with a resounding, “No thanks.” If we really want Canadians to move more, and we definitely should, moving past the language of exercise is essential. It’s possible to lead an active life with minimal exercise and that’s a message more Canadians need to hear.

The second, less obvious notion is that many people have come to believe that exercise alone is enough to be healthy and fit. Unfortunately, in recent years, physical activity research has proven that things are actually more complicated. 

When it comes to your health, the amount of time you spend at the gym isn’t the only thing that matters. What’s important is not just how active you are, but also, how sedentary you are. Sedentary behaviours are activities that require very little energy and that are generally done while sitting or lying down. Think watching TV, working on a computer, and riding in a car. This is not to be confused with physical inactivity, which refers to not getting enough heart-pumping physical activity.

It’s actually altogether too easy for someone who exercises regularly to lead an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. People who go to the gym three times a week but spend 8 or more hours sitting every day at work fall into this category of active couch potatoes. They get enough activity, but they sit too much.

What’s troubling is that physical activity research has shown that movement doesn’t undo the negative effects of sitting. In other words, regardless of how much time you spend at the gym, sitting all day is bad for your health. There are two sides to the physical activity coin and both of them matter for independent reasons. That’s why ParticipACTION is about moving more AND sitting less.

With this in mind, it becomes clear why using exercise as a stand-in for physical activity is a bad habit. It leads some people to think of the last thing they’d ever consider doing and others to ignore an aspect of physical activity that is essential to their wellbeing. It glosses over a difference that matters.

So, how much exercise do people really need?

Canada has Physical Activity Guidelines, not exercise guidelines, for a reason. For optimal health, adults need 150 minutes, or 2.5 hours, of heart-pumping physical activity each week.

Exercise can be a great way for people to accumulate those minutes. If you love going to the gym, that’s awesome. Go squat it out.

If, however, you don’t enjoy exercise, take solace in the fact that it’s possible to lead an active life without ever stepping foot in a gym. Focus on walking more, taking breaks from sitting as often as possible (ideally 2 minutes every 30 minutes), and getting your heart-pumping in ways you actually enjoy, like playing a sport, biking to work, or hiking trails on the weekend.

Exercise is a modern invention, but unfortunately, it’s not a modern solution. Exercise alone will not solve today’s inactivity crisis. Instead, we would do better to look back to a time before exercise existed, when movement was a way of life.

In our quest to make things convenient, we’ve figured out motionless ways to acquire all the basic necessities of life, forgetting in our haste, that moving our bodies is one of those necessities.

That’s something our modern conception of exercise too often leaves out. We would all do well to think about physical activity in a broader, more essential, and hopefully more enjoyable way.

New Parent Cheat Sheet

How to Give Your Baby an Active Start

(article from www.activeforlife.com)

Does it seem odd to be thinking about raising an active child when your baby hasn’t been born yet or can’t even roll over on her own? As a new parent or new parent-to-be there’s a lot to think about and physical activity might seem like something that you can postpone focusing on about for at least a few more years.

In the first year of life, your infant learns simple motor coordination skills that are essential to all aspects of her cognitive, emotional, and physical development. She can’t be rushed but she can be encouraged in ways that will make being active easier when she gets a bit older.

It’s a lot like setting the stage for a love of language and reading. Intuitively many parents talk to our babies, sing nursery rhymes and songs, and read stories to them, even when they are too young to make sense of what we’re saying (sometimes we do this even while they are still in the womb!). These things help children develop language skills and help them to recognize sounds and letters, then learn to talk, and someday to read. It’s exactly the same with simple physical play and movement with your baby. You are laying the foundation for your child to develop physical literacy as she grows by promoting your baby’s brain networking and sensory awareness.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

10 ways to make biking fun for kids

Riding a bike can be one of life's great pleasures. The wind in your hair, the freedom, and the fun can be hard to beat.

For a lot of young kids just starting out, though, there’s another reality about biking that is also true: it can be difficult and it makes little legs tired. Some kids will want to go on longer bike rides right away but most need a little encouragement.

These tips from AfL Role Model, Tanya Koob, will get your kids rolling in no time:

1. Pedal through puddles

Find some big bad puddles to ride through and organize a puddle fest biking event with friends.

