blog Sep 08, 2015

This is the fourth year in a row that we have hosted international students in our home. Learning about different countries and cultures has always been interesting to me, and finding out the differences and similarities in nutrition and views on health has been very enlightening. Last week I was surprised to learn some facts about how the rest of the world views how Canada values health and nutrition, and I must say I was more than a little shocked.

As it turns out, both of our students, one from Germany and one from Mexico had similar reports. During the interview process between the student and the agent in their own country, both girls were cautioned that many families in Canada eat out frequently, including lots of fast food, and that fruits and vegetables would likely only be eaten occasionally in the home. Wow. I was astounded. The things our students had been told was how I, and many others I know, would perhaps pin on our U.S.A. neighbours, but would never include Canada. Apparently, we are not as far behind our southern neighbours as we would like to think.

I don't know about you, but this perception of Canada and how Canadians are taking care (or not taking care) of their health is something that needs to be remedied. Living in such an amazing country with the resources we have, whole natural foods are available and abundant and should be taken advantage of at every turn. Wouldn't it be great if everyone reading this decided to give up one restaurant meal per week and cook at home? For a family of four, this could easily save you about $80 per month. How much would it improve a child's health and concentration in school if the packaged granola bars and fish crackers were replaced with apple slices, cheese strings and home made muffins? Packaged snacks have little or no nutritional value and cause blood sugar to spike, even if they don't have a high sugar content as processed foods turn almost instantly to sugar in the body causing the spike. Healthy snacks keep your kids balanced and ready to learn, period.

So this week when you are packing lunches or deciding what to make for dinner, I want to challenge everyone to choose either to ditch one meal out per week or replace the packaged treats in the lunch box for healthy, wholesome foods. Hey, for all those over-achievers out there (you know who you are!!) do both, why not! I can guarantee in one month you will notice some positive changes, and you'll be glad you did it.

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