Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Back to school nutrition

Valerie Fraser, Canadian Cancer Society, Southern Alberta

As summer winds down and kids head back to school, chances are you’re wondering how to fill lunch boxes with nutritious food that your kids will actually want to eat.

Here are a few tips to help you prepare healthy, yummy lunches for your children:

Take your kids grocery shopping and let them pick a veggie or fruit of the week – preferably something they haven’t tried before.

Shred zucchini, carrots, kale, spinach and more to sneak vegetables into muffins, pasta sauces and even smoothies.

Pass on sugary granola bars. Make a healthy and satisfying snack by combining fruits or vegetables with a source of protein, such as carrot sticks with hummus or mixed berries and almonds.

Limit high-sodium meats, including deli meats (especially bologna), pepperoni and ham, sausage and hot dogs. Substitute cold cuts in sandwiches or wraps with vegetables and chicken.

Eating a healthy diet – lots of vegetables and fruit, lots of fibre and little fat and sugar – will help you keep a healthy body weight, which reduces your risk of developing cancer.

Did you know one-third of all cancers in Canada are linked to excess weight, physical inactivity and poor diets?

Unfortunately, according to Alberta Health Services, almost two million Albertans are overweight or obese, including nearly 220,000 children. Childhood obesity is projected to produce an entire generation of Albertans who can expect early onset chronic disease, premature disability and reduced life expectancy.

But studies have shown habits that start during childhood often carry into adulthood.

So start your kids on the road to healthy, active living to set them up for life.

Learn more about cancer prevention at

Valerie Fraser is the Canadian Cancer Society Community Developer, Southern Alberta. If you have questions about the Society’s programs and services, please contact her at 403-581-1039 or

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