Healthy Abbotsford Blog

Screen Free Week – local things to do

Now that the screens are off, your family will have time to explore some of the amazing things there are to do in Abbotsford! Here is a sampling from Tourism Abbotsford (click on the titles for more information): 

Circle Farm Tour

A self-guided road map that directs you to a variety of specialty farm-gate vendors, open air markets, charming eateries, heritage sites, fairs, and other special events.

Hand-picked in the Valley

There is fun for the whole family in the Mighty Fraser Valley.  Animal adventures, historic explorations, water parks and amusement parks are here for you to enjoy and at the end of the day… then wind down with a movie under the stars at one of the few drive in movie theatres in BC.

107 Days of Summer

A unique calendar which identifies a fun, exciting and interesting activity for each of the 107 summer days in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada.

Get out and have some fun with your family. We are so fortunate to live where we do, take advantage of it.


Screen Free Week – Getting Ready

Turning on the screen for a week is a big change in behaviour for most families. Here are some tips from the Screen Free Week kit on how to prepare for this week so that your family has a great experience.

It’s helpful if everyone in your family makes a commitment to try to make Screen-Free Week work for all of you. If adults are fully committed, children feel everyone is sharing the experience and is taking it seriously.

  • Decide what “screen-free” means for your family.
  • Make plans together for the week. 
  • Set a calendar of activities and events for the week.
  • Make a list of all the businesses and organizations in your community that offer activities that your family would enjoy.
  • Reclaim the family meal as a time for talking together and/or sharing stories. Plan your meals ahead of time and include the entire family (when possible) in the preparation and presentation of the meal. 
  • Include friends, relatives and neighbors in what you are doing, even if for just one day or evening. 

For the complete list of ideas download the free Screen Free Week kit here (you will have to sign up, it’s free).


Pay it Forward Day – April 26

The concept of Pay it Forward is to do one nice thing for another person, just for the sake of doing it. If that person thanks you ask them to Pay it Forward and do something nice for someone else. You can imagine that if we all did this the ripple effect that it would have. Part of being healthy is being part of a healthy community. Pay it Forward is one simple way that we can create a healthier community.

Here is more information from Pay it Forward Day

There is tremendous power and positive energy in giving – it is a shame that not enough people have experienced it to the fullest. Pay It Forward Day is about all people, from all walks of life giving to someone else and making a positive difference. At last count there were more than 38 countries around the world participating in the day.

So why Pay it Forward?

  • To encourage all of us to embrace the incredible power of giving.
  • To show each other that we care and that there is love, hope and magic all around us.
  • To know that we may be only one person in this world, but to one person, at one time, we are the world.

Make a difference and experience the true power of giving. Thank you for your support. Together we can change the world – one good deed at a time!

There are free resources available here to help you get going on Pay it Forward Day!


Turn off the screen and turn on life

April 30 – May 6 is Screen Free Week. This week is dedicated to turning off the TV and computer and turning on all those other fun activities that we forget to do! Turning off the screen for 7 days may seem overwhelming, don’t worry, click here to download a free kit that has lots of information including 101 things to do besides watch TV (starts on page 43). You will need to sign-up (it’s free) to download the kit (it’s worth it).

Here are some facts from the kit about the impact of TV:

  • Forty percent of 3-month-old infants are regular viewers of screen media, and 19% of babies 1 year and under have a TV in their bedroom.
  • Screen time can be habit-forming: the more time children engage with screens, the harder time they have turning them off as older children.
  • Screen time for children under 3 is linked to irregular sleep patterns and delayed language acquisition.
  • Direct exposure to TV and overall household viewing are associated with increased early childhood
  • The more time preschool children spend with screens, the less time they spend engaged in creative
    play – the foundation of learning, constructive problem solving, and creativity.
  • Children with 2 or more hours of daily screen time are more likely to have increased psychological
    difficulties, including hyperactivity, emotional and conduct problems, as well as difficulties with peers.
  • Adolescents who watch 3 or more hours of television daily are at especially high risk for poor homework completion, negative attitudes toward school, poor grades, and long-term academic failure.
  • Reducing screen time can help prevent childhood obesity.
  • Children who spend less time watching television in early years tend to do better in school, have a healthier diet, be more physically active, and are better able to engage in schoolwork in later elementary school.

The kit also includes a section on what to do once screen free week is over so that you and your family don’t fall back into your old TV watching habits.

This week isn’t about throwing out the TV or the computer, it is about re-discovering all the other enjoyable things that are out there and finding a balance.

Screen Free Week logo


Orange juice has more sugar than Pepsi?

Here at Healthy Abbotsford we talk a lot about living 5-2-1-0. The “0″ of the guideline is zero sugar-sweetened beverages. When we teach this guideline to parents and caregivers they almost always say, “but juice is ok, right?” Wrong. Juice is considered a sugar-sweetened beverage. Just how much sugar is in it do you ask? Well, read this article from Obesity Panacea to find out. The answer will shock you.

Curious about the rest of the 5-2-1-0 guideline to raising children with healthy weights? Click here to find out more.

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Play with your kids – here’s the rule book!

Coming up with ideas for games you can play with your kids can be a daunting task. You may remember bits and pieces of games you used to play or your child might sort-of remember a game they played in school but no one is really sure of how to actually play it. Here is a great site that lists how to play lots of different games and a list of any supplies that you will need. The games are divided into the following categories:

  • chasing games
  • catch each other
  • searching games
  • ball games
  • circle or ring games
  • contest games
  • old school games
  • clapping and skipping games

Playing with your kids is not only gives them the physical activity that they (and you) need but it is also a fun way to spend time together as a family.  Or maybe these are games that they play with their friends. In either case, playing games is a wonderful way to create life-long memories.

Three girls smiling


Eating healthy with a burger, fries and shake

Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you have to give up your favorite foods. In fact, there are lots of ways that unhealthy foods can be made more healthy just by changing a few simple things. The following video is from and it shows you how to take a 1350 calorie burger meal into a 750 calorie meal!


Do you really know what you are eating? There’s an app for that

This is a great resource from the Dietitians of Canada! lets you look up common foods and view the nutrients they contain. Making data available about brand foods as marketed in Canada is a unique contribution. Nutrition information is provided for the nutrients listed on the Nutrition Facts table found on food labels including: calories, total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, dietary fibre, sugars, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron.

You can search for food items within a brand or within a food category (e.g. grains, baked products, fast food, fruit and fruit juices, vegetables and vegetable products, fats and oils, legumes, dairy and egg products, beef products, etc.).

Eat Wise logo

And, you guessed it! You can download the Eat Wise app for your phone too.


What is Your Cancer IQ?

There is a lot of misinformation out there around what actually causes cancer. And a lot of this information is promoted by companies trying to sell a product that they say is healthier. Read the statements below (click on them to go to the answer) and see how much you know about what really causes cancer.

Well, how did you do? Remember, it is important to do your own research when looking at issues that can affect your health. Make sure your information comes from a reliable, research-based source.


Cancer – Have questions? Looking for support?

Information from the Canadian Cancer Society:

Cancer can be hard to understand, and coping can be stressful. If you’re looking for information about cancer or want to talk to someone who has had a similar experience, we can help.

Whether you’re a patient, family member or friend, we can connect you with the information and support services that are right for you.

We have information on all types of cancer and services. While we can answer your questions by e-mail, we can give you faster, more detailed and personalized information by telephone. Call us toll-free at 1 888 939-3333, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Canadian Cancer Society logo