Tag Archives: healthy eating

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #29 – Shop Local!

Good Morning, and welcome to our second last Healthy Lifestyle Challenge!


Hit up your local farmers market for local fresh produce.



According to my-market.ca, there are a number of benefits to shopping your local farmers market:

1. Taste Real Flavours: The fruits and vegetables you buy at the farmers’ market are the freshest and tastiest available. Fruits are allowed to ripen in the field and brought directly to you – no long-distance shipping, no gassing to simulate the ripening process, no sitting for weeks in storage. This food is as real as it gets – food fresh from the farm.

2. Enjoy the Season: The food you buy at the farmers’ market is seasonal. It is fresh and delicious and reflects the truest flavours. Shopping and cooking from the farmers market helps you to reconnect with the cycles of nature in your region. As you look forward to asparagus in spring, savour sweet corn in summer, or bake pumpkins in autumn, you reconnect with the earth, the weather, and the turning of the year.

3. Support Family Farmers: Family farmers are becoming increasingly rare as large agribusiness farms steadily take over food production in Canada. Small family farmers have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.

4. Protect the Environment: Food travels an average of 2500 kms to get to your plate. All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources (especially fossil fuels), contributes greatly to pollution and creates excess trash with extra packaging. Food at the farmers’ market is transported shorter distances and grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth.

5. Nourish Yourself: Much food found in grocery stores is highly processed. The fresh produce you do find is often grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. In many cases it has been irradiated, waxed or gassed in transit. All of these practices have potentially damaging effects on the health of those who eat these foods. In contrast, most food found at the farmers’ market is minimally processed, and many of our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by building their soil’s fertility and giving their crops the nutrients they need to flourish in the ground and nourish those who eat them.

6. Discover the Spice of Life – Variety: At the Farmers’ Market you find an amazing array of produce that you don’t see in your supermarket; red carrots, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, green garlic, watermelon radishes and much much more. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience first hand the diversity (and biodiversity) of our planet, both cultivated and wild!

7. Know Where Your Food Comes From: A regular trip to a farmers’ market is one of the best ways to reconnect with where your food comes from. Farmers themselves sell their produce at the farm stands. Meeting and talking to farmers is a great opportunity to learn more about how food is grown, where it is grown, when it is grown and why!

8. Learn Cooking Tips, Recipes and Meal Ideas: Few grocery store cashiers or produce stockers will give you tips on how to cook the ingredients you buy, but farmers and vendors at the farmers’ market are often passionate cooks with plenty of free advice about how to cook the foods they are selling. They’ll give you ideas for what to have for supper, hand out recipes, and troubleshoot your culinary conundrums.

9. Connect with your Community: Wouldn’t you rather stroll amidst outdoor stalls of fresh produce on a sunny day than roll your cart around a grocery store with artificial lights and piped in music? Going to the Farmers’ Market makes shopping a pleasure rather than a chore. The Farmers’ Market is a community gathering place – a place to meet up with friends, bring your children or just get a taste of small-town life often in the midst of a City. Go to the farmers’ market and hear the buzz in the air!



Here are some great farmers market shopping tips from EVERYDAY Good Thinking

1. Know what’s in season

It’s important to know what’s in season where you live so you can have confidence what you are buying is local and fresh. You’ll find local, in-season produce tastes much better than their supermarket counterparts, and during peak season, you will see prices drop at the farmers market as more producers have similar products.

2. Take your time

It’s best not to rush at the farmers market. Think of your trip as an experience, not a chore. You can bring the kids (many markets have activities for children and have food vendors or entertainment, plus they can learn about food), or just grab a coffee and a freshly made donut and wander for a while before you shop. We recommend you do a lap of the market before purchasing. You will see many of the same offerings at different stands, so if you are looking for a good deal, it helps to peruse and comparison shop before you purchase.

3. Go early (and often)

You’ll find the best selection when the market first opens. The produce won’t be picked over yet, your favorite farm-fresh eggs will still be in stock. You’ll be better able to converse with the farmers without feeling rushed. If you go to the market regularly, you will learn what’s in season and get excited when you see the first local tomatoes hitting the stands. You’ll develop relationships with your food producers and feel even more comfortable asking questions.

