Healthy Abbotsford Blog

MEND – FREE Healthy Living Program for Families

What is it?

MEND is a fun, FREE 10 week program for families with 7-13 year olds who want to learn more about healthy behaviours. The program supports families to live a healthy lifestyle. Groups of up to 15 children, accompanied by at least one parent or caregiver meet with program leaders twice a week for 8 weeks. The first hour is an interactive family session on nutrition and behaviour topics, followed by one hour of fun exercise for the children, while parents and caregivers meet for support and discussion on topics such as goals and rewards, label reading and problem solving.

This program is open to all families with a priority given to families who have a child who is above a healthy weight.

When is it?

Our current program just started and we can accept new registrations until Feb. 10. Sessions take place Tuesdays (6-8pm) and Saturdays (9:30-11:30am) at Eugene Reimer Middle School.

Families that attend at least 80% of the sessions will also receive a FREE 3 month pass to Abbotsford recreation centres at the end of the 8-week program!

Where do I get more information?

For more information, or to register, please contact Brenda Adams at mend@abbotsford.ca. You can also put your name down on the waitlist for our session starting in April.

flyer showing kids having fun

Share

Build your child’s brain by giving them lots of experiences to explore

This article is from Active for Life.

Our child’s brain is a most amazing organ. Its structure is established in the early years of life, so how can you ensure that your children’s brains are healthy, well developed, and will last a lifetime?

Building your child’s brain is like building a house. The first five years of a child’s life is a crucial period of time where the foundation of the brain is laid down. The four walls of a house are the four walls of development: cognitive, emotional, social, and physical. All four walls need to be developed equally for the house to be strong and well balanced.

Houses can be built of many materials – wood, brick, stone, even mud or straw. Some materials are more durable and long-lasting than others. What are the building materials of our children’s brains? The simple answer is: experiences.

Children learn by actively using their five senses

Young children learn by doing. They need to be actively involved in seeing, touching, smelling, hearing, tasting; in other words, using all five senses to learn. Each experience that a young child has builds a synapsis or neural connection in their brain. The more experiences, the more synapses. The more meaningful an experience, the more often a child will want to do it again and again. Each time an experience is repeated, the connection becomes stronger and more permanent and the child begins to build confidence and competence.

Check out this 2 minute video from the Centre on the Developing Child at Harvard University for a great, plain-language summary of this process.

The goal of becoming physically literate (the fourth wall of the house) is to develop the motivation, confidence, and competence to move – for a lifetime. This requires that preschool children have experiences with many kinds of activities: on the ground, on snow and ice, in water, and in the air. These experiences should be positive and fun so that children want to do them over and over again (motivation), begin to challenge themselves (confidence), and develop skills that enable them to participate actively (competence). This builds strong permanent brain connections.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Share

Why This Holiday Season Should be All-You-Can-Eat

This article is from Weighty Matters.

Ok, so the headline’s a bit clickbait-y as there’s a qualifying word missing.

Thoughtfully.

This holiday season should be all-you-can-thoughtfully-eat, where thoughtfully means asking just two questions before each and every indulgence.

1. Is it worth it?
2. How much do I need to be happily satisfied?

As I’ve said many times before, food isn’t just fuel. As a species we use food for comfort and for celebration and no doubt for most of us, the answers to those two prior questions will be different in December than in January.

And here’s a promise. If you don’t ask those questions every indulgence will be worth it and you’ll have far more of each than you need to be happily satisfied.

Share

Building your child’s brain through physical literacy

This article is from Active for Life.

In the last article, I wrote about how building your child’s brain is like building a house. The early years are the time to build a sturdy foundation upon which a strong house – that can last a lifetime – can be built. Just like the four walls of a house, a child’s brain has four main areas of development: cognitive, emotional, social, and physical.

Each of these four areas needs to be supported and nurtured so that the child’s house will be well balanced.

  • Cognitive development refers to when a young child learns to speak, read, write, and count. It is also how a child learns to think through situations, plan ahead, and solve problems.
  • Emotional development is how a young child learns to understand his emotions and express them in acceptable ways. This is how a child learns to say that he is tired, angry, sad, or confused. And then, with the support of those around him, he learns how to work through these emotions in ways that help his family, teachers, and friends become aware of what he needs.
  • Social development is learning how to make friends, share, and play with others. As a child develops socially, she learns how to negotiate with her friends about what to play and she knows that her turn on the swing will come soon. She learns self-control and becomes able to deal with distractions.
  • Physical development is not only about growing taller and heavier. It is about a child learning how to control the large muscles (gross motor) in his torso, arms, and legs to jump, run, and kick. It is also about learning how to control the small muscles in his hands and fingers (fine motor) to hold a pencil, paint, and turn the pages of a book.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Share

Building your child’s brain is like building a house

This article comes from Active for Life.

