Healthy Living in the North

Foodie Friday: Lentil Soup

food; healthy eating; nutrition

Batch soups make delicious meals – and can cost only pennies a serving!

As a single mom, I understand the value of a dollar and how expensive food has become. However, I don’t let this stand in the way of preparing and serving healthy food. With a little effort, I manage to stay on budget while not sacrificing nutrition and flavor. Here are a few tips I find helpful:

  • Read the flyers to find out what’s on sale. Make sure you know if it really is a good deal or just regular price.
  • Plan your meals ahead of time, so you only buy what you need.
  • Try a vegetarian meal, like the recipe below, once a week as meat is often one of the most expensive grocery items.
  • Buy foods that are in season; they are usually cheaper and tastier!
  • Make a grocery list and bring it to the store with you, to prevent impulse buying.
  • Buy only what you need. If you are a small family, the huge bag of potatoes really isn’t a deal if you throw out half.

Try this family favourite: my 4-year-old daughter loves this thick smooth soup with crackers or a biscuit. This soup is budget friendly with a per pot cost of about $2.24 or per serving cost of $0.22.

Food Fact: Lentils come in red, green and brown; they are easy to use as they don’t require pre-soaking. Lentils are an excellent source of fibre and a good source of protein, magnesium, potassium and folate.

Lentil Soup
(Makes 10 1-cup servings)

  • 2 cups dry lentils
  • 10 cups of water
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 whole cloves
  • dash cayenne
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 large onion
  • ¾ cup celery
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ cup butter or non-hydrogenated margarine

In a large pot combine lentils, water, salt, pepper, bay leaf, cloves and cayenne. Bring to a simmer. Cut up carrot, onion and celery into small pieces. Combine the vegetables, with the garlic and butter/margarine in a small pan and cook for 10 minutes; add to lentils. Simmer everything for 2 hours. Discard the bay leaf and cloves. Put soup through a blender or use a hand blender to puree. Enjoy!

For more ideas, the Dietitians of Canada has some great budget-friendly cooking tips.

What are some of your great and affordable meal ideas?

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A recipe for family meals

healthy eating; food

All hands on deck makes family meals easier and fun!

If you are like most busy families today, the thought of family meals might send you screaming to the hills, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Family meals don’t have to be perfect.  Start with what your family already eats and just have everybody eat it together. Once family meals become routine, use Canada’s Food Guide to help add variety.

Ingredients

  • One or more family members – remember, you are a family even if you are just one!
  • Food
  • A place to eat

Preparation

  1. Turn off all electronic devices. Remove toys, homework, books and other distractions.
  2. Sit down together and let everyone pick and choose from what you’ve provided in amounts that they like.
  3. Take time to enjoy the food and your time together.

Tips

Why not make cooking family meals a family affair? Have the kids help out in the kitchen. It may take more time in the beginning, but will save time in the long run as their skills develop and they take on more responsibilities. For example, kids can help plan the meals. Allowing kids to include the foods they like will make it more exciting for them to help out and more likely that they will eat the meal.

Also, you can assign tasks to each family member depending on when they get home and their abilities:

  • Younger kids set the table.
  • Older kids peel and slice the vegetables.
  • Experienced kids bake, broil or sauté the fish, chicken or meat or meat alternative.
  • Everybody helps with the clean up so that you can all get to your extra-curricular activities on time.

Family meals set the example for healthy eating. They help kids and adults become competent eaters who learn to like a variety of foods and are able to guide their food choices and intake based on their feelings of hunger and fullness.

As a bonus, I wanted to share with you a quick and tasty dish that my family likes to make on a busy week night: Quick Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients

  • 4 potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey*
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups chopped carrots and celery
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup frozen vegetables, thawed

*Substitute the turkey with beans, lentils or chick peas for an added source of soluble fibre.

Preparation

  1. Cook then mash the potatoes with a little milk and margarine.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add ground turkey, onion, carrots; cook, stirring, until the turkey is no longer pink, 6 to 8 minutes. Sprinkle flour and oregano over the mix and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add broth and frozen vegetables; bring to a simmer and cook until thickened.
  3. Ladle the stew into 4 bowls and top with the potatoes.

(This recipe was adapted from Eating Well Magazine Online: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/quick_shepherds_pie.html)

Having kids help out in the kitchen saves time, family meals set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating. Can you think any other benefits?