4. Bring your own bags

One of the great advantages to shopping at the farmers market is you are supporting the environment through reduced emissions used to transport food. By meeting your farmer at the market directly, you greatly reduce waste. This is especially true if you bring your own reusable shopping bags, a large canvas tote, or a market basket. Many vendors don’t offer plastic bags and the ones that do are usually not very sturdy. You can also recycle your egg cartons or berry crates; just bring them back to the market the next week. Your farmers will be happy to reuse these supplies and grateful for your help.

5. Bring cash

Most farmers market vendors don’t accept credit cards, so bring cash and bring it in small bills if possible. Occasionally, food vendors or suppliers of more expensive products like housewares, wines, meats, or seafood will take cards, but you can play it safe by bringing cash.

6. Know your needs

Sometimes going to the farmers market is almost too much fun! It’s very easy to get caught up in all the beautiful colors and varieties of fruits and vegetables. To reduce the risk of extra food going bad and needing to be thrown out, think ahead about how many nights you plan to cook that week or how many meals you need to prepare. By thinking this through, you’ll have a better idea of how much you should take away from the market. Remember, if there is something you love, you can always buy in bulk (savings!) and preserve the food through one of the many preservation methods, such as canning, pickling or dehydrating.

7. Ask a lot of questions

The farmers at the markets are an underutilized resource for information. Ask as many questions as you can. Ask about how things are grown, ask if they are certified organic, and if they aren’t, ask why not. A lot of certifications are expensive, so farmers don’t get certified even though they may follow organic or natural processes. Feel comfortable asking about how weeds and insects are controlled or where the food is grown. If purchasing meat, you can ask about what the animals are fed and how they are kept. Farmers are often very proud of their work and are happy to answer your questions. Additionally, ask how they like to prepare the foods they sell. Who better to ask for advice than the person who eats, sleeps, and breathes their product!

8. Store foods properly

If you plan on running some other errands after the market or you want to drop off your food and go back to enjoy the festivities, consider bringing a cooler and ice packs along. This will ensure your frozen meats don’t thaw and your herbs don’t wilt. If you aren’t sure how to store your goods, ask the farmers when you buy them. They will be able to give you some tips.

9. Buy ugly stuff

These days, we are so used to how fruits and vegetables look under the bright lights of the grocery store. They are often shiny, plastic-wrapped, or pre-chopped, and there is not a speck of dirt to be found. It is different at the farmers market since many of these foods were picked, pulled, or cut that same morning. Some foods may have had a rudimentary washing, but many will still have some natural leftover dirt from Mother Nature. Weird looking carrots or apples will often taste the best, so don’t pass over an item for minor visual imperfections. The more you shop, the more comfortable you will become with what food looks like directly from the source.

10. Have fun and be flexible

This is the most important tip of all. Farmers markets are all about finding what’s in season, so if you were planning on buying squash and the crop just isn’t in yet, you’ll be out of luck. Keep your shopping plan flexible and make substitutions as necessary. Also, have fun with your purchases. Try new things you’ve never had before and you may just end up with a new favorite food!

Head out to your local farmers market and taste the difference freshness makes!


Motivational Monday – Good, Better, Best!


Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #19 – Are you Getting Enough?

Happy Hump Day everyone!  I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday!

TODAY’S CHALLENGE is to fill up on fiber!



Fiber is fabulous for so many reasons:

  • it aids in weight loss because fiber fills you up so you eat less overall
  • it helps regulate blood sugar levels and thereby decreasing your chances of developing diabetes
  • it helps keep you regular
  • is decreases your risk of heart disease and stroke by helping lower cholesterol levels
  • it helps protect against colon cancer by helping food pass through your system faster preventing harmful substances found in foods from affecting the colon


  • Bite into your favourite fruits and vegetables; choose whole grain bread, cereal, or pasta; or eat some beans!
  • Be sure to eat both soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps both your cholesterol and blood glucose levels, while insoluble fiber helps food move through your digestive tract.


  • Women should be getting between 28-32 grams of fiber daily, while men should be getting about 35-40 grams per day.

Here is a list of high fiber foods:


Don’t forget to drink your water – eating fiber without drinking water can have a negative effect on the body 😦

Have a great day!