Parents have been hearing for a long time now about the importance of our child’s early years. The preschool years, we’re told, prepare children to be successful in school and in life. These first years also set the habits that they will carry throughout their lifetimes – to be active, healthy, and productive adults.

Brains, like houses, need solid foundations and four walls

How can we support building a strong brain architecture for our child in the early years? After all, we only get one brain. What we are born with must last our lifetime.

That’s where the house construction analogy comes in. When building a sturdy house, we start with a firm and level foundation. Then we construct strong walls, ensure that the wiring and plumbing are properly done, and then cover it all with a weatherproof roof. We choose durable building materials that will last a lifetime.

In the same way, the four walls of a child’s brain are cognitive, emotional, physical, and social. If one of those areas isn’t developed, the brain is missing a key structural component. Each of those walls needs the other three in order to function well.

To read the complete article, click here.

Share

Abbotsford to Pilot New Approach to Physical Activity

9 communities to pilot Canadian Sport for Life approach to sport and physical activity

grandparents playig basketball with young kids
How do you make a community physically active for life?

With a chuckle, Lea Norris paraphrases a colleague’s thoughts on the subject.

“It’s about getting physical literacy into the water supply,” says Norris, the project’s lead for Canadian Sport for Life’s community connections.

She’s kidding, of course, but the meaning behind the words is clear — physical literacy must be part of every aspect of our lives.

That’s what she’s aiming to do in her role at Canadian Sport for Life (CS4L), a movement to create better-quality sport and physical literacy experiences across Canada. It seeks to link sport, education, recreation, and health, and to align community, provincial, and national programming.

This year, nine communities across Canada are testing the CS4L approach to sport and physical activity for children and adults. Those communities include Abbotsford, B.C.; Cochrane, Ab.; Hamilton, Ont.; Red Deer, Ab.; Vancouver, B.C.; Edmonton, Ab.; Victoria, B.C.; Winnipeg, Man.; and Toronto, Ont.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Share

Stuck in a Rut? Try Something New

In this 3:30 minute TED Talk, Matt Cutts shares his experience with doing various 30 day challenges (take a picture everyday for a month, ride your bike to work, stay away from sugar etc.). In particular, he found that doing these challenges:

  1. made his time much more memorable, instead of the months just flying by;
  2. improved his self confidence and sense of adventure;
  3. proved that small changes are sustainable.

He finishes the talk with a fantastic statement,

 

“the next 30 days will pass whether you like it or not. So why not think about something that you’ve always wanted to try, and give it a shot for the next 30 days.”

Capture

Share

What to Do With All Those Carrots?

Do you have a big bags of carrots in the fridge and don’t know what to do with them? Watch this quick video and learn how to make a Moroccan Carrot and Orange Salad. The salad only has 5 ingredients and takes only minutes to make.

Share

How to Choose the Right Oil

This is a great article if you’ve ever found yourself in the kitchen wondering which oil you should be cooking with. In this article from www.acefitness.org, you will learn the cooking uses, the type of fat and smoke point (important so you don’t smoke out your kitchen) for the following oils:

  • Almond
  • Avacado
  • Butter
  • Canola
  • Coconut
  • Grapeseed
  • Olive
  • Peanut
  • Sesame
  • Sunflower
  • Vegetable

 

The Article

You’ve probably heard that extra virgin olive oil is good for you (hello, Mediterranean diet) and that margarine is bad for you (trans fats). But what kinds of oils are best for your health? And which ones are best suited for high-temperature cooking like sautéing, stir-frying and baking versus better for salad dressing and finishing sauces? Most people are familiar with basic cooking oils, such as canola and vegetable oils, and the most popular kid on the block (with a mixed reputation), coconut oil. If you’re feeling a bit confused, we’ll help you sort things out. Click here to read the rest.

 

Share

Homemade Fishy Crackers

Parents are becoming more and more aware of what goes into the food they feed their family. Whether it be because of allergies, sensitivities or simply a desire to eat better, we are becoming more educated on the food we eat.

And once you start reading all the labels of your child’s favorite snack foods, you realize that you can’t pronounce most of the ingredients, never mind knowing if they are healthy or not.

In this video you will learn a simple recipe (only 4 ingredients) so that you can make your own, healthy, fishy crackers.

Whole Wheat Cheddar Crackers - video

Whole Wheat Cheddar Crackers

Share