Monday, 20 April 2020

Comfort Eating the Healthy Way – Updating Recipes

We all look to food for comfort in time of stress and anxiety. It is possible to enjoy your favourite foods and maintain healthy habits.

  • Try a leaner meat. Try substituting ground turkey or chicken in recipes that use ground beef (or simply substitute extra lean ground beef for regular to cut down on the fat). If you’re feeling more adventurous, you could even try adding lentils or beans (black, kidney, etc) to your recipes and reducing the amount of meat. Beans are great sources of protein and fibre and low in fat and cholesterol.
    • For suggestions on how to use plant-based proteins, check out recipes from Alberta Pulse Growers ( or Pulse Canada (
  • Craving a rich cream sauce with your pasta? Try making cream sauce without the cream by substituting evaporated skim milk for heavy cream to save on the calories and fat.
  • Want some dip with your veggies? Try making your own dip and substituting low-fat or fat-free yogurt (try Greek or Balkan style for extra protein) for the mayonnaise in the recipe. This tip also works for sandwich spreads, such as canned tuna or chicken.
  • Try adding vegetables to macaroni and cheese – steamed broccoli, cauliflower and carrots work great or try your favourite vegetables. You can add even more fibre by choosing a whole grain noodle. Want to cut the fat and calories? Try making your own cheese sauce with less cheese and adding low-fat cottage cheese, ricotta or yogurt for added protein.
  • Try making homemade pizza. You can make your own whole wheat dough or for a simpler option, make personal size pizzas using whole grain pitas or small tortillas. 

If you would like to to access the free services our our PCN Registered Dietitians, please ask your family doctor for a referral.

Thursday, 9 April 2020

Comfort Eating the Healthy Way

Our PCN Registered Dietitians share advice on Comfort Eating the Healthy Way:

We all cope with stress differently. Food is used by many people to relax and manage difficult emotions. If you find yourself relying on food to cope during this stressful time, here are 5 tips to keep you eating healthy.
1. Eat regular meals. This is so important for anyone who is having trouble maintaining a routine. Meals can really anchor your day. Start with breakfast, schedule in a lunch, and end your day with a wholesome evening meal. Along with helping establish some routine, regular meals can help manage your appetite and reduce cravings related to hunger. Eating regularly will help keep your blood sugar stable, maintain regular energy, and regulate your mood. For meal ideas check out these two websites for recipes: and 2. Include healthy snacks. Some people may find their appetite changes with stress. Snacks can help if you find your appetite has increased or decreased. If your appetite has increased, having a healthy snack between meals can help reduce hunger and cravings for sweets or highly processed foods. If your appetite is decreased and you are having trouble eating full meals, try to have a healthy snack rather than skipping the meal altogether. You can find a link to healthy snack ideas on this Alberta Health Services website: 3. Hydrate throughout the day. Staying hydrated can also improve our energy and alertness. Most adults need 9-12 cups of fluid throughout the day. Water and milk are the healthiest choices but all fluids count. Sometimes a cup of tea or hot coffee can help us relax. If you find a hot beverage does help you relax and you are using these drinks often, try to drink them with little to no sugar and switch to decaf if drinking more than 2-3 cups per day. 4. Eat mindfully. One of the easiest and most beneficial ways to practice mindful eating right now is to turn off any media while eating including tv and social media. While staying informed is beneficial, too much information can increase stress. Try to limit these distractions, particularly during meals and snacks. You can also try eating with friends and family that live with you at home. Try to eat at least one meal per day together at the kitchen table. If you are isolating or live alone, try virtual meals with friends and family. This is one time when using your phone, computer, or iPad during meals can be beneficial. Try having dinner with a friend or celebrate a special occasion with your family with a video platform such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom. There are many platforms to choose from. Try some of them out or ask people close to you what they use and ask them to teach you how to use it. 5. Reach out. Many people may be having trouble affording or accessing healthy food right now. If this is you, ask friends or family members to help. They may be able to offer you a meal or deliver groceries to you if you are self-isolating. Contact your local Food Bank if you are not able to access enough food. Local food organizations and Food Banks have recently received extra federal funding to meet the increased need during COVID-19. If you are needing help managing stress, anxiety or other mental health concerns during this time, please reach out. Alberta Health Services offers a free 24/7 Mental Health Help Line at 1-877-303-2642.

