Canadian Registered Charity (855745220RR001).


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These articles focus on why EATING HEALTHY & FRESH FOOD is important. Learn why we should strive to eat local vs. imported food whenever possible. Search below to find out what's in season and how to cook it.

Be sure to also check out our local food recipe page.

According to the Burlington Community Foundation's Vital Signs 2013 report, only 39% of Burlington adults consume 5 or more servings of vegetables and fruit. That means 6 in 10 adults eat below the Canada Food Guide's recommended level. Combine that with the fact that 4 in 10 adults aged 18 - 69 have physical activity levels that are only low to moderate.

These statistics lead to another fact: just over half of Burlington's adult population (over 75,000 people) consider themselves as overweight or obese. People in this category are at higher risk of developing preventable health problems like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and certain cancers.

Concern over youth obesity rates is also growing. A Halton Youth Survey (2011) revealed that 26 - 28% of boys are classified as overweight or obese, and 11 - 14% of girls, in grades 7 & 10. Some of the reasons suggested by grade 10 students include: eating fast food, processed food and unhealthy cafeteria food; choosing not to select healthy foods; not being able to afford healthy foods; parents are not supervising their food choices and give money instead of making lunches to bring.

Unhealthy eating attitudes and behaviours increase the risk of girls and boys developing clinical eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. In Burlington, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of clients with these disorders in people under 25 and especially under the age of 16.

Facts like these are examples of trends in Ontario that have prompted health professionals to develop an Ontario Food and Nutrition Strategy.

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Recognizing that we can all do better in our personal behaviour to eat healthier, below are a few easy actions that might help all of us along the road to good nutrition:

  • Assess your pantry, fridge and freezer for items you would consider whole foods. These foods provide great nutrition since they are a source of more complex micro-nutrients that provide essential dietary fiber and naturally occurring protective phytochemicals, compared to the prepared, processed, heat & serve items that may be in there, too.  What are you dedicating more space to?
  • Contemplate a few purchases of raw, fresh foods and pantry staples that would give you some basic ingredients to make breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Also look at your storage/travel containers to ensure you have what you need to bring home-made food along as you and your family members go about their activities. Food basics may include:
    • In the fridge:  eggs, milk, 10% cream, unsweetened not from concentrate fruit juice, butter, yogurt, raw vegetables, fruit, cheese, tomato or vegetable juice, mushrooms, fresh herbs, mayonnaise, pesto, fresh made salsa, hummus
    • In the storage pantry:  garlic, onions, vegetable oil, olive & other oils, salt, sugar, dry herbs, long grain rice, dry beans, dry pasta, grains (oats, quinoa, barley), split peas, potatoes, preserved simple tomato sauce, pickled vegetables, flour, corn starch, baking power, baking soda
    • Dry snacks:  tortillas, whole wheat grain or rye bread, whole grain crackers, bread sticks, popcorn, natural peanut or nut butters, seasonal fruit, honey, seeds, nuts, whole grain cereals and granola
    • In the freezer:  frozen in-season fruit & vegetables, sustainably caught or farmed fish, poultry, and meats. Home-made casseroles, pasta dishes, soup stocks, locally made sausages.

  • Try to increase the number of home-made meals you make each week that can be eaten for lunch and dinner.

  • Avoid saturated oils and sodium-rich breaded and fried foods when cooking
  • Allocate some weekend time to prepare soup, chili or stew using fresh ingredients, allowing you to eat easily throughout the week
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tomato preservesBy eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive. This freshness not only affects the taste, but the nutritional value which increases the longer the food is allowed to ripen on the plant and then declines following harvest.

In addition, when a farmer is producing food that will not travel a long distance, will have a shorter shelf life, and does not have a high-yield demand, the farmer is free to try small crop varieties that would probably never make it to large supermarkets only interested in selling “name brand” produce (eg. romaine lettuce, red delicious apples, russet potatoes). Local producers often play with their crops from year to year, trying out tastier or heirloom varieties. Thus, eating local and in-season can yield some interesting finds, if you're willing to explore and sample what's available.

  • See the Foodland Ontario Availability Guide here and recipes here.
  • Seasonal Ontario Food – Find RECIPES by month or by ingredient. All recipes CONSIST OF AT LEAST 80% ONTARIO GROWN OR PRODUCED FOOD. This is a great blog with many interesting links.
  • Ontario Meat & Poultry recipes