5 tips for staying healthy in Manitoba

You are reading the Original Version (CLB5+) Read Simple Version (CLB3-4)

Skip to:

Have you heard about the “healthy immigrant effect”? This is the phenomenon where newcomers are healthier than the Canadian-born population upon arrival, but they tend to grow less healthy as they live here longer. Researchers say that issues such as stress due to major life changes, as well as adopting less healthy behaviors (due to these changes), are the causes of this effect.

Here are five ways to prevent the healthy immigrant effect:

  1. Watch your diet

  2. Your first few days as a newcomer is expected to be a busy time. It can also be stressful. Many won’t have time to prepare healthy meals so they choose to eat whatever is convenient like junk food and instant meals.

    You should realize that you’ll need a healthy diet all the more during this time. Nutritious food can increase your energy as well as immunity against sickness. Learn about Health Canada’s Food Guide to know what types of food are better for you. Also read Healthy eating habits for newcomers to get more tips to help you stick to a healthy diet.

    You can also cook your traditional foods. With Manitoba being so multicultural, you can probably find native ingredients at ethnic food stores. Also, learn about vegetables and fruits in season in the prairies and other wonderful nutrition tips from Home and Family (Manitoba Association of Nutritionists).


    Cooking with frozen vegetables, Home & Family, Manitoba Association of Home Economists

    Video in various languages may be found here: Video resources

  3. Stay active

    Staying active can be hard in winter. But there are ways to stay active all year-round. For example, you can exercise indoors by joining local community centers or exercising at home. Regular activities like taking the stairs (instead of the elevator) or shoveling snow on your driveway are good for you. Get more used to the cold by trying outdoor sports and going to festivals. Learn how to ice skate (a seasonal offering from MOSAIC), visit a museum, library or park. Read How to stay fit and active indoors for more ideas. You can get other ideas from the Active Living page of Manitoba.ca too. Check the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines to know how much physical activity you should have each week.

  4. Stay positive

    Moving to a new place can be difficult. After a few months, you could experience things like culture shock, or a rough job search. You may also find it hard to adjust to the weather. You might feel unhappy if things don’t go as you hoped. This can weaken your immune system, making you prone to sickness.

    You should realize that this is just a phase. You can get through this by staying positive. Talking to family and friends will help. You can also access counseling support from immigrant-serving organizations throughout Manitoba (like Aurora Family Therapy Center).

    Not getting enough light can also bring you down. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that is related to changes in seasons. People with SAD usually feel lethargic and moody starting in the fall until the winter months. If you think you may have SAD, talk to your doctor about it.

  5. Stay informed

    Manitoba has many health programs for you and your children. One program is called Dial-a- Dietitician. You can call for free and talk to a health professional. They can give you advice on how to eat healthy. The phone number is 204-788-8248 or 1-877-830-2892 (toll-free).

    It’s very important to know how to stay safe during the pandemic. You can find good information about COVID-19 by clicking on this link: Where to go for up-to-date and factual COVID-19 information that you can rely on.

  6. Strengthen your immune system

    Aside from proper nutrition and exercise, you can boost your immune system with vitamins such as D, C as well as zinc, especially during flu season. Remember to consult your doctor before taking these supplements. You can also get free flu shots from local health clinics, doctor’s offices or pharmacies. Check the Manitoba Health page for more information on flu vaccines and where to get them. Don’t forget to protect yourself and others by observing public health guidelines such as social distancing and wearing a mask whenever applicable, as well as washing your hands to limit the spread of the virus.

    Take care!

April 26, 2023.

Back to top

Community Resources

Home & Family is a wonderful website full of nutrition tips from the Manitoba Association of Home Economists. Know the vegetables and fruits in season in the prairies. Learn about community gardens and kitchens, cooking classes, and other activities and resources in MB.

The Winnipeg Health Region site has a host of resources on population and public health.

Back to top


For the following questions, select the best answer.

Back to top

We'd love to hear from you!

Please login to tell us what you think.

Related Learning Activities

Health Workshops

A health care worker holding the hand of a patient

This is a series of workshops related to health. Workshops 1 is geared towards CLB 3-4. Workshop 2 is geared… Read more »

Back to top

CC BY-NC-SAText of this page is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA, unless otherwise marked. Please attribute to English Online Inc. and link back to this page where possible. For images and videos, check the source for licensing information.