Healthy Abbotsford Blog

BBQ Season is Here! Fire up some Healthy Favorites!

Now that spring is here it’s time to fill up the propane tank and brush off the grill! The days are longer and warmer and the winter blues are fading away, but nothing seems to announce spring better then the mouth watering smell of BBQ.

Lucky for us, BBQ season doesn’t have to spell the end of healthy eating for your family. Many BBQ favorites can be cooked with less fat, salt and sugar and complimented with nutritious and tasty side dishes. has some wonderful ideas and tips for healthy grilling on the BBQ. Click here for all the grilling goods.Family BBQ


It’s Not Just About Soda Pop

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Chef Jamie Oliver knows what we’re talking about.  He and his Food Revolution are great advocates for the benefits of cooking fresh, whole foods from scratch.  He also speaks out on the sugar-sweetened beverages front.  In SCOPE’s 5-2-1-0 guideline, SCOPE recommends zero sugar-sweetened beverages for children.  Many parents are surprised to learn that this includes most juices and vitamin drinks as well as pop.  When it comes to drinking, it should be all about water and milk.  Jamie’s website has a great handout for figuring out if your drinks are high in sugar – you can grab it here!


Where to Buy Local, In-season Vegetables and Fruit

As the Agricultural Capital of Canada, Abbotsford has an abundance of local farms which offer a variety of nutritious vegetables and fruit.

“Local, in-season produce is one of life’s joys. It’s easy to prepare, often needing only a wash before eating out of hand.  And it’s usually the most affordable way to buy fresh vegetables and fruit.

Buying local also helps to build a sustainable community food system, which can improve the health of the community, the natural environment and individuals.” (Actnow BC)

Click here to see charts of when different vegetables and fruits are in season in BC.

Once you know what’s in season, click here to find it!  The BC Farm Fresh website has a wonderful directory to help you find a local farm that grows the produce you want to eat!


Try a Green Smoothie to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Bored of the same old salad? Have trouble eating the recommended amount of vegetables and fruits each day? “Mix” things up and try a Green Smoothie.

Made with simple ingredients including leafy greens, fruit and water, green smoothies pack a nutrient punch!  Low in calories and high in nutrients, leafy greens are rich in folate, vitamin A, calcium and vitamin C. They are also high in fibre and low in fat and sodium (Eat Right Ontario).

Ready to give it a try?  Click here from some free green smoothie recipes to try at home.

Need some guidance?  Click here to take a green smoothie workshop from an Abbotsford raw food chef.

To learn more about the different types of leafy greens and how to incorporate them into your diet click here to visit the Eat Right Ontario website.


Stretching Tips for your Fruit and Vegetable Budget

Eating enough vegetables and fruits every day to reap the many benefits of a healthy diet can be a challenge.   Many Canadians don’t consume enough nutrient packed produce and instead choose foods low in nutrients and high in sugar, fat and salt.   This can lead to life threatening conditions such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  To prevent such conditions, children should aim for at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits a day while teens and adults require 7-10 depending on their age and gender (See Canada’s Food Guide)

Even with good intentions, cost is often a barrier many families face in feeding their families healthy balanced meals.   However, with a little pre planning and some smart shopping, you can stretch your fruit and vegetable budget and help your family get the nutrients they need.   

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has a wonderful website dedicated to eating enough fruits and vegetables.   They have an excellent resource called ”Stretching Tips for your Fruit and Vegetable Budget”, which includes 30 cost saving tips, such as:

  • Create a meal plan for the week that uses similar fruits and vegetables, prepared in different ways. Make the most out of the produce that you buy.
  • Grow your own vegetables. Invest a little in seeds, and get a lot of vegetables in return. Try indoor pots or greenhouse growing for the cooler months.
  • Cut your fruits and vegetables at home. Pre-cut produce can cost much more than whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Frozen fruit and vegetables store well in the freezer until you’re ready to add them to a meal.
  • To make many fresh fruits and vegetables last longer, store them in the refrigerator or freezer soon after getting home from your shopping trip. Many cookbooks offer specific freezing instructions.

Just a quick note about tip #6 in the link below – While fruit juice is a source of nutrients and a better choice than pop or sports drinks, it is also high in calories and should only be an occassional treat.   Instead get your nutrients from whole foods and your liquids from water. 

For all 30 tips click below
Stretching Tips for your Fruit & Vegetable Budget -


Eating Out? Ask to them to “Make it Healthy”

Eating out doesn’t have to mean letting everything about your healthy lifestyle disintegrate. Every form of food has a healthier version, you just have to ask!  Here are some ways that you can still go to your favorite eatery while losing the guilt trip.

