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Holiday Health

Summer Holidays

During your summer vacation you'll most likely be enjoying a barbecue or two. Ensuring the safety of our food can be challenging this time of year because of the hot summer weather and we often cook outdoors during picnics, barbecues or on camping trips.

For tips on keeping your family safe this summer visit the Government of Canada's Healthy Canadians website.

Valentine's Day

Valentine's day is often celebrated with gifts that might not be very healthy options, such as chocolate or candy. To make this special occasion a little healthier try one of these ideas instead:   

  • send a Valentine's day card
  • send a singing telegram
  • bake homemade healthy cookies
  • send a fruit basket or flowers
  • give gift certificates
  • send your loved one for a massage
  • write a love poem
  • make a CD of love songs
  • give a stuffed animal

In keeping with the colour of love here are a few healthy Valentine's day treat ideas to share with the ones you love:

  • fresh strawberries (any red berry will do) and low fat whipped Cool Whip®
  • red Jell-O® with low fat Cool Whip®
  • red peppers in your salad (place them in a heart shape)
  • red jam on toast, crackers, etc.
  • red Fruit to Go®
  • red juices


If you're really set on giving chocolate then opt for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate,also known as "bittersweet" or "semisweet" chocolate, contains a high percentage (70%) of cocoa solids, and little or no added sugar. Dark chocolate has a rich, intense flavour, and is found in candies and some kinds of chocolate chips used in baking.

The potential health benefits of dark chocolate include having high levels of antioxidants which are also found in a variety of foods including tea, red wine, and various fruits and vegetables. These antioxidants may help decrease LDL (bad) cholesterol oxidation. Dark chocolate can also reduce the risk of blood clots, increase blood flow in arteries and it may lower high blood pressure.

The cocoa found in dark chocolate may have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels because it consists mainly of stearic acid and oleic acid. Stearic acid is a saturated fat but unlike most saturated fatty acids, it does not raise blood cholesterol levels. Oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, does not raise cholesterol and may even reduce it. Dark chocolate may also improve mood and pleasure by boosting serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain and contains a number of beneficial minerals including calcium, magnesium, and potassium.

Have a Healthy Happy Halloween

Trick or treating at Halloween traditionally involves giving and receiving candy, chocolate and various other treats. However, there are many healthy options that be can given out instead. For some great ideas please visit Healthy Halloween Treats.

Health Canada also provides information for having a safe and healthy Halloween:

Healthy Eating For the Holidays

Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, along with many other holidays, are all times when we tend to splurge on eating.

There are many ways to eat healthy over the holidays and to make better choices. For information about eating healthy during holidays, please visit the following:

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