Canada Has a New Food Guide


Excerpt from: Healthy Families BC Blog Jan 23 2019

(Original Blog:

Have you seen Canada’s new Food Guide released by Health Canada this week as part of their healthy eating strategy? The Food Guide is designed to help you choose foods that improve your health, meet your nutrient needs and reduce your risk of nutrition-related chronic diseases and conditions. The key messages align with the approach of the Family Healthy Living program.

Make it a habit to eat a variety of healthy foods each day

    • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grain foods and protein foods. Choose protein foods that come from plants more often
    • Limit highly processed foods. If you choose these foods, eat them less often and in small amounts
    • Make water your drink of choice
    • Use food labels
    • Be aware that food marketing can influence your choices

Healthy eating is more than the foods you eat. It is also about where, when, why and how you eat

    • Be mindful of your eating habits
    • Cook more often
    • Enjoy your food
    • Eat meals with others

The Canada’s Food Guide is now mobile-friendly and provides accessible, relevant and useful healthy eating information. If you have questions about Canada’s new Food Guide or any other food and nutrition topic, contact a HealthLink BC registered dietitian at 8-1-1 or by email at Email a HealthLink BC Dietitian.

Getting to Know FHLP Group Facilitator Lisa Neukomm

Over the next few weeks we will be highlighting some of the awesome facilitators delivering the Family Healthy Living Programs across B.C.

This week we would like to introduce you to Lisa Neukomm. Lisa is the Group Facilitator for the Family Healthy Living Program in Prince George. We had the opportunity to sit down with Lisa and learn more about who she is and what she likes about the Family Healthy Living Program.

Lisa tell us a little bit about you.

My name is Lisa Neukomm, I am a BCRPA Registered Personal Trainer and Group Leader. I have worked in the Health and Wellness industry for 27 years in many different rolls and assisting individuals, families and groups adopt healthier lifestyle habits into their lives. I have been married to my husband Shane for 19 years, and have three amazing children ages 16,14, and 10. I strive to promote value in healthy living with my family first and foremost and know just how important and somewhat challenging it can be sometimes, but am passionate about finding ways to help my family as well as my clients lead healthy and active lives. 

Why did you choose to work with the Family Healthy Living Program?

I believe and feel passionate about its message. Healthy living encompasses many different things from eating healthy, staying active, implementing healthy lifestyle habits, and practicing strategies to assist in helping us to maintain a positive mental and social health. The Family Healthy Living Program provides great, simple and attainable practices and strategies to help families develop their Healthy lifestyle habits in a fun and interactive way.

What’s your favourite thing about the Family Healthy Living Program? 

Meeting and getting to know the families and then seeing them feel successful in their goals through out the program. It is very rewarding to know that you have helped to make a small positive difference in a family’s life.

What would you tell a family that is thinking about participating in the Family Healthy Living Program?

To know that the program is fun, interactive, and educational, and that they will come away from the program with attainable and simple strategies to help them in their journey to a healthier, more active lifestyle. 

What’s your favourite way to be active?

Anything involving the outdoors or in Nature. I love Trail Running, hiking with my family and dog, x-country skiing, snow shoeing and have found a new challenge of skating to keep up with my kids who love to skate!

How do you fit physical activity into your busy life?

I make fitting in physical activity a priority just like eating and sleeping. I make a plan to fit activity of some sort into most of my days whether it is a scheduled class, meet with friends or family members for a hike, or walk my dog. Being on the go I have learned that fitting it in doesn’t always have to be a big performance and that small things count such as parking further away from my intended location so that I can walk, take the stairs, or play in the snow with my kids! I also recognize the importance of modeling this to my children and can see them making choices on their own to move more and talk to them about how it makes them feel to move and be healthy on all levels of health from feeling strong in their bodies, but also in their minds. 

What’s your favourite healthy recipe?

Turkey Lasagna with lots of mixed vegetables, whole grain pasta, and ricotta cheese. 

What are your top tips for healthy living?

Balance is key in all aspect of life. Take time for yourself by finding the things that re-fuel or recharge you, whether it is reading, doing yoga, spending time with friends, or being in nature. Make your health a priority. Be kind to your body and to your mind. Nourish it with healthy food/drink choices, movement that you love, and patience. 

New sessions of the Family Healthy Living Program will be kicking off this month in communities across British Columbia. To find a program near you, click here!

