Alberta is notoriously dry, even in winter.
And the best thing to quench thirst andhydrate bodies is water. The 2007 AlbertaCapital Health report entitled Sugar Shocker,compiled by registered dieticians and nurses,recommended unlimited water, two to fourservings of milk and milk alternatives per day;limited quantities of juice, flavoured milk; anda maximum of one to two servings per weekof pop, punch or energy drinks.
Sugar Shocker recommends
the following daily fluid
1 – 3 yEArs old
4 cups (1,000 ml)
4 – 8 yEArs old
5 cups (1,250 ml)
9 – 13 yEArs old
6-7 cups (1,500-1,750 ml)
14 yEArs old ANd up
7-11 cups (1,750- 2,750 ml)
spENd tiME WitH ANiMAls
Owning a dog or cat can empower kidswith responsibility and the awarenessof unconditional love. “Time spent withanimals brings out compassion, loveand hope,” says Lynne Smith of the PetTherapy Society of Northern Alberta.
The society’s PAWS for a Visit programprovides seniors, inmates and special-needs patients with the stimulationand relaxation to improve circulation,breathing and heart rate. “It relaxes andputs our clients at ease, allowing them tobehave in a genuine way,” says Smith. Sokeep your four-legged friends close.
Eating together not only strengthens familybonds by creating healthy routines — itactually improves the quality of the foodyou eat. U.S. researchers have found eatingfamily meals together during adolescencetranslates into eating more fruit, dark greenand orange vegetables and key nutrients inadulthood, and drinking fewer soft drinks.
“Sitting at a table with the familycreates an opportunity to teach childrenabout healthy food and its benefits,” saysFelesky-Hunt. “Eating together promoteshealthy weights and improved nutritionalintakes and, in turn, reduces the risk ofchronic diseases.”
An extra benefit of eating together:research shows that, when families eattogether four or more times a week, childrenare less likely to have drug and alcohol-abuseproblems, and more likely to get along withothers and do better in school.
pAss oN tHE sAlt
Wean your family’s taste buds off saltyfoods from a young age and they’ll behealthier for life. Dr. ross Tsuyuki, aprofessor at the University of Alberta,has long identified salt as the biggestavoidable factor that can stop the onsetof congestive heart failure — one of themost common reasons for hospital admission in North America. But salt-bustershave to be vigilant: sodium bombs aboundin luncheon meats, hot dogs, crackers,chips, soups, fries, condiments andprocessed foods of all kinds. Even babyfood can be loaded with it.
EAt your FiBrE
Lack of fibre is a primary cause of constipation among both adults and children.
“Including fibre in your diet has manyhealth benefits in addition to treating constipation, such as helping to lower bloodcholesterol and triglyceride levels, improving blood sugars in people with diabetesand assisting with weight managementby providing a feeling of fullness,” saysDanielle Wohlgemuth, an Edmonton-based registered dietician with AHS. Andfibre goes way beyond bran. It’s found infruits and veggies, whole-grain breads andgrains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Play is so important to children’s development, it’s recognized by the United NationsHigh Commission for Human rights as aright of every child. In their popular bookNurtureShock (Twelve Books, 2009), authorsPo Bronson and Ashley Merryman describean educational philosophy called “tools ofthe mind,” which emphasizes play as anessential part of learning.
“Play is a vital part of childhood. Throughplay, children express their thoughts andfeelings, solve problems, work through fearsand emotional hurts, practice skills for adultlife,” says Edmonton-based child psychologist Jeanne Williams, who offers a 10-weekcourse called Child-Parent relationshipTraining to help parents learn, among otherthings, the value of play.