Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Back to school - what to pack for lunch?

Let the frenzy begin!  It’s that time of year again, where the smell of stationery on sale is in the air.  It’s also that time of year where the headache of deciding what to pack for lunch is on a lot of students’ and parents’ minds. 

Here is a checklist of some things to include in brown-bag lunches (or meals to-go):

·        Are there 3-4 out of the 4 food groups at this meal?

o   The four foods groups are:
§  Vegetables/Fruits
§  Grain Products/Starches
§  Milk and Alternatives
§  Meat and Alternatives

·         Is the distribution of the food groups as follows?

o   ½ of meal from vegetables (solid or leafy, not juice form)
o   ¼ of meal from grain products/starches (whole grains more often than not)
o   ¼ of meal from meats or alternatives

·         Is there a low-calorie, nutritious beverage?

o   The BEST options are:
§  Water
§  Skim or 1% milk
o   These are NOT great options:
§  Flavoured milk
·         Added sugar in these contribute to extra calories consumed
§  100% pure fruit juice (maximum 125mL per day)
·         There is little to no fibre in these, so it’s better to eat the fruit instead.
o   For children, diet beverages with artificial sweeteners are not the best choice as they are still growing, and would benefit from nutritious drinks.
o   Sports drinks are also not the best choice because of the excess sugar content.  These drinks are more appropriate for athletes or the very physically active.

·         If there is a dessert, is it a fruit or yogurt?

o   Desserts or “snack” food treats should be kept to a minimum for the sake of weight management and for healthy teeth.  
o   Limit “snack” food treats to 0-2 times per week.

For more ideas or information on meal planning or recipe ideas, visit:

Sally Ho is a Registered Dietitian at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Weight Management - It Takes Time

In this day and age, time is a valuable commodity.  There never seems to be enough time in a day to do all the things that we want or need to do.  Very often time for ourselves is the first thing to go.  Making time to look after our health often takes that back seat to the various other demands of the day.

When it comes to managing our weight, time management is very important for success.  Making those necessary healthy lifestyle changes requires time and attention but often competes with work, family, activities, volunteering and socializing commitments.   Being aware of the need to set time aside for these changes will enable you to move forward in your weight loss efforts.

It takes time to eat healthy.  Planning meals, grocery shopping and food preparation takes an average 60 minutes each day.
Sitting down and eating 3 meals per day takes time.
It takes time to fit in regular physical activity each day.  The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines suggest at least 30 minutes of activity 5 days per week.
We should also strive for 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
Food journaling what you eat and drink in a day provides valuable insight into your eating habits and is a necessary activity for making healthy changes, but also requires time.

While it seems like this might be a lot of things to consider, the time you invest in yourself and in your health will be well worth it.

Remember, there are 1440 minutes a day. Take time to look after yourself!

Christina Vesty is a registered nurse and is the Chronic Disease Management Coordinator at the Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network.  

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Obesity management - root causes, factors and treatment

An Obesity Expert’s Message

Obesity affects 61% of Canadian adults and 26% of Canadian children and has recently been categorized as a chronic disease by the American Medical Association.

The public, and even healthcare professionals, often think that eating less and moving more is the simple answer to addressing obesity. We now understand that obesity is a complex, chronic disease that requires the same specialized, medical care treatment that other chronic diseases have. This includes identifying and addressing root causes and barriers to weight management.

Dr. Sharma, Professor of Medicine and Chair in Obesity Research and Management at the University of Alberta, is touring throughout Canada and recently spoke to a group of approximately  80 people in Leduc. He brings a humorous twist to discussing obesity while addressing key points to understanding the complexities of the disease. Many factors affect weight gain including:

• Nutrition
• Activity level
• Sleep issues  (lack of REM sleep, shift work, sleep apnea)
• Untreated mental health conditions (depression, ADHD, anxiety, stress, eating disorders)
• Medications
• Income, access to resources
• Other health conditions (chronic pain, PCOS, chronic disease, etc.)

In his presentation, Dr. Sharma asked the audience to start thinking differently about obesity and weight management. The success of obesity management should be measured by improvements to overall health and well being rather than the amount of weight loss. Success should not only be defined by numbers on a scale.  It was stressed that successful obesity management involves addressing all of the factors mentioned above.    The first step to success is stopping the weight gain itself.