Motivational Monday – Discipline!


Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #17 – Go Meatless!

I hope you are having a great weekend – I’ve managed to get a ton of stuff done around the house and I even did a bit of marking – crazy, I know!!

I’m giving you TOMORROW’S CHALLENGE today because it might need a bit of thought and planning – here it is…

Go meatless today.


Going meatless just once a week can decrease your risk many chronic preventable diseases like:

  • CANCERstudies suggest that people who eat diets low in meat are less likely to develop cancer and daily meat eaters are about 3 times more likely to develop colon cancer.
  • CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASEstudies done at Harvard University have found that eating both red meat and processed meats (sausage, bacon, and deli meats) increases your risk of developing heart disease and atherosclerosis as well as having a stroke.
  • DIABETESresearch suggests that eating greater amounts of red and processed meats increases your risk of Type 2 diabetes


It’s easy – just eat meat-free meals and snacks today!

Here are some great ideas:


  1. Greek yogurt and berries
  2. fruit smoothie
  3. vegetarian omelet
  4. oatmeal


  1. hard boiled egg
  2. mixed nuts
  3. crackers and cheese
  4. veggies and hummus
  5. apple slices with almond butter
  6. click here for more ideas


  1. tossed salad
  2. egg salad sandwich
  3. veggie burger
  4. click here for more ideas


  1. vegetable stir-fry
  2. stuffed peppers
  3. pasta with fresh veggies
  4. click here for more ideas

meatless monday

Share your favourite meatless monday meal in the comments section below!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #15 – Start Your Day the Right Way!

Good morning and welcome to Week 3 of the the Healthy Lifestyle Challenge!

Are you ready to add another healthy habit to your daily routine? I sure hope so!

TODAY’S CHALLENGE, which is also our WEEKLY CHALLENGE is to:

Eat breakfast everyday within one hour of waking up.


Starting your day with a healthy breakfast gets your metabolism revving and can help you make healthier choices all day long.

According to The Huffington Post, when compared to non-breakfast eaters, people who eat a healthy breakfast:

– are 4.5 times less likely to become obese

– are more likely to have good blood sugar levels

– have a decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease

– are less likely to be hungry later in the day

– feel more energized throughout the day

– have better cholesterol levels

– eat approximately 100 fewer calories each day than breakfast skippers

– have improved short term memory

consume less fat and more nutrients



Healthy breakfasts – like healthy lunches and dinners – consist of four things:
1. Protein – an egg, Greek yogurt, protein powder
2. Whole Grains – oatmeal, who,e grain cereal or toast
3. Fruits and/or Vegetables – berries, avocado, spinach, grapefruit
4. Healthy Fats – nut butters


Here are links to some of my favourite healthy breakfast choices

Eat Clean Hash Brown, Sausage and Egg Muffins

Oatmeal Pancake

Eat Clean Cottage Cheese Pancakes (scroll down)

Crockpot Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Overnight Oats

There are also a TON of smoothie ideas and recipes on my blog – just click on the green smoothie challenge tag on the left.

Let me know how you make out this week. And please share your favourite healthy breakfast ideas in the comments section below.

And don’t forget to continue to drink your water and get 30 minutes of exercise each day!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #13 – Healthy Snacking

Hey everyone! I hope you are having a great day!

Before we get started on tomorrow’s challenge, I wanted to check in with you… you should be getting 30 minutes of exercise EACH day this week…are you? What about you’re desk – is it looking decluttered and more organized? With the end of the school year quickly approaching, I’m all about throwing stuff out!!


I know I’m a day early with this challenge, but I wanted to give you a chance to prepare.

Pack a healthy snack for you and a friend.


Eating healthy snacks is an easy way to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients and energy it needs throughout the day. Planning your snack and preparing them in advance is a great way to stay on track with healthy eating. Getting a friend or colleague involved in your healthy eating behaviours makes sticking to the plan much easier, so share this post, and your snack with them!



Healthy snacks should:

  • Be between 150-200 calories
  • Include foods from at least 2 of the 4 food groups – one should be a carbohydrate (for a quick energy) and the other should be a protein (to help you feel full and sustain your energy until your next meal)
  • Be eaten mid-morning and mid-afternoon or about 3 hours after a meal – having small meals and snacks throughout the day keeps your blood sugar stable and your metabolism running at its most efficient

Here are some great snack options:

I look forward to hearing how you are doing with these challenges!