Beth Moore

About Beth Moore

As a registered dietitian, Beth is dedicated to helping individuals, families and communities make the healthiest choices available to them, and enjoy eating well based on their unique realities and nutrition needs. Juggling work and a very busy family life, Beth is grateful for the time she spends with her family enjoying family meals, long walks and bike rides. She also loves the quiet times exploring in her garden, experimenting in the kitchen, and practicing yoga and meditation.

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Infographic: What is healthy eating?

As you know by now, March is Nutrition Month in Canada. We hope you’ve enjoyed some of the healthy recipes we’ve been sharing so far this month (like the spicy bean wraps and homemade pizza dough)!

Healthy eating is, of course, about proper nutrition, but it’s so much more! What we eat affects our own physical and mental wellness, our families, our communities, and more. If we have an unhealthy diet, we know that this is a major risk for developing a chronic disease or condition. Northern Health’s position on healthy eating offers a look at the importance of and the current status of healthy eating, as well as how we aim to improve this (and how you can help).

We wanted to highlight some of the main points of our healthy eating position in a more visually pleasing way for you. Take a look at our infographic on healthy eating – and consider how you approach your own personal relationship with food!

Healthy eating Infographic

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is regional manager, health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc) and moderates all comments for the NH blog. When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care.

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Making it easy: the rule of “fave five”

healthy eating; food; recipe

Simple ingredients for simple (and fast) suppers!

Planning to eat healthy is always a good goal, but many of us don’t have the time or desire to be spending hours in the kitchen every day preparing a healthy meal from scratch. Recipes can call for a long list of ingredients, many of which we may not have on hand in the pantry or fridge, and require time for preparation, such as washing, chopping, grating, soaking, mincing, etc. Without planning in advance, these meals can be challenging to pull off. Having a few go-to recipes that can be made in a hurry is an easy solution for when you’re in a pinch!

When we think quick and easy food, we typically think of convenience or fast foods. Convenience meals and fast food are typically prepackaged, processed and often high in sodium, fat and calories. Making meals at home lets you control what ingredients you use, make healthy substitutions, and be flexible with the recipe depending on what is available. This can mean a delicious and nutritious meal that you can feel good about!

Making a meal with five ingredients or less cuts down on time spent on planning, purchasing and food preparation. Using simple ingredients that are often in our kitchen, meal making can be quick, easy and healthy!

To get you started, I’m sharing with you a personal favourite of mine: Spinach and Feta Frittata (adapted from a recipe from the Dietitians of Canada).

Makes 10 servings

  • 1 package (10 oz/300 g) fresh or frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1½ cups cubed peeled potatoes
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup 1% milk
  • 1 cup feta cheese

-Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

-Spread in potatoes and spinach in 13- by 9-inch (33 by 23 cm) glass baking dish, lightly greased.

-In a bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Pour over vegetables and stir gently to distribute. Sprinkle evenly with feta.

-Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until eggs are set.

Food fact: Spinach is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, folate and calcium! Find new ways to include this nutritional powerhouse in your diet regularly. Add it to soups, casseroles, pasta sauces, smoothies and salads.

Do you have any “fave five” recipes?

Rilla Reardon

About Rilla Reardon

Rilla is a Registered Dietitian working for Northern Health since 2013. Rilla moved to northern BC from the east coast to continue developing her skills as a dietitian in a clinical setting while enjoying all that the north has to offer. Outside of work, she can be found experimenting in the kitchen or navigating the trails around Prince George with her dog, Henry. Rilla channels her passion for nutrition into practice, inspiring others to nourish their bodies, minds and souls with delicious and healthy food!

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Foodie Friday: Spicy bean wraps

A well-stocked pantry can help with last minute, healthy meals.

A well-stocked pantry can help with last minute, healthy meals.

It’s 5 o’clock… do you know what you’re having for dinner? If you’re anything like me, you have no idea!  You may think, “I might as well go out to eat or get some take-out on the way home,” a decision that takes a toll on the pocket book and may not agree with your health either.  But what if you could look into your cupboards and create simple, satisfying, and healthy meals in a hurry?

