For families aiming to eat healthy meals now and in the long term, Wendy Ward, Canada Research Chair in Bone and Muscle Development, has some great advice.
“Get kids cooking early,” she says. “Sit them down at the island, give them some carrots or beans to chop, and they’ll just start chatting away, telling you about their day, and I can tell them more about my day.”
Ward, kinesiology professor at Brock University, joins Kim Oullette in tackling the question: How do we boost healthy eating in Niagara?
That it is vitally important to consistently eat whole foods rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is without dispute.
“Healthy eating supports healthy growth and development and avoidance of disease and (disease-)like conditions throughout the life cycle,” says Oullette, a registered dietitian in the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention unit of Niagara Region’s Public Health Department.
“There are some linkages showing that, if Vitamin D deficiency is occurring in mothers during pregnancy, there are long-term implications to the bone health of the infant,” says Ward, adding these impacts can be seen in adulthood.
But eating well is easier said than done, given our busy schedules, heavy-duty advertising campaigns of the fast food industry, and, in some cases, the expense of fresh foods.
In their podcast, Ward and Ouellette explore the meaning of “nutrition,” what constitutes a healthy diet and the impacts that various foods and nutrients have on our bodies.
They also explain the Canada Food Guide and highlight supports – such as EatRight Ontario, which operates a 1-877-510-5102 hotline where callers can speak to a registered dietitian for free – to help families and individuals make better food choices.
The podcast also describes several Niagara-specific initiatives to educate Niagarans or provide greater access to healthy foods. Some of these include: Good Food Box Niagara; You’re the Chef; and Community Food Advisor.