Let us know what healthy snack you prepared of you and a friend!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #11 – You’re Sweet Enough!

Well, today is day 11 of our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge – how are you doing? Have you completed the 10 daily challenges and two weekly challenges so far? How did you make out? Have any of the behavours stuck? Which have been your favourite? Least favourite?

Some of my favourites have been

  • Going to bed a half hour early
  • Rewarding myself with a glass two glasses of wine; and
  • Catching up with an old friend


Eliminate any sugar from your diet today. That means no refined sugars, no natural sweeteners and no artificial sweeteners. Naturally occuring sugars in friuts and vegetables are okay, but try to choose low sugar options.




1. Avoid refined sugars – white sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup.

2. Avoid any foods with added sugars. Sweets and candies are for sure out, but you might be surprised to learn all the other names you may find on ingredients lists used to describe sugar.


3. Avoid any foods with natural or artifical sweeteners and sugar alcohols– here is a list of some common ones:

Natural Sweetners Arificial Sweetners Sugar Alcohols
  • agave nectar
  • barley malt
  • coconut sugar
  • date sugar
  • fructose
  • honey
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • maple sugar
  • molasses
  • rice syrup
  • aspartame
  • saccharin
  • sucralose
  • neotame
  • isomalt
  • sorbitol
  • malitol
  • xylitol

4. Limit the amount of naturally occurring sugars. Berries are your best bet, bananas and grapes, not so much! For a more complete list of low, low-medium and high sugar fruits, click here.


This one is sure to be a challenge for me. I’ve got my sugar free snacks all set for the day – a hard boiled egg, 1/4 cup mixed nuts, a couple pieces of cheese and veggies with hummus! Yummo!

Good luck, and let me know how it goes!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #9 – Add These Foods to Your Meal Plan

Hi everyone! I hope you are enjoying your weekend! Did you manage to get 30 minutes of physical activity in yesterday? It’s THIS WEEK’s CHALLENGE, so be sure to schedule it into your daily routine, and continue to drink that water!


Eat one food that is high in SELENIUM.


Selenium is an essential mineral that

  • works as an antioxident, protecting your cells from damage
  • helps your thyroid produce thyroid hormone
  • lowers your risk of joint inflammation
  • helps your immune system work properly by helping build up white blood cells that help the body fight illness and infection

Adults over the age of 19 need 55 micrograms/day, pregnant women need 60 and breastfeeding women need 70 micrograms/day.


Choose from any one of the following selenium rich foods:


Be sure to check the serving size and micrograms of selenium to make sure you are getting enough.

Keep in mind – too much of a good thing can be bad. The safe upper limit for selenium is 400 micrograms a day in adults. Anything above that is considered an overdose, so watch your portion size!

Healthy Lifestyle Challenge #7 – Reward Yourself

Happy Friday Everyone!

I’m pretty sure I say this every week….but I am sooooo looking forward to the weekend it’s crazy! With the end of the school year quickly approaching things at work are getting busy! We have a bit of a busy weekend ahead of us, but I’m looking forward to Spending some quality time relaxing and re-energizing!

And with that, comes TODAYS CHALLENGE:

Reward yourself with a glass of red wine!


Not only does a glass of red wine jazz up your dinner, relax your blood vessels, lower your blood pressure and reduce your stress, but according to Prevention Magazine indulging in a glass of red wine can also help:

1. Lower your cholesterol
2. Protect your heart
3. Control blood sugar
4. Boost your brain
5. Fight off a cold
6. Stop cancer
7. Get slim


With alcohol, as with pretty much everything else, moderation is key! Women should drink no more than 1 serving a day, and men no more than 1 to 2 servings per day.

Wondering what constitutes a serving?

Nope, it’s not the whole bottle 😦 It’s not even half a bottle 😦 A serving of red wine is only 4 ounces – which means there are about 6 servings in a 750ml bottle.


Here are some funny wine-related pictures I found…


Enjoy your glass of red wine and have a great weekend!
See you tomorrow!