Here are a few convenient items I keep stocked in my pantry, fridge, and freezer for quick meals:

  • Canned beans and lentils (chickpeas, black beans, pinto) – I just drain, rinse, and add them to a salad, soup, or wraps. There are more recipes at Pulse Canada.
  • Cheese – simple to shred and always a great addition to a pasta dish or a wrap.
  • Eggs – so quick and versatile to make omelettes, frittatas or an egg salad sandwich. Eggs.ca has many more recipes.
  • Frozen vegetables – some of my favourites include colourful vegetables that inspire the appetite, like red peppers, baby carrots and Brussels sprouts. I microwave them and sometimes add a bit of chili flakes, honey and lemon juice for a zesty flavour. In my opinion, this is the ultimate veggie recipe site!
  • Frozen whole wheat tortilla wraps – always an easy meal – stuffed with your favourite ingredients, which for me includes bananas and peanut butter!

Try this chili-flavoured bean wrap and see how quickly you can get dinner on the table tonight!

Spicy bean wraps
Makes 3 servings

Ingredients:

1 tbsp canola oil

½ small onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced or ½ tsp garlic powder

1 tsp chili powder

1 – 14 oz can pinto beans, rinsed and drained

2/3 cup low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

Dash of salt and pepper

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Shredded cheese, if desired

Instructions:

  1. HEAT canola oil in large saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add onion and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
  2. STIR in garlic and chili powder and cook 1 minute longer. Stir in beans and chicken broth and cook until beans are warmed through, about 5 minutes.
  3. MASH beans with a potato masher or the back of the wooden spoon, adding more broth if needed.
  4. SEASON mixture with salt and pepper and stir in cilantro.
  5. Top with shredded cheese if desired and serve with corn or flour tortillas.

Variations on the recipe:

  1. Dairy free: use Daiya non-dairy cheese as a topper
  2. Want more meat? Replace half the mashed beans with cooked ground chicken or beef.
  3. Other beans? Black beans or Romano beans would work well in this recipe.

Source:  Pulse Canada

Judy April

About Judy April

Judy works in Dawson Creek at the Dawson Creek and District Hospital as a dietitian. A true northerner, she grew up just 75 km away in Fort St. John. Judy loves gardening herbs because of the great aroma they bring to her home and the meals cooked there. She even brings the herbs indoors to flourish on her windowsills in the winter.

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Get social and eat healthy

fresh food, pizza, whole wheat crust

Pizza is a fun way to gather with friends in the kitchen and make healthy foods together.

Juggling full-time paid work with a busy home life can test my ability to prepare, share and eat tasty, nutritious foods with family and friends. I’ve found it helps to have a few things in place to make it more likely that a fairly balanced family meal is made and served in my kitchen most nights—although frozen pizza sometimes makes an appearance, too!

Here is what works for me:

  • Make a plan for the week’s suppers and post it on the fridge door.
  • Use the plan when grocery shopping so I have what I need.
  • Cooking once and eating twice. I never make just one pan of lasagna, pot of soup or batch of spaghetti sauce. I make two: one to eat and one goes in the freezer for another meal.
  • Making cooking go further. I make a big batch of oven roasted veggies that might get served with a piece of BBQ chicken and quinoa, but the leftovers get added to a pasta sauce, top a pizza, or get pureed with milk to make a soup.

Where I fall down is being social around food. The extra shopping, cooking and cleaning needed to host friends for dinner can put me off—and I know my friends feel the same way. To get around it, we’ve hosted “cook together” nights: we agree on a theme and then each family brings whole ingredients to one house to prepare, cook and eat together.

My favourite so far was the pizza party I hosted. I made whole grain pizza dough and salad dressing and others brought a topping for the pizza and a salad item. The result? Pizza with a pesto-infused sauce, topped with cooked red potatoes, chopped mushrooms, peppers, onions and tomatoes, and Parmesan and Havarti cheeses. Paired with a salad of leafy greens, grated beets, berries and toasted nuts served with my favourite blueberry salad dressing. Yum! Beyond the great food, the laughs and shared experience of hanging out and rolling pizza dough, slicing veggies and grating cheese was so much fun … and we all carried the leftovers home!