Top Tips to Become a Physically Active Family

Tour skating in winter

With the new year upon us many people are looking for ways to be more active in their day-to-day lives. However, meeting the daily physical activity recommendations laid out by Canada’s 24hr Movement Guidelines can be challenging for many, especially youth in late childhood and the teenage years. As schedules grow busier, youth become more independent, social lives blossom and social media is introduced, finding time in the day to fit in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity can seem near impossible to a young person. As such, parents can play an important role in educating, motivating and role modeling active living for their growing children.

Here are 3 tips you can try to help your family increase their daily physical activity in 2019!

Remember, Canada’s 24hr Movement Guidelines recommend at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day for children and teens and 150 minutes of physical activity a week for adults.

1. Do it Together – Have Fun!

Your kids are watching you. Share your enjoyment of physical activity with them and bond by being active together:

  • Pass on knowledge of a traditional or cultural sport you know.
  • Spend quality time bowling, skating, hiking, or going for a bike ride.
  • Take the pedometer challenge with your child. Add 2,000 steps to your day and build up from there to eventually accumulate 12,000 steps per day.
  • Go to a park and play frisbee golf, kick or throw a ball or play hacky sack.
  • Try a class together! How about spin cycling, yoga, pilates, fencing, a new style of dance or group fitness class? Many community centres, fitness centres and studios have no or low-cost options for teens
  • Take an active vacation (camping, surfing, skiing, canoeing, etc…)

2. Be Outdoorsy

Being active in nature is good for the body, mind and soul! Talk with your family about planning an outdoor activity the whole family will enjoy such as visiting a community garden or local farm. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Go for a walk before or after dinner – it’s a great way to connect with your child and add extra steps to both your days.
  • Engage the family in active chores like gardening, sweeping, mowing the lawn, raking leaves or shoveling snow.
  • Hike, bike, fly a kite, walk the trail system – check out Canada Trails website for a trail near you.
  • Try orienteering or geocaching. Both are takes on outdoor scavenger hunts and involve map reading. Look them up online for an opportunity near you.
  • Identify at least one winter activity and one summer activity you want to do together as a family like snowshoeing, skating, skiing, indoor climbing gyms, or snowboarding in the winter or frisbee golf, cycling, swimming, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, and kayaking in the summer.

3. Introduce Variety

Children and teens are not always aware of the many physical activities that are available close to home:

  • Encourage them to check out school teams (recreational or competitive), club teams, or recreational teams through community centres and local sport organizations. Some girls prefer to play on female only teams led by a female coach or leader.
  • If your child is not the team sport type, look together for opportunities within your community. Visit community centres, pools, arenas, courts, climbing gyms and parks. Archery, martial arts, dancing, kickboxing might be some options for individual sports.

With these new tips in mind, what sort of physical activity would you like to do with your family this weekend?

Fitting it in…Making Time for Physical Activity

Family in the Pool

It happens to all families….we’re bored, annoyed with school/work or just simply feeling tired and lazy. Or, the opposite: we’re so busy that getting enough activity just doesn’t seem possible. So, what can you do when this happens?

Canada’s 24 hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth recommend at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity while incorporating vigorous physical activities and muscle & bone strengthening activities 3 times per week. The guidelines also recommend several hours of structured and unstructured light physical activities per day.  Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults (18-64) recommend 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week.

Fitting in this much physical activity every day seems like a lot, but it has a ton of benefits, like:

  • Better mood, fun factor, increased energy and decreased stress
  • Better fitness, endurance, flexibility, balance and agility
  • Sharper brains – physical activity helps increase your memory and focus
  • Improved overall health

And all the minutes don’t have to be done at once – it can be smaller bouts of physical activity that are added up over the course of the day or week.

Here are five quick tips to help fit in physical activity:

  1. Plan for success. As a family think about what you want to achieve and set steps to get there.  Think about things like:
    • What are we doing that can contribute to being physically active every day?
    • What new things do we want to try? Where can we find out more about these physical activities?
    • How will we get activity in everyday? What will we do if we find it challenging?
  2. Keep track of your progress. Plans aren’t any good if you don’t keep track of them. The best way? Get the kids involved in writing down your family goals and tracking them.
  3. Set family activity times. When is everyone available? Times like after dinner or Saturday mornings. What are things we can do together? Walking/hiking, biking, swimming, free or low cost programs at local recreation centre, playgrounds etc.
  4. Start with small changes. Be patient with your progress. Making changes in life takes time. If you or your children are learning a new activity, that also takes time and practice. Small steps make it easier to get used to the changes in your life.
  5. Get together with other families. It’s a great way to make physical activity fun and it helps keep everyone on track with being active.