Leduc Obesity Clinic

The Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network is proud to offer the area’s first weight management clinic. The Leduc Obesity Clinic (LOC) is a locally offered, medically supervised weight management clinic that offers patients, who are willing to make healthy lifestyle changes, a new treatment pathway for obesity management. Dr. Sharma’s thoughts and opinions form the foundation of the LOC. The clinic identifies underlying factors to obesity management and offers evidence-based treatment plans through our interdisciplinary team. The LOC provides patients with regular group medical appointments and classes and regular appointments with team members. The team consists of a medial physician, two registered nurses, two registered dietitians, a registered psychologist and registered pharmacist, an exercise specialist and administrative assistant.

For more information on the Leduc Obesity Clinic and to find out how to access it, please visit our website at

Dr. Sharma

LBD PCN Registered Dietitian Andrea Shackel

LBD PCN Chronic Disease Management Coordinator Christina Vesty

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Seasonable Vegetables

We know the benefits eating fruits and vegetables and even the benefits of shopping locally. Local farmer's markets make eating local fruits and vegetables affordable attainable. The Leduc Farmer's Market is located at Alexandra Park and runs Thursdays 10:00 am - 1:30 pm (May - October) and Saturdays 10:00 am - 1:30 am (July - September) and is celebrating its 40th year of operations this week.

Check out the Alberta Local Food Producers Guide for a list of local producers who sell directly to the consumer.

The Leduc Representative recently printed an article on the first ever Open Farm Days. On August 24 & 25, 40 farms across the province invite the public to come see what happens on a working farm. There are two local farms involved in Open Farm Days: Mysterion Farms near Warburg and Tangle Ridge Ranch in the Thorsby area. Read the article to find out more about what the farms have to offer. 

Leduc Farmer's Market

Below is a list of Alberta grown vegetables in season during July & August and a few recipes using these seasonable vegetables:

Green & Wax Beans
Beets (bulk)
Bok Choy
Cabbage (green, red, savoy)
Suey Choy
Carrots (baby, cello)

(humongous cabbage!)

Greenhouse Lettuce
Green onions
Silverskin onions
Green, snow, sugar snap peas
Greenhouse peppers


Greenhouse peppers, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes

Holden Colony at the Leduc Farmer's Market. We follow them on Twitter @HoldenCProduce

Black Bean & Rice Salad 
(Adapted from “Easy Beans: Fast and delicious bean, pea, and lentil recipes” by Trish Ross)
Makes 6 servings

¾ cup canned black beans
1 cup cooked long grain rice
½ cup kernel corn
1 Bell peppers (any colour)
3 Green Onions, chopped
1 Carrot, julienne/shredded
2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped

¼ cup olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp chili powder (or to taste)
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp ground cumin (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

1) Drain and rinse the canned black beans
2) Mix Salad ingredients together in a salad bowl
3) Mix Dressing ingredients together in a separate bowl
4) Toss Dressing in with Salad

Bok Choy Fried Rice 
(Adapted from “Wild About Greens” by Dava Atlas)
Makes 4-6 servings

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium baby bok choy,  thinly sliced, leaves chopped
1 medium bell pepper (your choice of colour), cut into short narrow strips
½ cup snap peas, or snow peas
3-4 green onions, sliced
1-2 tsp fresh ginger, grated
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tbsp soy sauce, or to taste
ground black pepper, to taste

1) Heat oil in large wok/ large deep frying pan
2) Add garlic to pan and sautee until slightly golden brown
3) Add bok choy, bell peppers, peas and stir fry for 2-3 minutes
4) Add green onions to the pan and continue to stir-fry for another 1-2 minutes until they are heated thoroughly.
5) Stir in cooked brown rice and ginger.  Drizzle sesame oil and soy sauce to combine well.
6) Cook for another 4-5 minutes over high heat, and stir frequently
7) Season with additional soy sauce, black pepper to taste.  


provided by Sally Ho, Registered Dietitian, Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network.


Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development 

Devon Farmers Market - Thursdays, 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm @ Devon Community Centre
Beaumont Farmers Market - Wednesdays, 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm @ 5303 - 50 Street

Thursday, 1 August 2013

August 2013 Newsletter now available!

Find out when our next Craving Change workshops will be held, learn about the Leduc and Beaumont After-Hours Clinic online booking system and discover a new, local, medically supervised weight management clinic offered in Leduc.

August 2013 Newsletter

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