When it comes to healthy eating, it’s easy to be confused by the barrage of misinformation out there. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are three easy rules for healthy eating:
- Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit
- Eat real food – that is freshly prepared with basic ingredients (ideally, cooked at home).
- Minimize consumption of processed foods and drinks.
BCHLA continues to advance policies which can help people across BC to eat, drink and live healthier. Below is a list of the policies we currently promote:
- The provincial government can coordinate actions to improve access to healthy food and food skills in rural and remote communities.
- Increase information on options by requiring nutritional labeling on the menus of large-scale restaurant chains in BC.
- The provincial government can work with the federal government to limit the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children.
- Discourage unhealthy choices by applying a provincial excise tax to food and drinks high in sugar, salt and fat that have minimal nutritional value.
- Adjust Income Assistance support rates to account for the actual cost of fresh and healthy food.
- Ensure all lands with the highest capability of agricultural production are captured within the Agricultural Land Reserve and are used for what they were intended.
- Provide incentives to encourage local agricultural production and marketing (e.g. family farms, community gardens, farmers markets, BuyBC programs) and apply disincentives for those using agricultural land for residential use only. Provide resources and capacity building opportunities that assist First Nations to farm available arable land on reserve.
- Review agricultural policies with input from small scale producers to ensure that policies promote local food production and direct purchasing from consumers.
- Recognize First Nations interests with respect to stewardship and access to lands and waters from which traditional diets are sustained.
- Ensure access to quality drinking water. Priority should be given to remote First Nations communities with all levels of government working together to address this issue.
- Review provincial legislation that limits the use of traditional foods in First Nations daycares, schools and elders facilities.
BCHLA Healthy Eating Initiatives
From 2007 to 2010, BCHLA funded and delivered four healthy eating initiatives.
Based on promising practices, BCHLA reached out to families where they work, play and learn.
- Healthy Food and Beverages at School, Work and Play – made healthy changes in the food choices offered at schools, recreation facilities and local government buildings
- Farm to School Salad Bar – delivered fresh, locally-grown produce directly to BC kids
- Food Skills for Families – assists BC families to select and prepare healthy food.
- Sip Smart! – encouraged healthier beverage choices by teaching BC kids about the sugar in drinks and how it affects their bodies
With an interest in contributing to the health promotion knowledge base, BCHLA invested in external evaluation of the initiatives. The Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) provided evaluations for select initiatives:
- Summary of the MSFHR evaluation of the Healthy Food and Beverages at School Work and Play initiative
- Summary of the MSFHR evaluation of the Farm to School Salad Bar initiative
- Summary of the MSFHR evaluation of the Sip Smart! BC initiative
- Food Skills for Families Evaluation Report
For copies of complete evaluations for these initiatives contact firstname.lastname@example.org
MEND – Promoting healthy weights through healthy living
MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition… Do it!) is a FREE, 10-week program for families with children aged 7-13 who are above a healthy weight.
Using group sessions focused on healthy eating and meal planning, physical activity, and goal setting, this early intervention program aims to help BC children and their families achieve healthier weights and improve their overall health and quality of life. MEND has demonstrated effective results in BC, including more play, less screen time, and improved self-esteem.
For more information contact the MEND Provincial Manager Leah Robertson, at email@example.com or 604-707-6396.