Vegetable Side Dishes Make Holiday Meals Shine

Food background. Fresh vegetables, fruits, blank notepad on a dark background.

Excerpt from Healthy Families BC Blog Dec 5, 2017 by Joanna Drake, Registered Dietitian

(original blog

You have the turkey covered, now what do you serve with it?

Side dishes are where the magic is. They make your meal shine! Here are some tips to help plan a meal you, your family, and friends won’t soon forget.

Start your holiday dinner with a salad that will get your taste buds singing. What about a Roasted Beet, Walnut and Arugula Salad or a Balsamic Pear and Candied Pecan Salad? If salad isn’t your thing, why not a soup? Try Red Bell Pepper & Nutmeg Soup or Spiced Up Butternut Squash Soup?

Next, plan the stuffing and hot vegetable dishes to accompany your turkey. Stuffing is often considered to be the turkey’s wingman (pun intended). Many people limit the stuffing’s ability to Wow! by making the same recipe every year. There are so many options to choose from—traditional recipes flavoured with onion, celery, and herbs; combinations of diced apple or pear; dried cranberries, prunes, or raisins; leeks or shallots; various kinds of mushrooms; toasted walnuts or cashews; the list goes on and on.

The trick to picking side dishes is to look for flavours you enjoy. Then try to get a variety of textures and colours so that each dish is distinct from the others. What looks good and smells good has a lot to do with how much you enjoy it.

Here are some vegetable side dishes worth considering:

Your imagination is the only limitation to what you pick for dinner. But remember, not every dish needs to be something new. Adding new dishes to some of your family traditions is a great way to reinvent your festive holiday meal. Hopefully by now you’re a little bit hungry and ready to start planning! Best wishes to you for a delicious meal and a wonderful holiday season.

The 5-2-1-0 Rule and How to Live by It


Introducing a healthier lifestyle to your child can seem a little daunting. With the 5-2-1-0 rule though, not only can it help your entire family become healthier, it can be an empowering and rewarding experience. The 5-2-1-0 rule follows four simple guidelines that encourage every aspect of a healthier lifestyle.

“5” is the number of servings of fruits and vegetables that your child should aim to eat each day. Vegetables and fruit provide a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants important for promoting and protecting good health.

Fruits and vegetables are easy to incorporate into one’s diet; it’s especially important to serve during every meal or snack your child has. Salads, smoothies, stews, and vegetable stocks are some of the easy dishes that you and your child can enjoy.

“2” is the maximum number of hours of recreational screen time that your child should have per day.  One way to prevent too much screen time is not to allow your child to have a television in their room. In reducing the number of hours of screen time, this will aid in encouraging a more active lifestyle.

“1” is the ideal number of hours of physical activity your child should have per day. Physical activity can improve your child’s physical and mental health. Sixty minutes of moderate physical activity – or 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity – can be achieved through fun and engaging activities for your child, such as tag games, playing outdoors, biking, hiking, or a game of soccer. Being active together as a family can further encourage an increase in physical activity. Family outings such as going to the zoo, ice skating, or miniature golf will not only help your child be more active, but also aid in positioning parents as positive and engaged role models.

“0” is the number of sugary drinks your child should consume. Keep beverages like water handy and avoid such sugar-added drinks like slushies, sports drinks, soda, energy drinks and flavoured milks. While some juices do not have added sugars, they do contain natural sugars. In order to fulfill five or more servings a day, pack your child fresh fruit as opposed to a juice box.

The 5-2-1-0 rule makes introducing and following a healthy lifestyle simple, in that it outlines an easy-to-follow set of guidelines. It also directly aligns with the Family Healthy Living Program.

The program supports families in making changes to healthy behaviours such as healthy eating, physical activity, screen time and sleep that support your child’s own health behaviours. The program is focused on practical, fun activities that build family connectedness while building both the parent/caregiver’s and the child’s skills to make lasting changes. The program also incorporates positive mental health activities that build resilience and self confidence and help to enhance overall well-being.

Living a healthy lifestyle can greatly affect the overall wellbeing of a child, from his or her happiness to setting a healthy tone for your child’s entire life. Introducing a young child to the 5-2-1-0 rule will encourage him or her to continue these practices into the child’s teenage and adult years.

The Family Healthy Living Program is currently available in 10 communities in British Columbia and is delivered at local recreation centres by trained leaders who will support your family in the changes to your physical activity and eating habits.

Learn more about the Family Healthy Living  program, including how your family can benefit and programs running near you.