Sometimes getting the family around the table at dinner time can be difficult. Working late, driving from the daycare to the soccer field to band practice - sound familiar? However, there are some benefits worthy of finding time to sit down and eat as a family.
Studies (See below) have shown that eating as a family has a positive influence on eating habits for children and adolescents. Meals eaten as a family are usually more balanced and less likely to include fried foods, sweets, salty snacks and pop.
For busy families, even if you have little time for food preparation, here are a few fun ways to eat together:
Today, Mayor Jim Watson and Ottawa Public Health (OPH) launched the start of National Nutrition Month with more than 300 students and staff from École élémentaire catholique Horizon-Jeunesse. The Mayor, along with representatives from the Ottawa Board of Health, the Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) and the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, led the countdown to Ottawa’s Great Big Crunch.
Since 2006, more than 500,000 students across Canada have participated in the Great Big Crunch event by taking a big synchronized bite into a healthy fruit or vegetable. The non-profit organization FoodShare promotes this annual event and invites students and teachers to talk about and enjoy healthy eating while learning about local and global food systems.
“When children learn how to eat healthy at a young age, it’s a skill that helps them to thrive throughout their lives,” said Mayor Watson. “I’m pleased to see students and school staff get excited about eating healthy and being active.”
ONFE’s School Breakfast Program brings together Ottawa’s four school boards, volunteers, community organizations and businesses to prioritize the nutritional needs of children and youth. In Ottawa, 11,300 children in 148 schools begin each school day with a nutritious meal provided by the program.
In Ottawa, more 11,500 students eat breakfast at school every day. The Ottawa School Breakfast Program ensures that food-insecure kids and teenagers in all four school boards have access to healthy food choices each day.
We know that the school breakfast program helps children perform at higher academic levels, concentrate better in school, and have stronger self-esteem and better health.
But the school breakfast program goes even further than that. It is a very important and effective tool in promoting healthy eating in our schools.
The daily menu always includes fruits and vegetables. That’s right, vegetables! Vegetables like broccoli, snap peas, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and cauliflower are regularly served for breakfast. Completing the healthy breakfast menu are dairy products and whole-grain cereals.
Hundreds of volunteers, teachers and breakfast monitors get up early every school day to prepare and serve these healthy breakfasts. They also plan the menus, shop for the food and guide students in making healthy food choices and in developing good eating habits!
To mark National Nutrition Month and celebrate the importance of healthy eating for all, the Ottawa School Breakfast Program is participating in the Great Big Crunch with Mayor Watson and our partners at Ottawa Public Health on March 6 at 2:30 pm at École élémentaire catholique Horizon-Jeunesse.
This annual event is a special day of good food education with a particular focus on healthy snack ideas beyond breakfast.
Everyone is invited to grab an apple and join in a massive, cross-Canada synchronized bite.
So let’s get crunching!
Written by: Suzanne de Abreu, Ottawa Netwoek for Education, Community Development Coordinator, School Breakfast Program
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) is investigating a lab-confirmed case of measles in an unimmunized child. The patient acquired the illness during travel to the Philippines, which is currently experiencing a significant and widespread measles outbreak.
OPH is notifying persons who were present at the following locations during these times and were potentially exposed to the child, and inquiring about their immunization status:
The child attends St. Stephen Catholic School in Stittsville. OPH is working with the school and school board to notify and inform potentially exposed students and staff.
For the tech savvy readers, Dietitians of Canada have released two free apps with healthy eating tips and recipes! These apps will make it easier for you, your friends and your family to Simply Cook and Enjoy this March and for the rest of the year.
eaTipster has daily tips on food preparation, cooking skills, nutrition information, and saving money. You can share these tips with your friends and save them to your favourites for future use.
Cookspiration gives you recipe suggestions based on the time of day, week, and your specific moods and preferences. There are recipes ranging from early morning to late night with ideas for on-the go, budget friendly, celebrations, spicy foods, comfort foods and much, much more. There are also ideas for a light meal or even a very hearty dinner. It’s all up to you! Your kids will also love the Kids’ Choice section, which includes recipes to get the little ones helping in the kitchen. Each recipe includes helpful tips and nutritional information.
Join Ottawa Public Health and community dietitians for the Nutrition Month Twitter Challenge!
Every Monday in March, we will be posting three weekly nutrition challenges based on information we’ve posted on our blog during the past week. Complete as many as you can and let us know that you’ve completed the challenge by sending us a picture on Twitter (@OttawaHealth).
How to participate?
It probably started off all hot and heavy, seeing each other occasionally, a lot of sneaking around, the excitement of when your lips first touched. Now, you want time apart and you’re sick of how it makes you feel.
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