If you would like to to access the free services our our PCN Registered Dietitians, please ask your family doctor for a referral.

Tuesday, 7 April 2020

Protecting yourself from COVID-19 and PPE

April 7, 2020

Protecting yourself from COVID-19 while out in public: Should we be wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)?

In this time of social isolation, we all want to do the right thing to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19.  We wash our hands many times a day, try not to touch our face, and frequently disinfect the high-trafficked areas and surfaces in our homes.  We only go out for groceries and errands when absolutely necessary and try to keep at least two metres away from other people while doing so. 

How to keep safe in public?

The flood of information can make it difficult to separate fact from fiction, and in the rapidly evolving situation we are in, rumors and misinformation can be dangerous.  It is important to obtain up to date public health recommendations from credible sources including Alberta Health, Public Health Agency of Canada, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, and the World Health Organization.  


We know that the COVID-19 virus is spread mainly from person-to-person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks.  Therefore, if you are sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, sore throat, runny nose, or shortness of breath) you SHOULD wear a facemask when you are around other people.  This includes going to a store, riding in a vehicle with others, or entering a healthcare facility. 

Masks are most useful during prolonged, close interactions involving potentially sick people.  The CDC and Alberta Health are now recommending the use of non-medical cloth face covers for all asymptomatic people when going out in public when there is potential that you are unable to be more than 2 metres or 6 feet apart from others.  Because you can spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick, face coverings are a means of protecting others more than yourself.  They prevent your own respiratory droplets from contaminating other people and surfaces and may stop you from touching your nose and mouth.

If you choose to use a non-medical face mask:

·       You must wash your hands immediately before putting it on and taking it off, in addition to practicing good hand hygiene while wearing it

·       It should be non-gaping and fit well; avoid adjusting it while wearing

·       You should not share it with others

·       Avoid touching your face while wearing it

·       Change it as soon as it is damp or soiled as it may be contaminated

·       Carry a plastic bag for used masks and wash immediately in hot water and dry thoroughly on the highest temperature

Please refer to the CDC’s website ( for further information on cloth face coverings and a DIY tutorial on making your own.

As there is a critical shortage for PPE for frontline healthcare workers, it is important to leave surgical and N95 masks to protect those who are working hard to care for us all during this pandemic. 


With a shortage of hand sanitizer recently, many people are resorting to wearing disposable gloves while out shopping with the assumption that the gloves are acting as a barrier between you and the virus.  The CDC reports that wearing gloves can actually be problematic for protecting yourself against COVID-19. 

If you are like most people, you probably go about your regular shopping routine including checking your shopping list on your phone, touching the produce, pushing the cart, and making payment from your wallet.  You may even touch your face inadvertently.  Although your hands underneath the gloves are fine, everywhere else touched with a glove is contaminated.  A dirty glove may actually be worse than a dirty hand as it may, again, create a false sense of security.  Gloves only provide protection if they are taken off properly; otherwise you contaminate your hands when you remove them.  Touching objects with contaminated gloves (such as food products) simply spreads the contamination. 

Going without gloves forces us to be mindful, to be more careful about not touching our face and washing our hands as soon as we get home.  Keeping hand sanitizer, if available, in your purse, pocket, or vehicle will aid in protecting yourself until you are able to wash your hands with soap and water.  Using disinfecting wipes in your vehicle to wipe down your steering wheel and other high-touch areas such as your phone and keys will also help prevent further contamination. 

Use of gloves are recommended, however, when handling fluids from a close contact if they are infected with COVID-19.  If you choose to wear gloves, opt for disposable gloves and ensure they are thrown directly in the trash.  Wash your hands immediately after removal. 


Masks and gloves will not and cannot replace good hygiene. Continue to practice regular handwashing, disinfecting procedures, social distancing, and stay home when you are sick. 

For further information on keeping yourself safe from COVID-19, please refer to the following links:

Stay safe and be kind,

Michelle Williams, Nurse Practitioner
Leduc Beaumont Devon Primary Care Network

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

April 2020 Newsletter

A special edition COVID-19 LBD PCN newsletter is now available for you to read. Learn how our LBD PCN programs and services and physicians offices have adapted to continue to serve you through the COVID-19 pandemic.

April 2020 LBD PCN Newsletter