Today's Small Step

To quit smoking takes hard work and a lot of effort, but you can quit smoking. It will be one of the most important things you will ever do.

Healthy Foods

Schedule “outdoor” time each day. Put together a bag of play and sport equipment to bring outside.

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Fall Activity Challenge

Registered Nurse

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Health Tips

  • Top your favourite whole grain cereal with fruit and yogurt.
  • Know your portions – not sure how many grains to eat in a day or how much dairy you really need? Click here for a copy of the Canada Food Guide and get your portions back on track.
  • Eat slower to consume fewer calories – when you feel physically full your stomach was probably truly full several bites before. Eat more slowly, give your brain a chance to know you are full.
  • Eat every two to three hours – eating every 2-3 hours helps to get your metabolism going, your blood sugars stable and reduces cravings.
  • Don’t drink your calories – be careful with calorie rich drinks like pop, sweetened teas, juice and specialty drinks. It is really easy to consume large amounts of calories and still feel hungry.
  • Choose foods that are lower in the glycemic index more often – lower GI foods are absorbed into your blood more slowly which helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Click here for more information.
  • Choose healthier fats - canola oil, peanut oil, and olive oil, as well as avocados, nuts (like almonds, hazelnuts, and pecans) and seeds (such as pumpkin, sesame), unheated sunflower, corn, soybean, and flaxseed oils, and walnuts.
  • Have fish twice per week – healthy omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids are found in fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and some cold water fish oil supplements.
  • Try different types of protein – beans (black beans, navy beans, garbanzos, and lentils), nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pecans), soy products (tofu, soy milk, tempeh and veggie burgers).
  • Stick to the edges of the grocery store - In general, healthy eating ingredients are found around the outer edges of most grocery stores—fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and poultry, whole grain breads and dairy products.
  • Make your own frozen yogurt – instead of ice cream treats try freezing your favourite yogurt in a popsicle tray.
  • De-butter your popcorn – instead lightly spray your popcorn with olive oil and add a small amount of your favourite seasoning.
  • Make healthy french fries – cut up potato or sweet potatoes and place in your oven with a small amount of oil and herbs and spices.
  • Drink water first – feel hungry? You might be thirsty. When you feel hungry, drink a glass of water first, wait 10-15 minutes and if you are still hungry then have something healthy to eat.
  • Read the list of ingredients – did you know that the ingredients are listed in order of weight, from most to least? This means that the food contains more of the ingredients at the beginning of the list and less of the ingredients at the end of the list. Make sure the healthy ingredients are near the start of the list.
  • Add some color to your plate – eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.
  • Create your own, personal food guide - By entering personal information, such as age and sex, selecting various items from the four food groups and choosing different types of physical activities, you can create a tool that is customized just for you. Click here to get started.
  • Take your coffee/tea black – each teaspoon of sugar has 16 calories and one tablespoon of cream has 20 calories. If you take one of each per cup of coffee that is an extra 36 calories per cup. Over the course of a week that could be more than 1000 extra calories!
  • Start your day with cooked oats – oats are an inexpensive, filling, breakfast option. Whole oats can result in a reduction in cholesterol levels and may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • Try quinoa - quinoa is an excellent source of protein. It is low in fat and high in fibre. It also contains iron, potassium, riboflavin, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese.
  • Limit foods that won't rot – foods that won’t rot when left on your counter likely have large amounts of chemicals and preservatives. Consume these foods in moderation and focus more on fresh, preservative free foods.
  • Hard to find time to exercise? Try exercising in the morning. This gets it done before the rest of the day’s responsibilities arise.

  • Dumbbells and barbells are not the only way to do resistance training exercises. Simple household objects like soup cans, milk jugs and suit cases can be used to strengthen and tone your muscles.

  • Check out ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine). They have a wealth of health and fitness information and are one of the top organizations in the world for fitness information.

  • Go two days without smoking - Your sense of smell and taste improves. You start to enjoy your food more. Your risk of heart attack begins to decrease.

  • Make your car, home and/or office completely smoke free.

  • Dress for success. Don't worry about the latest fashion, but make sure you are dressed appropriately for exercise. If the weather is colder, start with layers, then you can take off the outer layers as you get warmer. Look for loose, non-restrictive clothing that is comfortable. Cotton is a good option.

  • Make your own frozen yogurt – instead of ice cream treats try freezing your favourite yogurt in a popsicle tray.

  • Cross training means doing different things in your training. This breaks up the monotony of doing the same thing again and again and helps prevent overuse injuries. Make a list of as many different ways you can do physical activity and then enjoy the variety. After all, it is the spice of life.

  • Bike, rollerblade, walk, run, or take transit to work.

  • Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator.

  • Keep an activity log. Each day, write down what you did and how long you did it. This will help keep you motivated to continue with your physical activity.

  • Today, shoe manufactures design footwear specifically for physical activity. Make sure that you have shoes that fit your chosen activity.