At the coffee shop:

Choose a low fat whole grain muffin NOT a Danish or doughnut

At the deli counter:

Choose whole grain bread or bun NOT white bread or a croissant

At the burger place:

Choose a plain or child size hamburger on a whole grain bun NOT a triple burger with cheese

At the Asian restaurant:

Choose steamed rice, noodles and soup NOT Fried rice, fried noodles, chow mein

At the chicken eatery:

Choose rice or a baked potato with low fat sour cream NOT French fries or onion rings

At the pizza parlor:

Choose lower fat toppings such as ham, chicken, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, artichokes and lower fat cheese NOT higher fat toppings like bacon, sausage, salami, pepperoni, olives and extra cheese

At the Italian eatery:

Choose broiled, baked, grilled, or poached fish, chicken or veal NOT breaded, fried, deep-fried chicken or veal

Click here to see more “simple steps to making healthy choices” from the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Eat Well, Live Longer Resource

Share – Track and Assess your Eating and Fitness habits

When it comes to getting healthy journaling your daily progress is a great way to keep you motivated and hold you accountable to yourself.   To help you do just that, Dietitians of Canada has developed a tool called EATracker, a free online eating and activity tracker.  When you sign-up for your account you will have access to daily eating and activity diaries where you can easily search and select the foods you eat and the activities you take part in. 

In addition to tracking your food intake, EATracker will provide personalized feedback on your total calories and nutrients consumed and compares this to what is recommended for your age, gender and activity level.  You can then use this information to ensure you are making healthy choices or learn how you can make better choices.  If weight loss is your goal, you can also track your weight and get information to help you achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight.

Ready to start tracking?

Click here to sign-up for your free EATracker account


Congratulations to our Online Scavenger Hunt Winners!

Winner of Scavenger Hunt


Grand Prize winner, Tripat, won an 8 GB iPod Touch

2nd Grand Prize winner, Nicholas, won 4 Tickets to the Abbotsford Heat

Our other luck winners are enjoying free passes to our Recreation Center’s for swimming, skating and other fun activities!

Congratulations to all our winners and to everyone who participated!


Here are some of your responses to the Healthy Challenges

Be active by helping your family with household chores. What chore will you help with today?

Clean the house    Wash dishes     Make the bed    Clean Bedroom    Go get the Mail    Vacuum    Set the Table    Clear the table after dinner    Wash Floors    Do Laundry    Yard Work    Bring Laundry Downstairs    Clean up after the Animals    Help make dinner    Help sister with homework    Sweep    Clean the kitty litter    Take out the garbage    Walk the dog    Dust the furniture    Pack my hockey gear for tomorrow    Clean up my toys    Play with my younger brother so mom can clean    Put away groceries

Turn off the TV, video games and computer and do something fun and healthy. What healthy activity will you do instead?

Play Soccer    Read a book    Family Games    Play outside    Go Jogging    Play Tag outside    Skipping    Go Swimming    Basketball    Handball    Street hockey with Friends    Walk the dog    Gymnastics    Run on Treadmill    Sun Hang Do    Play on the trampoline    Work out at MRC    Do a puzzle    Play tennis    Take a walk around the block    Aquafit    Rollerblade    Football    Ride my bike    Take the kids outside to play    Lift weights    Play on the swingset    Go to the park    Household chores    Ask my friend to play outside    Floor Hockey    Workout video    Bhangra or hip hop dance    Run around the neighbourhood    Ice Skating    Hang out with Friends and Family    Make Crafts    Push Ups   Volleyball   

Help prepare dinner with your family. What will you do to help prepare dinner?

Cut up the vegetables     Set the table    Pick out healthy foods    Prepare the salad    Shred Cheese    Peel potatoes    Pour the Drinks    Clear the Table    Learn how to help    Steam fish and veggies    Help get out ingredients    Help make roti    Suggest a healthy recipe   


Test your Knowledge of Where Food comes from in Canada

Living in the Agricultural Capital of Canada you should all do very well on this test!

As part of Nutrition Month, Dietitians of Canada has a website dedicated to their theme, Celebrate Food…from field to table.  One feature is a called “Where in Canada?”. This quiz has 15 questions about where products such as lentils, tomatoes and other foods are produced. Once you answer a question it will give your more information, such as how it grows, the health benefits, ideas for how to incorporate the product into your diet and other fun facts.

Try the quiz with your kids! The more children learn about foods, such as veggies, the more likely they are to try them!

I scored 11 out of 15. Can you beat me?

Click here to go to the “Where in Canada?” quiz

Dietitians of Canada - Where in Canada



March is Nutrition Month! Celebrate Food…from field to table!

Healthy Abbotsford is proud to help promote Dietitians of Canada and Nutrition Month! For Abbotsford, the Agricultural Capital of Canada, this year’s theme “Celebrate Food…from field to table” couldn’t be more fitting!

Abbotsford, let’s be proud of the wonderful locally grown food our valley produces and celebrate the tasty and healthy meals that can make it to our family tables!

Visit our Healthy Abbotsford blog throughout March to get great healthy eating links and tools including…

  • where buy local in-season foods
  • how to choose healthy foods at your grocery store
  • how to cook and prepare healthy meals
  • how to get kids excited about eating healthy foods
  • …and much more!

To get you started click here to explore the Dietitians of Canada website for tasty recipes, nutrition facts sheets and even to find a local dietitian!

Got nutrition questions?  Contact Dietitian Services at Healthlink BC by dialing 8-1-1 for free advice from a Registered Dietitian.