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The Ottawa Public Library serves up fresh programs, activities and events to raise awareness about how we are connected to the food we eat and grow.
Healthy Eating and Active Living tips from Ottawa Public Health
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Bone up on calcium and vitamin D
Older adults are at a higher risk of developing osteoporosis; this is when bones get weak and thin. Calcium and vitamin D are good for your bones. Calcium also helps your heart, muscles and nerves work properly. It is best to get your calcium from food: milk, fortified soy beverages, yogurt, cheese and canned salmon with bones.
Vitamin D helps your body use and absorb calcium. It is not naturally found in many foods but it is in fatty fish, egg yolk and liver. That's why vitamin D is added to some foods like cow's milk, some orange juice, soy, almond or rice beverages, and margarine. Health Canada recommends that everyone over the age of 50 should take a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU.
Talk to your health care provided if you do not get enough calcium-rich foods and about vitamin D supplements.
Mission Healthy Bones lists food sources of both calcium and vitamin D.
Drink plenty of fluids
It is important for your body to have plenty of fluids every day. With age, our se nse of thirst declines. Also, some medications you can cause your body to lose fluids. You need to drink fluids whether or not you feel thirsty. Dehydration can lead to constipation, dizziness, headache, or low blood pressure which may lead to a fall. Make water your drink of choice! Also enjoy other fluids such as unsweetened milk, soup, coffee and tea. Learn about how much fluid you need each day.
Good nutrition is important at any age
Nutrient needs change as you age; older adults need smaller portions but still the same or more vitamins and minerals. Eating nutrient-rich foods will help you get the vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and fats you need. Healthy eating will also help to prevent or manage heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers.
Eat a variety of food each day. Aim for ½ of your plate to be vegetables and fruits, ¼ of your plate to be protein foods such as beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, dairy products (milk, yogurt, and cheese) and lean meat and poultry, and ¼ of your plate to be whole grains.
There are many benefits to physical activity
However, did you know there are added health benefits for doing physical activity outdoors?
Some fat is essential in your diet, but limit trans fats and saturated fats
Substitute with unsaturated fats from foods such as flaxseed oil, fish, and walnuts. Visit Dietitians of Canada to learn about omega-3 fats.
Consuming extra calories from sugary drinks like soft drinks can lead to increasing a child’s risk for developing a chronic disease like diabetes
Consume drinks with no added sugar such as water and white milk. Visit Sip Smart to learn more about avoiding sugary drinks.
Children are often the target of unhealthy food and beverage marketing, resulting in unhealthy eating habits and an increased risk of developing chronic diseases
Promote, encourage and support policies that create healthier environments for children, including restrictions around the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages. Learn more about these new restrictions from Health Canada.
Those who are physically active live longer and have healthier lives
There are many walking trails in Ottawa that you can use with your family and friends to stay healthy together.
Get into a routine
Healthy living can be easy if it is a routine rather than constant decision making. Visit active for life to learn about getting into the habit of doing physical activity.
Obtain the health benefits of exercise by choosing a variety of physical activities that you enjoy
Having a variety avoids boredom, and will allow you to find what works best for you. See the list of 150 physical activities you could try.
Make eating and physical activity goals to improve your health
Follow this guide to successfully set healthy living goals. Write down your goals somewhere you can see often and tell someone about your goals so others can motivate you.
Use active transportation like walking, biking, and running to get where you want to go. This is both healthier for you and can save you money. Visit Ottawa Public Health for more information on active transportation.
Adults are recommended to get a minimum of 2.5 hours of physical activity a week (that is 30 minutes per day, 5 times a week) to gain health benefits such as reducing the risk of developing heart disease. This can be broken up into 10 minutes of activity, 3 times per day. For those who are busy and are finding it hard to meet the recommendations, here are some ideas to sneak physical activity in!
Make a plan to move more to help build strong bones and muscles!
Even if you live a very busy lifestyle, there are simple things you can do everyday to be more active! Try these 25 ways to be more active during the work day.
Make snacks wholesome
A wholesome snack is a combination of protein and fibre such as Greek yogurt and fruit. Visit Cookspiration for some healthy snack ideas.
Do you have a child that is a picky eater?
Try the one bite trick. It can take multiple tries of just trying one bite to start liking a new food item. Look at say goodbye to picky eating for more tips on reducing picky eating in children.
Trying to figure out serving sizes without measurement tools?
To avoid serving sizes that are too big or too small, use this handy guide to estimate portion sizes. This is a simple way to help you figure out what your portion sizes should be without needing measuring equipment.
For a better night's sleep, electronics including cell phones and tablets should be turned off 90 minutes before going to bed and should be kept out of the bedroom
There are many benefits of quality sleep for both adults and children including the prevention of chronic diseases like heart disease. Learn more on the impact of smartphones on sleep.
Both children and adults benefit from having a healthy breakfast, such as having increased concentration
Are you not a morning person and are lacking inspiration to make breakfast? Here are some quick and easy breakfast ideas.
Hiking and walking are great and enjoyable ways to get some exercise year round
Exercise has many health benefits including improved fitness and mental health. Explore the National Capital Commission for some beautiful hiking and walking trails around Ottawa.
Limit screen time for children and encourage more time being active
Increased screen time on tablets, phones, computers and TV leads to less time spent playing outdoors, which is important for a child’s health. Learn more on how to keep screen time in check.
Include one serving of an orange vegetable or fruit in your diet per day
These have vitamin A that helps maintain eye and skin health. Health Canada has a list of serving sizes for a variety of orange vegetables and fruit.
Dim the lights before going to sleep
Bright lights and electronics before bed can impact the quality of sleep you have. Visit the National Sleep Foundation to find out why.