Promoting healthy eating during ‘March is Nutrition Month’

By Patricia Leboeuf

Posted on Thursday, March 29, 2018

When Garrison Petawawa Health Promotion approached 1 Canadian Field Hospital (1 Cdn Fd Hosp) with plans for ‘March is Nutrition Month’, they were enthusiastic at the opportunity to learn more about healthy eating.

Representatives from Health Promotion as well as CANEX came for a visit to showcase some healthy eating tips and provide some nutritious snacks.

Throughout the month of March, they also visited many other units at Garrison Petawawa as well as the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre (PMFRC) to spread the message.

A special booth was set up at 1 Cdn Fd Hosp on March 22 with healthy snacks and information resources. This display came at an opportune time. “We were actually trying to initiate something on our own, but we hadn’t gotten very far ... when we were approached by Health Promotion,” said Sergeant Nicole Claxton. “So we were all for it.”

Knowledge is always a good thing and while most people attempt to improve their eating habits, they don’t always know where to start, she added.

Visits like this give them a good foundation on which to start. “Having the opportunity to have them come in and remind us of the importance of healthy snacks and the benefits of getting healthy food in your body to prepare for taskings and those significant energy expenditures is important,” said 1 Cdn Fd HospCommanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Margaret Coleman-McLean.

As part of its mandate, Health Promotion provides the Canadian Armed Forces community with the tools and resources to attain and maintain optimal health and wellness. Going directly to where they work and play just furthers their reach and allows them to spread their message.

These visits were made possible through a partnership with CANEX.

CANEX unrolled its BeneFIT program in 2016, which is aimed at highlighting healthier food and beverage options. Though not every product with the label is particularly healthy, it is the healthiest choice decided through a careful point system that calculates fats, cholesterol, sodium, sugars, fiber and protein for each of the 27 different food categories. As an example, if a chocolate bar has the BeneFIT label, it is the best options among all the other chocolate bars.

“It is based on dietician recommendations,” said Health Promotions Specialist Lucie Martin. “If you go to CANEX and you have a snack food in mind, this will help you navigate better.”