2. Plan a fun destination

Biking is the same as hiking. Kids need a destination and a purpose. Riding for the sake of riding may work for some kids but for others, riding to a playground, a duck pond, a big bridge, or even ice-cream shop just might be the incentive they need.

3. Go off the beaten path

Do some exploring and try out some natural trails for a bit of variety. Maybe your child just doesn’t like pavement. As a plus, it doesn’t hurt as much if they fall.

4. Head for the hills

Find a gentle grass hill and let your child have fun practicing his or her gliding down it. Grab the video camera and play the movie when you get home. Kids love watching themselves in action!

5. Have fun with natural obstacles

Set up a natural obstacle course using trees, hills, narrow twisty paths, or piles of dirt to add some challenge.

6. Get your game on

Try setting up some races, a game of Follow the Leader, or a friendly bike competition.

7. Take a break

Stop to play in the mud, collect sticks, throw rocks in a river, play in a forest. Just get off the bikes and let the kids have some time for free play.

8. Bring friends

As I always say, bringing a friend is like giving your child a superman cape. Try it. It works magic.

9. Make it a family ride

Maybe your child needs to see Mom and Dad on a bike, too. I bought my first adult bike last spring so that I could be a motivation to my son.

10. Know when to call it quits

Bring a Chariot for younger kids when they tire out or even use it to carry their bikes when going up steep hills. Know when it’s time to turn around, and don’t push it. Power marathon bike rides usually end poorly when children get too tired to keep going.

This article is from Active for Life.

Build Positive Relationships

This article comes from Healthy Families BC.

Connect with the people around you – with family, friends, colleagues and neighbours – at home, work, school or in your community. Think of these relationships as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. These connections will support and enrich you every day.

Actions you can take:

  • Volunteer in your community.
  • Take part in activities or committees at work.
  • Check out your local cultural centres and get involved with cultural activities, dance, events and music.
  • Join a team, club, society or organization that has meaning for you. Try crafts, sports, music, book clubs, travel, games or outdoor activities – just to name a few.
  • Host a potluck lunch at work or a dinner in your neighborhood.
  • Practice smiling at strangers – you may be surprised at the smiles you get back!
  • Start a joke collection and share with friends.
  • Read your local newspaper or bulletin board in a community centre or store to find out what is happening in your neighbourhood.
  • Disconnect from screens – play cards or try a board game instead.
  • Learn more about other views of connectedness and spirituality in your community.

Increasing Your Productivity with Exercise

In this short 3-minute video, Doctor Mike Evans shares how exercise helps you be more productive so you can actually get more done during your day.

18 ways to get kids to go outside

Ask a group of parents or grandparents what they did for fun when they were growing up, and where they were when they were doing it.

Compare their answers with the activities of today’s kids. You’ll probably find that, unlike previous generations, childhood memories today are mostly made indoors, away from nature, and dominated by screen time.

Many kids are growing up in urban environments and many aren’t moving enough. When we live without “Vitamin N” (the “N” is for nature) and experience nature-deficit disorder we don’t live well. Plus, playing outside is an important way for kids to develop movement skills.

But more and more parents struggle with getting kids outdoors at all times of the year. Click here to learn 18 proven tricks that will get them outside and playing.

What's the Best Diet? Healthy Eating 101

In this 15-minute video Dr. Mike Evans reviews the more popular diets and gives some simple reccomendations on how we can all eat better.

Meeting Nutrition Needs of Vegetarian Teens

Feeding kids can be exhausting, and just when you think you’re safely out of the picky-eating years, you can find yourself faced with other dietary demands. Insert your newly proclaimed vegetarian teen that looks just like the teen who asked you for hamburgers for dinner yesterday.

Regardless of whether it is a short-term trend or a lifetime commitment, setting them up to be a knowledgeable vegetarian is a great way to support their decision.

One of the biggest concerns non-vegetarian parents have is whether their teen can meet all their nutrition needs, grow, and be healthy when modifying their diet this way. And the answer is… absolutely!

To read the rest of this article from Healthy Families BC, click here.

Fitness Fridays - LIVE WELL - Core Exercise

For those of you who are looking for safe and effective exercises you can do at home or at the gym, this post is for you. This video is brought to you by Julie Elliot and her team at the LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic in Abbotsford. Julie can be reached at julieelliott@livewellclinicabbotsford.ca.