How about planning a cooking night with your friends? Here’s my pizza dough recipe to get you started:

Homemade Pizza Dough

1 cup                                      whole wheat flour
1 cup                                      enriched white flour
1 (28 gram) envelope         quick rise instant yeast
1 tsp.                                      salt
1 tsp.                                      sugar
¾ cup                                    hot water (heat for a minute in the microwave until 125 – 130°F)
1 tsp.                                      oil

  1. In a food processor, mix the flours, yeast, salt and sugar.
  2. While running the food processor, add the water and oil and blend until a ball is formed. Continue running for one minute to knead the dough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a floured surface, cover and let rest 10 minutes. Roll out to form one large (12”) pizza crust. Add your favourite sauce and toppings and bake at 450°F for 10 – 12 minutes. This dough recipe can be frozen.

(Source: The Family Table by Marie Breton and Isabelle Emond, 2007.)

Flo Sheppard

About Flo Sheppard

Flo has a dual role with Northern Health—she is the NW population health team lead and a regional population health dietitian with a lead in 0 – 6 nutrition. In the latter role, she is passionate about the value of supporting children to develop eating competence through regular family meals and planned snacks. Working full-time and managing a busy home life of extracurricular and volunteer activities can challenge Flo's commitment and practice of family meals but flexibility, conviction, planning and creativity help!

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Healthy eating advice at your fingertips

HealthlLinkBC

Visit HealthLink BC online at www.healthlinkbc.ca

We all eat…so we are all nutrition experts, right? I’m not so sure… I do a lot of cooking as we are a family of six, but when it comes to getting the healthy and nutritious choices into the fridge, cupboards and onto the table more often it’s not as easy as it might sound. It’s much the same when supporting healthy eating and building healthy food environments in our workplaces. It doesn’t JUST happen. It takes more effort and thought that one might think. So where can we start?

In BC we have excellent resources from HealthLink BC. To learn more about them I called and chatted with Lori Smart, a Registered Dietitian and Manager of Resource Coordination at HealthLink BC. Did you know that in BC HealthLink BC provides access to non-emergency health information and advice 24/7 and 365 days a year? Information and advice is available free to all of us by telephone, website, mobile app and/or a collection of downloadable print resources.

Information junkie heaven! It’s a convenient place to find BC’s most trusted and recognized health information services, including:

  • BC Health Guide
  • HealthLink BC Files
  • Nursing Services
  • Pharmacist Services
  • Dietitian Services (formerly Dial-a-Dietitian)

Not only are all of these resources brought together in one place, the service is also supported with an online and phone navigation system to help you find the health resources and facilities you need – close to home.

I asked Lori, “What will we find at HealthLink BC?” She said you’ll find medically-approved information on thousands of heath topics, symptoms, medication, and tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if you live on an island or in a remote community because anyone at any time can call 8-1-1 from anywhere in BC and chat with a nurse or speak to a registered dietitian about nutrition and healthy eating.

To check it out and look for resources I started my search — Healthy Eating at Work — and of the 407 hits that came up, 92 were specific to healthy eating, 37 were HealthLink Files. I love HealthLink Files! They are snapshots jam-packed full of great information on key topics of health information. The volume of resources I got from this quick search was really helpful. What a great place to start exploring for resources and for my question around information about healthy eating and links between fiber and vegetable consumption.

So my question was about fiber and vegetables …what’s your question? Go ask it at HealthLink BC, by calling 8-1-1 or visiting www.healthlinkbc.ca.

Loraina Stephen

About Loraina Stephen

Loraina is a population health dietitian working in a regional lead role for external food policy, which supports initiatives to develop healthy eating, community food security and food policy for the north. Loraina was born and raised in the north, and has a busy lifestyle. Having grown up enjoying food grown from family gardens, hunting, and gathering, and enjoying northern outdoor activities, she draws on those experiences to keep traditions strong for her family, in her work and at play.

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Tales from the Man Cave: Nutrition is bewildering

20130823ManCaveHealingNutrition is almost one of those things that you need to have a chemistry degree to fully understand and it seems that almost monthly some ‘other’ thing is discovered about good nutrition and bad nutrition: Eating this promotes cancer, eating that helps prevent it, etc. How are we supposed to know what’s what?

Good and bad nutrition

Seriously, we have come a long way from scurvy! Now it’s cancer and all sorts of disease up to and including mental illness that different forms of nutrition is said to both cause and cure, and springing from that a whole range of dietary pills, vitamins and snake oils. Hey don’t get me wrong. Snake oil is about as valuable as any other “placebo” medication if you believe in it hard enough. Squeeze your eyes tight shut and make a wish!