  • Tired of waiting for the elevator? Make a plan to use the stairs instead of taking the elevator and you’ll be surprised at how much more activity you get.

  • Join a sports team. This can be a fun way to stay active, meet people and add some excitement to your life. Just make sure that you have the fitness level to participate safely in your desired sport.

  • By giving up smoking you, will be helping those you care about avoid the dangers of secondhand smoke.

  • Look for community events such as walks and mini races. These can be fun and exciting and give you something to work towards.

  • While gentle stretching can be great for improving flexibility, it can also be used to relax. Stretching calms tight muscles and helps relieve the effects of stress.

  • Volunteer at your local school. There are opportunities for people to help with coaching sports teams or doing recreation with kids. This can be a great way to give back to the community and stay active at the same time.

  • Check out your local community recreation center. You will be amazed at how many different ways it offers to keep you in motion.

  • Try something new. In our society, there are countless ways to be physically active. Find something you have never done before and give it a try.

  • Start a craving journal - If you know when you are tempted to smoke, you can plan for how to deal with the urge before it hits. A free template is available here.

  • Try different types of protein – beans (black beans, navy beans, garbanzos, and lentils), nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pecans), soy products (tofu, soy milk, tempeh and veggie burgers).

  • Ever notice that some people can eat all they want and never put on weight? Chances are these people have a high metabolism. Adding resistance training to your exercise regime builds lean muscle which raises your metabolism.

  • Exercise helps with depression. Daily physical activity may be just what you need to feel better and improve your mood.

  • Hard to find time to exercise? Try exercising in the morning. This gets it done before the rest of the day's responsibilities arise.

  • Learn about nicotine withdrawal symptoms and how to cope with them. Click here to learn more.

  • What are your personal benefits and costs of smoking? Click here to find out.

  • After physical activity it is important to cool down. Your body needs muscle contraction to return blood to the heart. If you do not move when you finish exercise, you can often feel faint or dizzy. Plan on finishing each bout of physical activity with an easy walking (or equivalent) to let your body gradually return to normal.

  • Try quinoa - quinoa is an excellent source of protein. It is low in fat and high in fibre. It also contains iron, potassium, riboflavin, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese.

  • Check out www.humankinetics.com for great books and resources to learn more about your favorite physical activities.

  • Add some color to your plate – eat at least one dark green and one orange vegetable each day.

  • Group fitness classes can be a fun way to get physical activity, meet new people and have a lot of fun at the same time. Check out your local fitness or recreation center for a class schedule.

  • Change your shoes regularly. Mileage adds up on your shoes and well-cushioned, supportive shoes can become sloppy and hard before you know it.

  • Get a training partner. For many people exercise is more fun when you are doing it with a friend. Grab a friend and get moving. This will make the time pass faster and help hold you accountable.

  • To quit smoking takes hard work and a lot of effort, but you can quit smoking. It will be one of the most important things you will ever do.

  • Get a pedometer. For most North Americans, just moving more will improve their health. Set a goal to take 10, 000 steps per day.

  • Keep a bottle of water at your desk.

  • Many people pull too hard when they stretch. Stretching should be gentle and comfortable.

  • Set short-term goals, not just long term goals. For example, if you have a long term goal to run the Sun Run and you are currently not doing anything, set a short goal of running 1 mile.

  • Drink at least 6 - 8 glasses of water per day. Cold water helps flush the nicotine out of your system.

  • Most people think of personal training as a luxury for the rich and famous. However, today, more and more people are getting into personal training. This offers the chance to get a program specifically tailored to your goals and specific needs.

  • If you are walking on sidewalks, be aware that they can be on a slant. Prolonged walking on a slant can cause hip and low back problems. Try to walk on level ground as much as possible. When not possible, try to spend equal time slanted each way.

  • When it comes to physical activity, it is never too late to start and late is better than never.

  • Create your own, personal food guide - By entering personal information, such as age and sex, selecting various items from the four food groups and choosing different types of physical activities, you can create a tool that is customized just for you. Click here to get started.

  • Eat every two to three hours – eating every 2-3 hours helps to get your metabolism going, your blood sugars stable and reduces cravings.

  • Don’t be a victim to tobacco marketing tactics – to become aware of the marketing schemes click here.

  • Why not be a nice person and get fit at the same time? Instead of driving around for 5 minutes to find the closest parking spot, park farther away and enjoy a brisk walk.

  • Many people hold their breath as they lift. While this may be necessary when lifting extremely heavy objects, it can be dangerous. Breathe out as you lift.

  • Family fitness. Many people lack time for exercise and quality time with the family. Why not combine the two? Take your family out and do something physical and fun.

  • Exercising on an empty stomach can lead to hypoglycemia. This is where your blood sugar drops and you feel weak, dizzy and lightheaded. To prevent this, eat a light meal about 1-3 hours before exercise.

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