Spring 2008 CSANews Issue 66  |  Posted date : May 24, 2008.Back to list

Once upon a time, nobody cared what they ate or how often they exercised. Trans-fat, empty calories and sedentary lifestyles went virtually unnoticed for years. People drank while they drove and smoking was considered the norm. Luckily, health-care advocates realized our downward spiral and began a campaign to stop the nonsense.

Things have changed drastically since then.

Today, we are bombarded with advice on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It comes at us from everywhere: from our TVs, radios, newspapers and magazines; from our neighbours raving about their new stationary bikes to our co-workers describing their fat-free recipes. While it's wonderful that our general health and well-being have become such a focal point in today's society, it's not always easy to figure out what we should be doing to stay healthy. This is especially true when we consider the foods that we eat. How many times have you put something in your mouth and then wondered, "Is this good for me? Should I really be eating this?" Eating healthfully is not a simple task, but there ARE tools available to make the challenge easier (and fun, too!).

One such tool has been developed by Dietitians of Canada, the only national professional association of dietitians in our country. Their official website, www.dietitians.ca, is packed with resources that enable you to make informed food choices. Here is just a sampling of what you will find:


Using the EATracker tool, you can track your daily food and activity choices and then compare them with Health Canada guidelines. Based on your age, gender and activity level, this tool offers personalized feedback on your intake of calories, essential nutrients and activities for the day. You can check your progress over time. And if you need help, simply click on the Help Menu for options.

Tips, FAQs and Fact Sheets

The fact sheets contain relevant nutritional information in an easy-to-read format. Topics include time-saving cooking techniques, getting enough fibre, types of dietary fat, benefits of antioxidants, sugar and sugar substitutes and much, much more. The Tips section includes the tip of the day, along with extensive tips that are divided into meal planning, healthy eating, food and nutrient advice and active living. You can submit your own tips and read tips from other users. In the FAQ section, you will find an abundance of questions, such as, "How do I know when I'm hydrated?" and "Should I buy foods that are enriched in omega-3 fats?" Each question is answered by a registered dietitian.

Recipe Analyzer

This handy tool allows you to create an online recipe box and to compare the nutritional components of your recipes. The "healthfulness" of your recipes is analyzed, based on Canada's food guide.

Virtual Grocery Store & Virtual Kitchen

Visit the virtual grocery store and the virtual kitchen to learn more about the nutritional contents of the foods which you commonly eat. The virtual grocery store allows you to take an online shopping trip through "Rainbow Mart," where you will have the chance to read food labels and to make healthy food choices based on these labels.

One Day at a Time

The "One Day at a Time" interactive tool provides solutions to the common pitfalls for healthy eating. Find tips and recipes that will help you stay healthy when you're too busy to eat breakfast or too tired to prepare dinner.

Find a Dietitian

If you are interested in finding a dietitian, simply use this tool to search by province and city. Not only will you find dietitians in your neighbourhood, you will also have access to their contact information, services offered and specialty areas.

Side Bar:

Health information and the Internet

According to a recent Canadian study, more than one-third of Canadians use the Internet to obtain health information. In 2005, an estimated 57% (8.7 million people) went online to search for specific information pertaining to health, such as diet, nutrition, exercise and disease. Of this 57%, more than half were women. The type of information sought varied by age, with those aged 18 to 45 looking at lifestyle and the health system, and those aged 45 and older being interested primarily in diseases and medication. Approximately 38% of these "health users" also discussed their Internet findings with their family doctor or health-care provider.- Stats Canada