But read on there’s more!

And where am I on all this? Well I have to admit my knowledge of nutrition goes as far as a hamburger and a pint. No, seriously, but I did sleep through all the lectures at college. So check out Canada’s Food Guide for some solid advice.

This alone I know: Food is where it’s at. It tastes good and I love it. It gives you energy and protects your vital organs from damage from the pollution of the world. Too much can contribute to putting a tire around your gut and too little leaves you weak and ineffective. We do it to feel better – as a treat. We take comfort in it when we feel bad. It’s part of our family and community social structure. And, without it, you die and if you have too much, too often you might also die from obesity-related diseases.

How can we heal?

I asked my friends in nutrition, ‘what is a guy to do?’ Well folks, I must admit, I just did not like the answer they gave me. What? There is no diet or quick fix for this horrendous ‘beer belly’? Apparently not, and you might not like the answer either. All those fad diets, according to the researchers just rebound back into more weight gain and worse. They compound. Yes you lose 20lbs but you can put back 20 plus. And so on.  Throw me a freaking bone here, will you!

OK I figured it out. It’s like cognitive behaviour therapy. You have to change your thinking as well as your behavior, and yes Jim, you need to eat your greens. If dieting just puts weight on you. Then the answer is not to diet. Right? So how do I lose weight? Well it seems to me there are two things involved here. There is the medically supervised diet for those whose illness makes it imperative that they lose weight under a physician’s supervision and then there’s advice for the rest of us.

I think my comment about change in thinking rings true. But it’s not easy and we would need to make notes, a journal or a planner or anything to keep on track. We do not subtract from our diet but add to it.  I think this can work even if our diet is a little unhealthy at the moment. They tell me, add a nutritious element well proven to give the body what it needs, such as fruit and vegetables.

The wisdom behind this as far as I can gather is this: The body, when it is on the modern diet of fast fat, is malnourished and starving. Thus, the hunger and the need to eat more and more. Good nutrition promotes healing and helps to redress this starvation. So to change this add those things which make the body feel as if it is being fed and reduce the hunger drive and allow healing. Together with this, we should attempt to be as healthy as we can at any weight by getting our bodies moving!

So here is the recipe:Movement and exercise to help reduce stress; reducing stress means we are less likely to eat for the sake of comfort. Add a nutritious element and go slow but steady, gradually replacing the unhealthy with the healthy.

We are in for the long haul here, our bodies are in the habit of storing energy for a rainy day and are really good at it and any attempt by us to get rid of that energy apparently triggers this response. So exercise sensibly and add good nutrition to your diet. Bon appetit!

Jim Coyle

About Jim Coyle

Jim is a tobacco reduction coordinator with the men’s health program, and has a background in psychiatry and care of the elderly. In former times, Jim was director of care at Simon Fraser Lodge and clinical coordinator at the Brain Injury Group. He came to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland 20 years ago and, when not at work, Jim plays in the band Out of Alba and spends time with his family.

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Food: Much more than nutrition

Husking corn

Food prep can be a way to bring people together.

I’ve been following this month’s healthy living blog posts with great interest. I enjoy making efforts to live a healthy and active lifestyle and it makes me feel at home to see how other people are taking strides to do the same thing.

However, I’ve read a million times in a million places the message that “food is fuel” – we need healthy food to fuel our bodies with high-quality energy and nutrients. I’ve also heard the message that if the food is sourced close to home, then it’s a better choice for my community. The message that I feel is missing so far is that food is more than fuel.

Food is pleasurable; it’s a reflection of culture and plays a role in traditions and social settings. It can tantalize our senses with different tastes, smells, and textures. The Northern Health guidelines (position paper) on healthy eating also recognize this. Quoting a 2005 study from the Canadian Journal of Public Health on Aboriginal traditions, the paper notes:

…the consumption of traditional foods is more than just about eating; it is the endpoint of a series of culturally meaningful processes involved in the harvesting, processing, distribution, and preparation of these foods.

My family and I harvest and prepare foods together; in the summer we have a garden and, while it may or may not be fruitful, I enjoy the time that we spend together caring for the plants and watching them grow. Even if we are “harvesting” our food from the grocery store, I enjoy that time together, considering the food we’re buying and how we’re going to prepare it. Preparing and serving the food to family and friends serves as a gathering for conversations and sharing that may not happen otherwise.

