Monday April 21, 2014


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The move to healthy choices


The project is called “Move to Healthy Choices” and its purpose is to help recreation facilities offer healthier choices in their canteens and vending machines.  It’s about adding healthy options to the menu, not about taking away items from the canteen.

The project began in 2007 and, over the years, many positive changes have been made. Many recreation facilities have implemented healthy options in their canteens, and they are open to trying new items as well.

Move to Healthy Choices started with a toolkit and workshops and has grown over the years by providing newsletters, on-site support and taste-test grants. The toolkit is a helpful guide that gives recipe ideas, nutrition tips and food-safety tips. Another area for information to help recreation facilities is the project’s newsletters. The newsletters are sent out four times a year, showcasing ideas, tips and recipes as well as highlighting success stories. On-site support is provided to interested facilities for practical tips and recipe ideas. The project also provides financial support to trial a new menu item by providing free samples to their customers through taste-test grants.

This fall, the Move to Healthy Choices project developed nutrition policy guidelines to assist facilities in implementing nutrition policies. The project noticed some facilities made positive changes to the foods offered in the canteen, but a year later the canteen stopped offering the new food options for various reasons such as staff turnover. Having a nutrition policy creates consistency while supporting healthy food choices in recreation facilities. The policy also gives direction to those running the canteen about the types of food and drinks to be served. To promote policy development and further support the project, 27 facilities in the Prairie Mountain Health region were visited in person this year by a member of the committee.  Several facilities in the area are now planning to have a nutrition policy.

How can you support this project in your community? If you are in the facility at meal time and are purchasing a meal or snack, consider supporting the healthier options available in the canteen and vending machines.

This project is a partnership between Westman Recreation Practitioners Association, Children and Youth Opportunities-Westman, Prairie Mountain Health (former Assiniboine and Brandon Regional Health Authorities) and Manitoba Healthy Living Youth and Seniors.  The Move to Healthy Choices will continue to provide support to recreation facilities in the Prairie Mountain Health region. The nutrition policy guidelines, toolkit, taste-test grant application, and other Move to Healthy Choices resources can be found online at For more information about the project, contact Kris Doull at toll free at 1-800-259-6592.


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