Thinking about the pleasure that food can give us, I don’t know if there is a silver bullet solution to finding the balance between food as pleasure and food as fuel. However, I have learned a couple ways to help me find balance:

  • Exercise control (when you have it) – Most days (e.g. routine work days) I make every effort to eat the quality fuel we talk about from Canada’s Food Guide.
  • Savour social settings – Other days we have events or opportunities to savour things we may not get to on a regular basis (e.g. birthday parties or when travelling). In these settings, I take the opportunity to enjoy the pleasurable side of food (with moderation in mind).

This balance between exercising control and savouring the opportunities helps me to enjoy the pleasurable side of food and my physical and emotional well-being. What are some ways that you balance eating for health and eating for pleasure?

Chelan Zirul

About Chelan Zirul

Chelan Zirul is the Health Promotions and Communications officer for Northern Health. As a graduate from UNBC, she did her Master's of Arts in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies. She explored regional development decision-making and is an advocate for policy that is appropriate for the needs of northerners. This, combined with her personal interest in health and wellness, drew her to work in health communications. Born in northern B.C., she is learning to take advantage of the access to outdoor living. She enjoys hunting and exploring the backcountry with her husband. She stays active with CrossFit and enjoys finding ways to use local foods.

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Workplace Food Wars

health foods in the candy dish

Celebrate good food together and take the war out of your workplace by sharing food that is a healthy choice for everyone.

I am a foodie. I love to eat good food and share good food with others. However, the last thing I want to find are brownies in the lunchroom for everyone… with a note to please “help” eat them!

I love brownies, but they aren’t a good food choice for my health. They typically have high sugar and fat content and low nutrient value, but if those brownies are on the table, they’ll be on my mind all day. After passing them up fifteen times, I’ll be ready to throw away my common sense, give into the addictive struggle and eat them anyway.

I can control my food environment at home and make sure it’s safe, but how do I manage it at work when I am surrounded by candy dishes, chip bowls, and sweet leftovers people bring in from home? This got me thinking about why people bring food into the workplace. Food can create a friendly environment, an opportunity for conversation and sharing, a brief escape from duties and – in the case of sugar – a short-term sugar high.

Now, to be clear, the challenge is not having food in the workplace. The challenge is the types of food in the workplace. We need to find healthier ways for coworkers to gather, celebrate, and enjoy food together. For example, I’ve had great success with black bean brownies from the new Dietitians of Canada cookbook. I made them and brought them into my workplace. To my surprise, the healthy alternative was quickly eaten and everyone wanted the recipe.

Why should we think about the food we bring to the workplace? Many workplaces (including Northern Health) have policies restricting scents in the office due to allergies. We don’t smoke at work and many schools are nut-free. These policies are in place to keep people safe while at work and, in order to create safer environments, they should be extended to consider the food environment at work.

I encourage you to think about the food environment where you work:

  • Remove the candy from the candy dish.
  • Start the counter-movement and fill the candy dish with healthier alternatives. I have candy jars with almonds, kale chips, roasted chickpeas and often a bowl of fruit.
  • Make a personal statement: “I will not contribute to sweets and unhealthy foods in the workplace.” This means not bringing leftover cakes, cookies, Halloween candy, and Christmas goodies.

Celebrate good food together and take the war out of your workplace by sharing food that is a healthy choice for everyone. Visit our website for more guidelines on living a healthier life.

What health promoting foods do you put in your candy dish?

[Ed. note: Don't forget to join the September Healthy Living Challenge and enter the Week 2 Challenge for your chance to win a Fit Kit!]

Christine Glennie-Visser

About Christine Glennie-Visser

Christine is the regional coordinator for the HEAL (Healthy Eating, Active Living) Network in northern B.C. Christine loves to share good healthy local food with family, friends and co-workers and is passionate about making the healthy choice the easier choice for everyone. Although she is currently limited in her physical activity choices for medical reasons, she has become creative at fitting in activity and spends many happy hours deep water running and using gentle resistance training and stretching to maintain muscle strength. Christine can often be found in her kitchen, developing or testing recipes, and conspiring with her six grandchildren to encourage their parents to eat more fruits and vegetables!

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